How to Plant, Grow, and Care for Freesia Flowers

If you love fragrant flowers in the garden, freesias are simply wonderful. In this article, gardening expert Melissa Strauss shares how to grow these delightfully fragrant and beautiful flowers that look great outdoors and indoors.

A close-up reveals the intricate beauty of freesia flowers, showcasing delicately layered petals in a captivating shade of pink. The lush green leaves complement the soft pink hues, adding a touch of natural elegance.


Freesias are delightful little flowering plants that are popular in bridal bouquets. They are recognizable by their sweet fragrance, which I have always thought smelled a bit like the children’s cereal Froot Loops. The attractive, tubular flowers are popular with pollinators and can be grown indoors as well.

Only perennials in zones nine through ten, freesias are not frost tolerant. The corms or bulbs will not survive the winter in any climate where the ground freezes. However, they can be harvested in the fall, dried, and stored for the winter, then planted again when the ground thaws in spring. 

Freesia flowers are steeped in symbolism, which is another factor in their popularity in floral arrangements. The flower meanings include trust, thoughtfulness, innocence, and friendship. Their symbolism goes back to the Victorian Era when they were considered the ultimate flower of trust. Here is everything you need to know about growing gorgeous freesias in your garden!

Freesia Overview

A close-up reveals yellow freesia flowers with delicate petals, showcasing their intricate beauty. The slender green stem adds grace to the composition. In the background, a soft blur unveils lush green leaves, creating a harmonious botanical tableau.
Plant Type Herbaceous perennial
Family Iridaceae
Genus Freesia
Species about 20
Native Area Eastern South Africa
Exposure Full sun to partial shade
Height 12”-24”
Watering Requirements Moderate
Pests and Diseases Botrytis, fusarium wilt, aphids, thrips, slugs, snails
Maintenance Moderate
Soil Type Fertile, well-drained
Soil pH 6.5-7, Neutral to Alkaline

What are Freesias?

Freesia is a genus of warm-weather flowering plants native to eastern southern Africa. The attractive trumpet-shaped flowers symbolize friendship and are popular amongst florists. The plants grow from corms and are only hardy over the winter in growing zones nine through ten.


A cluster of purple freesia flowers in close-up, basking in the warm sunlight. The vivid hues create a stunning focal point against a gently blurred background, highlighting the intricate beauty of nature.
The flower was named after botanist Fredrick Freese by Christian P. Ecklon in 1886.

Freesias were first described and named by Danish botanical collector Christian P. Ecklon in 1886, who named them after his friend Fredrick Freese. Freese was also a botanist and a medical practitioner. This friendly gesture is the reason that the flowers have come to be a symbol of friendship. 

Their popularity over time has grown from a charming symbol of friendship to a trendy flower among florists. They are also the inspiration for many cosmetic and personal care products and other scented products like candles. 

Native Area

Numerous yellow freesia flowers bask in the warm embrace of the sun, their delicate petals opening to absorb its golden rays. Surrounding them, green leaves provide a refreshing contrast.
Originating from southern Africa, freesias grow wild in areas from Kenya to South Africa.

Freesias are native to southern Africa, specifically the eastern side of the continent from Kenya to South Africa. The greatest distribution of species is found in Cape Provinces. 


A cluster of white freesia flowers, tinged with a delicate yellow hue, gracefully bathes in the warm sunlight, radiating a sense of tranquility. Behind them, the tall and slender leaves create a captivating blurred background.
They have slender leaves with tube-shaped flowers in various colors and fragrances.

These plants naturally begin their growing season in the fall, producing foliage over the winter and blooming in early spring. Freesias wither as the weather heats up and enter dormancy in the summer heat. In Zones nine through ten, the corms can be left in the garden year-round and will act as perennials. 

Freesias grow from corms, which are similar to bulbs. These underground food-storage structures are fibrous and store energy that helps the plant grow. The corms multiply and can be divided to produce more plants over time. 

Slender and lanceolate freesia leaves sprout in clusters at the base of the plant. Thin, delicate, leafless stems sprout from between the leaves, curving at the end with groups of five or more tube-shaped flowers along only one side. Many hybrid varieties have been cultivated for larger flower sizes and more potent fragrances

The flowers come in single or double-petal form and a wide range of colors, including white, yellow, red, cream, orange, pink, purple, lavender, and mauve, as well as one variety that is nearly blue. The fragrance of the flowers is described as fruity, powdery, and sweet.


A close-up of pink freesia flowers in full bloom, showcasing delicate petals and intricate details. The sunlight gently highlights the soft hues, creating a mesmerizing display of natural beauty.
Freesia plants are favored for ornamental and cut flower purposes, particularly in bridal bouquets.

Freesia plants are typically grown as garden ornamentals and for their value as cut flowers. They are exceptionally popular for use in bridal bouquets and wedding flowers because of their symbolism and pleasing aroma. The sweet scent is also used to perfume lotions, shampoos, candles, and other pleasant-smelling home or cosmetic items.

Where to Buy Freesias

A small pile of freesia corms sits on a neutral colored counter top.
The corms of this plant are readily available in nurseries but you may need to order exotic varieties online.

Freesia corms are widely available in nurseries and other stores where bulbs and seeds can be found. For more exotic or unusual varieties, there are online retailers to order corms from. They are easy to grow from corms and are not commonly sold as nursery starts. 


In a rich, dark soil bed, freesia bulbs lie nestled, promising bursts of vibrant color. Tender green shoots gracefully emerge from the bulbs, reaching eagerly towards the surface, heralding the imminent beauty of blooming freesia flowers.
Plant freesias in fall in warm climates for early spring blooms.

In warm climates, fall is the ideal time to plant freesias. They will grow foliage over the winter and bloom early in spring. In climates that experience freezing weather, freesia corms should be planted in early spring, as soon as the ground thaws, for early summer blooms. Corms that are planted too late in the spring may result in spindly stems and short-lived flowers because they are exposed to too much heat. 

Choose a location that has excellent drainage, and loosen the soil to make it easier for the roots to develop. Freesias have long taproots that won’t develop as well in compacted or very dense soil. They prefer a sunny spot with some shelter from potentially damaging winds.

Planting corms in groups of five or six together will create an attractive cluster of grassy leaves and numerous flower stems. Plant your corms with the pointed side facing up, about one inch deep. Water them well after planting.

Freesias also grow well in containers, provided the pot has good drainage and is deep enough to accommodate the taproot. When planting in a container, water in your corms and then place the container in a shaded spot until shoots appear before moving them into the sun.

How to Grow

It takes about 100-120 days from the time corms are planted until the flowers bloom. Freesia flowers pair well with other garden flowers like gladiolus, scabiosa, cosmos, and dahlias. The stems of some varieties, particularly hybrids with larger flowers, may need to be supported to prevent them from flopping over. 

Water your freesias regularly, keeping the soil moist but not overly saturated to avoid root rot. Fertilizing should commence when shoots appear. In cooler climates, harvest the corms after the foliage dies back in the summer. Store them in a warm place to ripen, mimicking the summer conditions in their native environment. 


A mesmerizing close-up reveals the intricate details of deep pink freesia flowers, their delicate petals unfurling like nature's artwork in full bloom. The blurred background captures the graceful dance of slender leaves.
They thrive in cool weather, with optimal growth in full sun or partial shade.

Freesias grow best and sturdiest in cool weather. They can be grown in full sun or partial shade, depending on the climate. If you must plant your freesia corms later in the season, giving them some shade in the afternoon will prolong the life of the plant and result in stronger flowers, as this provides some protection from the heat of the sun.

If you plant your corms during the ideal planting time, plant them in a sunny spot for the best blooms. For potted freesias, partial sun is ideal, as they should be kept cool for as long as possible until they finish blooming. 


A close-up of green freesia buds gracefully arranged along a delicate stem. Glistening water droplets adorn both the tender buds and the slender stem, creating a mesmerizing symphony of freshness and renewal.
Provide moderate moisture, ensuring well-draining soil to prevent yellowing and wilting.

Freesias like a moderate amount of moisture, and they don’t like to have wet feet. As long as your soil drains well, you should give them enough water so that they don’t dry out. Overwatering can result in foliage yellowing and wilting.

After planting and watering in your corms, water them sparingly until the plants sprout. Once they have sprouted, water more frequently, keeping the soil moist but not soggy. Freesia corms are susceptible to rot if they are kept wet all the time. One inch of water per week is a good rule to follow when caring for these plants. 


A metal trowel with a wooden handle cradles a fertile mound of nutrient-rich cow manure, ready to nurture plants. Below, the ground is blanketed in a layer of freshly spread manure, promising a fertile foundation for robust growth.
These plants flourish in soil that is rich in nutrients and well-draining.

Freesias require a substantial amount of nutrients, so they prefer soil that is sandy or gravelly with a good deal of compost or manure mixed in. In other words, choose a soil that is fertile but also has excellent drainage.

Heavy soil types, like compacted clay, should be amended and loosened to allow for better root development.

Temperature and Humidity

A cluster of yellow freesia flowers, illuminated by the warm, radiant sunlight, showcase nature's brilliant hues. The surrounding leaves create a lush green backdrop, enhancing the vivid beauty of the blossoms as they unfold in nature's spotlight.
Freesias thrive when planted in temperatures below 70°F (21°C) for optimal growth and flowering.

Freesias are dormant during the warmest months of the year. They are native to a warm climate, and in their native climate, they come out of dormancy in fall when temperatures drop. For the best growing season, foliage, and flowering, freesias should be planted when temperatures are going to remain under 70°F (21°C) until they bloom

At about 70°F (21°C), freesias will begin to enter dormancy and stop producing flowers. As much as they like cool weather, freesias and their corms are not frost tolerant, so they will die in winter if they experience freezing weather. Ideally, temperatures between 40-70°F (4-21°C) will keep your freesias happy and blooming.

In addition to mild temperatures, freesias like a moderate amount of humidity. A humidity level of 40-50% is ideal for these plants. In dry climates, it may be significantly more challenging to grow these plants. 


A woman wearing green gardening gloves adorned with flower patterns carefully pours liquid mineral fertilizer into an orange container. The blurred background reveals a sunlit oasis of greenery, providing a serene context for the gardening moment.
Fertilize with a high-potash liquid fertilizer, using a formula like 10-10-20.

Start fertilizing your freesias when they begin to form flower buds. Apply a liquid fertilizer that is high in potash. Potash is a group of minerals that provide a high level of potassium, which is represented by the K in the fertilizer formula N-P-K. 

A formula of 10-10-10 would have equal amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Choose a fertilizer with a higher third number in the formula, such as 10-10-20. Potassium helps the plant to develop and support blooming. Fertilize your freesias every two weeks once buds begin to form until the flowers fade. 

Freesia Maintenance

A close-up of white freesia flowers, their pristine petals unfolding gracefully. Adjacent, a vibrant purple bloom adds a touch of contrast. Surrounding the blooms, small and lush green leaves form a lush backdrop.
For optimal flower bud production, dried bulbs should be stored in paper bags at 80°F (27°C).

If you are growing in a cooler climate, the greatest amount of maintenance involved in growing freesias is storing them. The corms should be unearthed after the foliage dies back, washed, and allowed to dry before storing to avoid issues with mold and fungus. 

The bulbs need to ripen to produce flower buds, and they need a warm, humid environment for that to happen. Place your dried bulbs in paper bags and store them at a temperature of about 80°F (27°C) and 75-80% humidity. Leave them in this environment for 14-20 weeks, and then store them in a cooler space until you are ready to plant them.

Growing in Containers

A potted pink freesia sits on a door step outdoors.
Grow in containers by planting corms in a deep pot with well-draining soil.

Freesia plants grow well in containers and can even be grown indoors as you would grow paperwhites or amaryllis in winter. Choose a pot that is at least six inches deep, preferably deeper, to accommodate the taproot. 

Mix standard potting soil with some coarse sand or gravel to improve drainage. Plant your corms with the pointed side facing upward. Grow several corms in one pot for denser foliage and an abundance of blooms. Water in your corms, and set the pot in a shaded spot until the corms sprout, watering sparingly until that time. 

Once your freesias have sprouted, move them to a spot where they will get six or more hours of sun daily, and increase watering to once a week if they are indoors. For outdoor potted freesias, monitor the soil and water when the top inch is dry. Begin fertilizing with a high potassium formula as soon as buds begin to form, and repeat every 10-14 days.


In the nurturing hands of a gardener, a freesia bulb is delicately placed into a bed of compost within a black seedling tray. The purposeful motion ensures the bulb's integration with the fertile soil, setting the stage for vibrant growth.
Freesias are best propagated through corm offsets in fall.

Freesias can be propagated by seed, but this typically results in plants that won’t bloom for two to three years. The more effective way to propagate these plants is to wait for the corms to produce small offsets. 

Propagate corm offsets in fall before the plants re-enter a growing phase. Lift your corms using a gardening fork, divide the corm offsets from the parent corms, and replant them. 

Here are some of the most colorful, fragrant, and vigorous cultivars of freesias.


Sunlit yellow Texas freesia flowers bloom vibrantly, their delicate petals catching the warm sunlight. A blurred background reveals the promise of more beauty with budding yellow blossoms and lush green leaves.
This variety has stems that turn at a right angle, showcasing dramatic double-petaled flowers.
botanical-name botanical name Freesia ‘Texas’
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 10”-18”
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 9-10

You will love ‘Texas’ for its subtle citrus scent and abundant, dramatic, double-petaled flowers. This hybrid variety has stems that turn at a right angle just before the flowers, causing the flowers to point upwards toward the sun. This quality makes them very enticing to pollinators.

Everyone who visits your garden will remark upon these cheerful bits of sunshine. Yellow freesias represent friendship, happiness, and optimism and make a wonderful bouquet for anyone in need of some cheering up.


A radiant cluster of white Virginia freesia flowers captures the sun's warmth, their delicate petals unfolding gracefully. Lush green leaves provide a serene backdrop, adding depth to the scene as they gently sway in the warm breeze.
Symbolizing purity and innocence, ‘Virginia’ boasts large, intricate flowers with a remarkable vase life.
botanical-name botanical name Freesia ‘Virginia’
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 7”-15”
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 9-10

White freesias are a symbol of purity and innocence, and this pure white, double-petaled variety often finds its way into bridal bouquets. Not only does this variety have large, intricate flowers, but they are also heavily fragranced as well. Each stem produces up to 10 flowers, and they bloom for quite a long time, so they have an excellent vase life.


A close-up reveals Oberon freesia flowers adorned with delicate water droplets, glistening in the soft sunlight. The petals gracefully shift in color, seamlessly transitioning from a yellow to a warm and inviting orange.
Inspired by the Greek fairy king, ‘Oberon’ boasts stunning single-petal blooms with a sweet candy-like scent.
botanical-name botanical name Freesia ‘Oberon’
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 12”-18”
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 9-10

Named for the fairy king from Greek mythology, ‘Oberon’ is royally gorgeous. With a scent as sweet as candy, and brightly colored blooms, this freesia will play a starring role in cutting gardens. The flowers are single petal form, and brilliant orange flowers with bright yellow throats are exceptionally eye-catching.


A pristine white Honeymoon freesia flower takes center stage in this close-up, showcasing delicate petals with a subtle hint of cream. Surrounding it are green buds, promising the imminent bloom of nature's elegance against a clean white backdrop.
This designer hybrid variety features ivory blooms with pale pinkish purple accents.
botanical-name botanical name Freesia ‘Honeymoon’
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 10”-20”
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 9-10

‘Honeymoon’ is a designer hybrid variety of freesia with ivory blooms that are softly accented with pale pinkish purple. These freesias have single-petal flower form and light green foliage. Perfect for weddings, engagement parties, or any romantic occasion, this is a flower of love. Pink freesias represent motherly love and romance.

Common Problems

Here are some common problems and solutions you may need when growing freesias.

Lack of Flowers

Nestled in earthy brown soil, a healthy freesia plant graces the garden with its tall, slender leaves and two striking yellow flowers. The surrounding array of plants complements the freesia, creating a harmonious and visually appealing natural tapestry.
Ensure that freesias are exposed to cool temperatures for several months to promote blooming.

Freesias can tolerate partial shade, but if planted in too much shade, they will not bloom, and the plants will become scraggly and leggy. Too much heat will also stop your freesias from blooming, so make sure to plant them at the right time when they will have several months of cool temperatures. 


A freesia plant stands gracefully against a white wall, showcasing its thick, lush green stems. The partially wilted white flowers exude a delicate charm, adding a touch of natural beauty to the scene.
Properly balance watering by ensuring well-draining soil with adequate moisture retention.

Wilting flowers are usually the result of over or underwatering. Freesias don’t like to have consistently wet roots, but they do like moisture, so underwatering is equally as detrimental as overwatering. Make sure your soil has good drainage and also retains enough moisture for the roots to absorb. 


This close-up shows a cluster of green aphids feeding on a vibrant green leaf. The aphids are of various sizes, and some are partially obscured by the leaf. The leaf has several visible holes and some brown spots caused by the aphids feeding.
Control aphids by spraying water or using neem insecticidal soaps for garden pest control.

A handful of pests may munch on your freesias, leaving unsightly damage to the foliage. They can drain the plant’s nutrients, causing few or unhealthy flowers. Aphids, thrips, spider mites, slugs, and snails are some of the pests that tend to damage these plants. Moles and voles are also known to eat the corms. 

Introducing beneficial insects like ladybugs into the garden helps to control insect populations. Try spraying aphids off with a strong jet from the hose. If chemical treatment is needed, try using neem oil, but be careful of affecting pollinator populations. Sprinkling diatomaceous earth around the base of plants will help with snails and slugs. 


Towering slender leaves, once green, are now adorned with a mosaic of brown hues, signaling the onset of disease-induced discoloration. Despite the leafy turmoil, a blurred background unveils a lush bush, highlighting the stark contrast between vitality and decline.
Issues like iris leaf spot and Fusarium wilt may arise due to poor drainage.

Iris leaf spot is an issue that can crop up in freesias growing in soil with poor drainage. Fusarium wilt can also be an issue that requires removing the plants, solarizing the soil, and not planting anything else in that space for a year. This is an incurable fungus that needs to be eliminated completely. 

Bacterial soft rot can also affect freesias. Waterborne bacteria find their way to your garden, and when infected water droplets splash on plants, they can result in dark spots that become mushy and spread. Limiting moisture around the foliage of your plants is helpful in avoiding this issue.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Freesias Toxic to Pets?

No, while ingestion may cause mild stomach upset, freesias are not considered toxic to animals or humans, so these are safe inside the house and around curious pets that might have a taste for foliage.

Will Freesias Grow Indoors?

Yes! Freesias can be grown indoors with enough light and the right level of moisture and humidity. These plants actually thrive in mild temperatures, so they grow quite well indoors.

Will Freesias Re-flower?

No, these plants will not flower twice in the same year. They need a period of dormancy or rest before they will re-grow and bloom again after dying off in warmer weather.

Final Thoughts

Freesias make a wonderful addition to any garden. Whether you want to enjoy their pretty flowers in the garden or grow them for cutting and adding to floral arrangements, these sweet flowers are certain to please. Indoors and out, freesias have an enduring charm that is certain to please the gardener and anyone they are shared with.

A vibrant meadow stretches out, adorned with pink, red, and yellow wildflowers swaying gently. Lush foliage thrives under the warm embrace of sunlight, creating a picturesque scene of nature's beauty and tranquility.


31 Spring Wildflowers You Can Grow From Seed

Spring wildflowers are about the joy of gardening, and growing from seed makes them affordable. Everyone dreams of a wild meadow full of flowers buzzing with bees and butterflies, and it's totally possible to achieve. In this article, gardening expert Wendy Moulton shares gorgeous wildflowers you can grow from seed!

Growing roses from seeds. Close-up of a flowering Drift rose plant against a blurred background. The plant produces dense mounds of glossy, dark green foliage. The flower is small, double with slightly ruffled petals of a delicate pink color.


Can you Grow Roses from Seed?

If you want to add new roses to your garden or experiment with plant breeding, you may be curious about planting rose seeds. Join gardener Briana Yablonski as she explains the ins and outs of growing roses from seed.

A stunning cluster of tall yellow foxtail lilies stands gracefully. In the backdrop, a mesmerizing blur reveals another realm of nature, where purple foxtail lilies complement the radiant yellow blooms in the foreground.


How to Plant, Grow, and Care for Foxtail Lilies

Are you looking to add beautiful, tall flowers to your sunny gardens? Look no further than the foxtail lily. In this article, gardening expert Jill Drago will tell you everything you need to know about these dramatic flowering plants.

A cute basket is filled with planted fuchsia violas and English daisies.


21 Beautiful Perennials for Pots and Containers

For some gardeners, nothing beats a dynamic perennial in the garden. Our garden favorites also make gorgeous arrangements in pots and containers. Join garden professional Katherine Rowe in exploring beautiful perennial options to enliven the container garden.

A selection of perennial pots features asters, mums, dichondra and Japanese forest grass.


21 Perennial Flowers for Your Balcony Garden

Looking for some perennials you can grow on a balcony? Tired of spending money on annuals year after year? In this article, certified master gardener Liz Jaros proposes 21 perennial flowers that are well-suited to container growth and life on the balcony.