White Freesia

Freesia alba

Freesia , Ruikpypie (Afr.)

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Freesia alba is considered to be one of the most rewarding Cape bulb species to grow, as it is extremely easy to cultivate. The flowers have a strong, sweet-smelling scent and attract bees and other pollinating wildlife to the garden. It can be planted in pots or clumps with other species of varying colours to create a beautiful garden display during spring.
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Planning

Difficulty

Easy

Flowering time

Winter, Spring

Fruiting time

Summer, Spring

Harvesting

Harvest the flower stalks in late winter or early spring when three or more flowers have opened.

Propagation

Seed

Sow seeds during autumn months at a depth of 0.5-1cm and space them 6 cm apart. Germination should take place within 4-5 weeks.

Division

Divide offsets during dormancy period (summer). Place offsets at a depth of 3 cm and space them 6 cm apart when replanting in Autumn.

Special features

Attracts useful insects

Bees are attracted to the flowers.

Pot plant

Due to its small size, it makes a great potted plant for any sunny patio or stoep. use an acid, sandy (well-drained) growing medium, e.g. 3 parts medium-grained river sand to 1 part fine acid compost or finely milled acid bark. Use 15 to 20 cm pots, and plant the corms at a depth of approx. 3 times the height of the corm, in autumn. Place the pots in a well-ventilated, sunny spot, preferably one that receives morning sun and afternoon shade and water them thoroughly every seven to ten days.

Attractive flowers

Attracts bees

Special features

Origin

Tropical Africa to the Western Cape of South Africa

Natural climate

Temperate and Mediterranean

Environment

Light

Full Sun, Partial Shade, Partial Sun

Soil moisture

Dry

Soil type

Loam, Sand

Soil PH preference

Acid, Neutral

Frost hardiness

Tender

Uses

Ornamental

With its showy white spring flowers, exquisite perfume and relative ease in cultivation, Freesia leichtlinii subsp. alba is one of the most rewarding Cape bulbs to grow. It was previously known as Freesia alba.

Personality

Family

Iridaceae

Flower colour

White

Scent

Strong

Problems

Numerous caterpillars attack the new leaves and shoots of Freesia as soon as they emerge. Keep them protected in closed areas such as in cold frames or place thin netting over them until the flowers are harvested. Manually remove caterpillars when found. Aphids and thrips can also attack these plants. Aphids can transmit viral diseases to which Freesias are very sensitive towards. Leaves can be damaged by slugs and snails. The corms are susceptible to dry fungal rot.

Companion plants

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Knowledge and advice

Search our ever-growing knowledge base to find plants and information. Find out about pests and diseases you should be keeping an eye out for. Watch How to videos or follow step by step guides for tasks in the garden. Free download for your phone or tablet.
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