All About Freesia – History, Meaning, Facts, Care & More

Freesias are popular during weddings and anniversaries. They can be bought in flower arrangements from your local florist. This is the preferred choice instead of producing your own freesias as the plants require ideal environments to grow. Learn more about the freesia flower in this article.

Facts about Freesia

  • Freesia is a scented flower making it popular for use in shampoos, soaps, and lotions.
  • Red and pink freesias are the highly scented hues.
  • The sap of freesia can irritate those with sensitive skin.
  • Ballerina freesia is named after its shape as it resembles a ballerina dancer’s silhouette.
  • Daffodils are dangerous to the life of Freesias.
  • Freesias are difficult to grow domestically as its petals are highly delicate.

History of Freesia

The freesia flower hails from South Africa. In around 1850, the bulbs of the sweet-smelling Freesia Refracta were brought from the Cape of Good Hope to Britain. It was not popular among growers at the time. The turn of the century brought about a certain change when a certain man named Armstrong brought the deep pink Kew freesias to the country which immediately became popular among local growers.

The Freesia Armstrong was crossed by different naturalists leading to hybrids in a wide range of colors. Still, the flower was yet to be accepted by the authorities. In the mid-1930s, the Dutch-born nurseryman of Offenham, Worcestershire, J.C. Eauwens further propagated the plant. By the 1950s, almost a million freesias bloomed annually in the markets of Britain.

In the United States, Freesias are primarily used by florists as cut flowers for various arrangements. It can be difficult to grow domestically in the country as the plant thrives in humid and subtropical climates.

Characteristics of Freesia Flowers

Freesia flowers are zygomorphic, meaning the flowers grow only on one side of its stalk. The flowers can have single or double petals that bloom in a Y shape. The plant has delicate flowers with a silky texture. Its leaves are shaped like swords and its stalks can grow up to 1 ft tall. It also has a strong yet tender scent like that of a rose.

There are 30 original species of the plant and over 300 hybrids. Botanists somehow prefer the hybrids more than the original varieties.

Freesia flowers can grow in gardens as well as in pots. As the plant originally hails from South Africa, it can be sensitive to high fluctuations in temperature. Freesias prefer a temperature between 11 to 16 ° C.

Uses of Freesia Flowers

Freesias are known for their fragrance making them popular in aromatherapy for stress relief. A bouquet of freesias at home or in your workplace can also boost your mood and reduce stress levels. Freesia refrecta is also cultivated to add fragrance to bath and beauty products as well as in designer fragrances.

Freesia Flower Meaning

Freesia is a flower named after Friedrich Freese, the botanist friend of Christian P. Ecklon. As the flower started with friends, it has become popular as a flower of friendship.

The Freesia flower generally conveys friendship, trust, and innocence. It is a popular gift among many cultures given to family and friends. During Victorian times, the freesia flower is known as the flower of trust.

It can be given to a person you trust, regardless of the nature of your relationship.  Freesias are given among friends who have proven their loyalty to each other. The flowers can mean that the friendship is strong and irreplaceable.

Keep in mind that freesias can also be given to a special someone when you are expressing your true feelings for her. Be sure to convey the right message whether you are opening up your feelings or being grateful for the friendship.

Freesias are widely used at weddings as they symbolize the purity of the bride and the trust between the couple. It is also the official 7th wedding anniversary flower in the United States.

As the flower also symbolizes innocence, it can be given as a gift during baptisms and when someone close to you welcomes a new member of the family.

Meanings of Freesia Colors

  • White freesias are symbolic of purity and innocence making it popular as wedding flowers from wedding centerpieces to bridal bouquets. White freesias are also popular during baptisms.
  • Red freesias are passionate flowers. It is given to someone you feel a strong affection towards.
  • Pink freesias mean motherly love.
  • Multicolored freesia arrangements symbolize friendship and can be given to close friends as well as to coworkers and family.
  • Yellow freesias convey joy in friendship. It is also popular in floral arrangements for the home.
  • Purple freesias stand for eccentricity and mystery. It can be given to someone who knows what they want and does it their way.

How to Care for Freesias

The freesia flower is popular as a cut-flowers.  If you prefer to grow them, here are some things you should know about tending for the plant:                          

  • Freesias have a vase life of up to 1 week.
  • Freesias grow best in sandy or stony, well-drained soil. Freesias do not tolerate soggy soil.
  • They thrive in light shade. Note that the pointed tips should be facing upwards.
  • It can be grown indoors in containers in USDA zones 4 to 8.
  • Plant the bulbs 2 inches deep and 3 inches apart.
  • Freesias need around 1 inch of water every week during the growing phase.
  • Leave the foliage when cutting blooming flowers to encourage re-growth.
  • Freesias can die as they go dormant.
  • Add organic fertilizer.
  • Low temperature can threaten the growth and quality of the stem whereas high temperature can drain its roots completely.
  • Freesia flowers need to be fed with a solution of 10g ammonium nitrate with 5L water every 2 to 3 weeks with salt.
  • Freesias need support as they grow. They tend to deform and bend to the ground.
  • They are also prone to threats of spiders, bugs, and butterflies.
  • Freesias can grow mushrooms called Fusarium if not cared for properly. This can cause rooting and can kill the flowers.