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History: In mid 1700's Freesia was falsely classified as the Iris family. However, in 1866 the classification was corrected and the flower was offered a new genus. G. L. Meyer was the first one to explain the characteristics of freesia alba, a white freesia flower. Earlier, not much was known to the public about the freesia genus. Freesia could only be grown by gardeners in greenhouse or plant sales outlet. Back then, freesia would not grow in cold weather and it was very difficult for commoners to cultivate it. In 1874, a man called Max Leichtlin revolutionized forever the way freesia is used. He found a yellow freesia in botany and took corbs, nurtured them and began to trade them as a houseplant. Soon there was widespread use of the flower. People started cultivating them in their homes. Today, we have fourteen species of Freesia and is easily grown in many places of the world. Virtually unknown till the mid 1900's it is now one of the world's favorite flowers. Freesia has its origins in South Africa. It was later exported to European countries. These flowers are named after Dr. Friedrich Heinrich Theodor Freeseo who was a German physicist.
Overview: Freesia is the ideal flower in every single way. They are elegant, look stunning and have an enchanting aroma. These flowers are very famous amongst the gardeners. They are known as the florist's favorite. Freesias are found in different varieties of colors. Freesias are most famous for their enchanting perfume. The smell it gives off is very strong. This smell can enclose a room for quite a long time. If you adore the fragrance of flowers, freesia is just your thing. Freesia symbolizes faithfulness and trust. They are often found in bouquets. Freesia is given as a gift in the seventh marriage anniversary. It is easy to grow and they blend well with the other plants in the garden. They can be grown outdoor as well as forced indoor. Because of their mesmerizing odor and different variety of pretty colors, they are one of the most loved flowers today. More than 110 million stems of freesia are sold each year in the United Kingdom.
Appearance: The appearance of freesia bulb is very similar to the chocolate chips. However, they are taller then the chips. The bulbs have a somewhat circular bottom. They are a little hairy and brown in color. Bulbs, which give shelter to dormant plants, are much bigger then the ordinary seeds. The flowers are very fine-looking. They have a peculiarly eye-catching asymmetry, sprouting off just one side of a slender, pretty stem. An element of the iris group, freesias have lean, leaves and elongated, tapered stems. It is only in case of Freesia that quite a few flower heads grow off making an angle of 90 degree to the stem. They have known as a corm. Freesia flowers grow along one side of the stem, in a single plane. The flowers are seen to be growing along one side of the stem. Each steam usually contains around 10 flowers. Freesias bloom yielding sophisticated, funnel-shaped flowers. The flowers are found in many different colors. The most common are the white and yellow. Nonetheless, they may be found in colors like golden yellow, orange, red, pink, mauve, lavender, purple or blue. Some of these flowers (hybrids) are multi-colored that is they contain a combination of two or more hues. Freesia is found to have both single and double blooming varieties.
Varities: The freesia genus consists of 14 species. All of them have its origins in South America. Many of the freesia flowers have been crossbred in order to gain a strong smell or to obtain attractive looks. Freesia plants grow from a corm, a solid bulb, such as the Gladiolus. There are many varieties of freesia. Alba is one of the easiest to grow and is known to have the strongest and sweetest odor amongst all the other varieties. Freesia flowers are available in both single and double blooms. The single bloom varieties have a single row of flowers organized around a mid point whereas the double bloom freesias have their petals organized in intersecting lines similar to the roses. Lacteal, Refracta and Laxa are common varieties.
Requirements for growth: The Freesia genus grows under full sun exposure. It is a heat-loving plant. The acidity of the soil in which the Freesia grows is supposed to be neutral. However, soil types that are mildly alkaline or acidic are also suitable for the effective growth of these plants. Freesias prefer sand-loamy soil. The soil must be moderately moist. They must be regularly watered but care should be taken to not over-water them. Freesias are frequently found in damp areas that are close to the water. Freesias need a temperature of 19 degree Celsius for effective growth. Growing Freesia: Freesias can be grown both outdoor and indoor. They can also be grown in pots and tubs.
Indoor Planting: The container in which Freesia is about to be grown should contain good quality, well-drained soil. Drainage holes should be formed in the container. The container should be placed in a windowsill or at any place where ample sunlight is found. The Freesia should be planted 2 inches deep and 1 inch apart. The bulbs should be planted by making sure that the pointed end faces up. The plant should be well watered. Now the flower blooms.
Outdoor Planting: The effective growth of Freesia takes place at 65F degrees during daytime and 55F degrees during night. It should be planted in moist soil. The soil should be sandy. The corms should be planted 2 inches deep and 3 inches apart. The pointed end of the bulb should face upward. It usually takes 110 - 120 days for the flower to sprout.
Care: Care should be taken to assure that the soil in which Freesia is grown is moist. Fertilizers should be added once per year in the fall. Organic fish emulsion should be applied to promote abundant blooms, if desired. The flower heads that look faded should be removed. They should be pinched from as close to stem as possible. This is done to prevent the faded flower head from absorbing the nutrients from the plant. Since the faded flower does not produce anything productive it is better to remove it.
Uses: Freesias are very attractive. They are found in bouquets. They are given off as gifts in many ceremonies, especially in the seventh anniversary. The Freesias give off a very pleasant, enchanting smell. This has been made use for aromatherapy. The scent from Freesia is used to scent candles and in room fresheners. They are also used in shop making, massage oils and of course as a perfume. Freesia is used for decorative purposes in spas bath. Freesias are one of the best choices to decorate the garden. Freesias are used in the manufacture of lotions too. Fact: Freesia is comparatively disease-free. However, it is prone to bacterial soft rot and dry rot. Some insects like aphids are attracted to this flower. These insects may transmit viruses to the plants. If Freesia is kept in contact with Ethylene, it begins to wither. The flowers turn to fade their color to yellow and the plant might even die. Thus keep Ethylene away from freesia.
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