“Springtime Blooms: A comprehensive guide to nurturing Freesia flowers – from planting to maintenance”

If you want to plant freesia bulbs, you can do so by placing them in the ground in April or May after the frost risk has passed. Alternatively, if you want to start them in pots for a greenhouse or undercover, plant five bulbs in a pot that is about 11 cm (4 inches) deep, with the pointed ends 2½-5cm (1-2in) deep. Remember to regularly water the newly planted bulbs and keep them shaded and moist. For potted freesias, a cool greenhouse or conservatory would be the perfect environment. Once the bulbs start to sprout, move them to an area with full sunlight and continue watering. If you plant them between September and November, you should leave the pots outside when temperatures are between 10-17°C (50-62ºF), and bring them indoors during winter to protect them from cold weather and frost. To keep the freesia plants upright as they grow, you can provide support for the foliage and flowering stems. You can use a triangle of canes or pea sticks. If the soil is thin or poor, apply a small amount of liquid seaweed feed when the plants reach a height of 5cm (2in). When it comes to watering, make sure to water the freesias when you plant them and then water them regularly as they grow, particularly for potted freesias. If you plant them in good quality soil, there is no need to fertilize. However, if the soil is thin or poor, the freesias will benefit from a potassium-rich liquid feed like comfrey juice or liquid seaweed fertilizer. Remember to feed them only when the plants are growing and have reached a height of about 5cm (2in). Freesias require good support to keep the foliage and flowering stems upright as they grow. Use round supports held on a central stick, or a triangle or square of sticks will do the job just as well. In the garden, you can use gnarled end branches of silver birch or hazel. To deadhead, cut off faded flowers at the base of the stem, but leave the foliage until it has died back completely. This allows the bulb to store more food and produce flowers next year. Freesias are not entirely hardy and do not survive frost. In warmer parts of the UK, you can cover them deeply and overwinter them in the ground. If you are in a colder area, lift the plants in the fall when the leaves turn yellow or after the first frost. Cut the stems back to 2½ cm (1 inch) and allow the tubers to dry. Once they are dry, remove the old, shriveled part and leave only the new plump tubers. These can be easily stored in a tray with sand. Store them in a cool, dry, and frost-free place. Plant again when the soil starts to warm in late April and roll plantings to extend the blooming season. You can plant freesia tubers under cover in March and April or directly outside in April and May when the risk of frost is almost over. Don’t forget to water newly planted tubers. For deadheading, cut flowers and freesia in bud for indoor vases. Lift freesia tubers that will be stored over the winter, and mulch heavily over any tubers left in the ground over the winter. Fresh tubers can be planted in September to November under cover for spring flowers. If brown foliage is present on the freesias, keep it in place until each leaf has died down. Doing this gives the tubers a chance to store energy and provide a good display of flowers the following year. If the foliage is removed too soon, it will affect the flowering. Although, frost damage to the bulbs or tubers sitting too long in their bag before planting could also cause an odd leaf, but no flower. If the freesias are not growing, mice or voles may have taken them. Frost damage, waterlogged soil leading to onion rot, or other factors may also be the cause. Overwatering can cause freesias to wilt because they do not like to sit in wet soil. They can also wilt when too dry, so water well during dry spells. If the freesias have spots, it could be a type of bacterial soft rot. This will appear on the leaves as small spots, which then turn gray or brown. Ensure that the soil is not too moist, and the plant is not sitting in damp surroundings. Good air circulation around the freesia is also important. However, if the plant is heavily infected, it is best to lift and destroy it.

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