Freesias, strawberries, or quitapesares are very popular bulbous plants for their flowers, which are not only very beautiful and of various colors but are also some of the most fragrant that exist. If you like its image and also its intense and sweet smell and you want to start having them at home, we recommend that you know well how to care for this type of plant, as bulbous plants are delicate in some aspects, such as watering.
If you want to learn how to care for freesias to beautify your garden or home, join us in this article where you will see a practical guide.
Characteristics of freesias
Generally speaking, these are the main characteristics of freesias :
- Freesia, also called freesia or strawberry, is a genus that originates from South Africa and owes its name to the 19th-century naturalist Theodor Freese. It is part of the Iridáceas family and has about 20 species and a large number of hybrid varieties, most of them currently cultivated in the Netherlands.
- These bulbs, which are planted in the fall and then bloom in the spring, can reach heights of around 30 centimeters, although some can reach as high as 50 centimeters.
- Its funnel-shaped flowers are grouped in inflorescences and can be of a wide range of colors depending on the species or variety, but the white ones stand out especially for their great aroma.
- The leaves are thin and long and deep green in color. It is common to have them both in pots and on the ground, since the plant is suitable for both outdoors and indoors, although it depends on whether the climate is temperate or extreme.
- If you get freesia corms or bulbs, buy them in the fall to plant immediately, and look for them to be firm to the touch. The soft ones are probably in bad condition or sick, so it is preferable to avoid them.
Freesia care – a basic guide
Freesias are not a particularly delicate plant, but they are not very rustic or super resistant, so they need some care. Follow these guidelines on basic freesia care to keep your plants in the best possible shape:
- Climate, light and location: they are temperate or warm, so they can be outside in these but they must be indoors in cold places. It is better to place them in a semi-shady area, which receives a lot of but not direct light.
- Substrate for freesias: they need a light substrate with good drainage to avoid puddles.
- Compost: it is advisable to use a little compost such as compost, bokashi type, or worm castings.
- Irrigation: although they need to have constant humidity in the soil, the most important thing is to avoid puddles so that the bulbs can rot. During the hot months, which is when the plant is active, it waters quite frequently but in small amounts.
Next, we explain in more detail each one of the care of freesias or quitapesares.
Climate and location for freesias
Freesias originate from a warm climate and therefore cannot stand cold climates or frost, which can kill bulbs. If you live in a warm area you can place them outside , without having to move the bulbs in winter, but if in your climate the temperatures drop a lot in the cold months, you will have to keep them in a pot indoors .
In a pot, place them individually in small containers, or join several bulbs in a single large pot, always respecting about 10 centimeters of distance between them. In any case, bury them about 2 inches deep. Containers need to have drainage holes. Both indoors and outdoors, keep them in a location protected from strong winds or normal drafts.
These plants do best in very bright conditions . However, the direct incidence of sunlight, especially in very hot climates or with intense sun, can spoil or spoil freesia flowers.
Taking this into account, the ideal location for them is a semi-shady place , either in an area protected from direct sun in the garden, or in a very bright room but away from the windows.
Soil and substrate for freesias
Like most bulbs, freesias need well-drained soil to avoid flooding and problems derived from excess humidity. If you plant outdoors, be sure to adequately aerate the soil, and check that it does not puddle or retain too much water when it rains or you water. If so, you will have to add light soil prepared by yourself.
In a pot, use a light substrate for the bulb to grow properly. A mixture with a part of peat, another of coconut fiber and another of worm humus, with an addition of perlite, will result in a light and very rich substrate that does not puddle and has a large amount of nutrients.
Fertilizer for freesias
These plants will appreciate being planted in soil rich in organic matter. You can enrich your soil or substrate with organic organic fertilizer or compost , such as bokashi compost or worm castings. Add some of this to the soil or substrate when the warmer months begin and, thanks to this, the plant will produce more flowers in spring and summer.
How to water freesias
These plants need to have a certain level of humidity in the substrate or soil constantly, at least during their months of activity. Water very often and in small amounts so that you can keep the soil moist without ever getting it flooded. Between autumn and winter, after its flowering, stop watering to force the plant to enter a vegetative state, which it will keep throughout the cold season.
Other care of freesias
If you’ve planted your freesia too shallow, they may need a stake . Use a stick or wire to guide them and keep them upright, without sagging too much.
In addition, this plant can be attacked by spider mites or aphids in conditions of high temperatures and humidity. Apply some of its ecological remedies or, better yet, go ahead with preventive measures if you are used to seeing these pests in your area.