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Freesias not flowering

I have only a small front section but I have made the most of what I have. My gardens are full of begonias, lilies, roses, aeoniums and a lot of bulbs. I have a problem with my freesias not flowering. What am I doing wrong?


LIKE many other South African bulbs, freesias grow best in well-drained soil in a warm, sunny spot. Strictly speaking they're not really a bulb - the correct term is corm. Poor flowering is generally caused by overcrowding - the corms are too cramped to reach flowering size. If all you get is a mass of leaves with few flowers, dig up the clump in autumn, separate the corms and replant them individually. Be careful not to plant them too deeply - two to three times the depth of the corm is ideal.

Or it may be that your climate is a bit on the cold side for freesias. To overcome this, plant them in a warm sheltered spot exposed to as much sun as possible, such as around rocks or beside a north-facing sunny wall. Or try them in pots on a sunny patio or step.

Don't be tempted to fertilise them heavily or to mix lots of compost into the soil, as too much feeding can encourage leafy growth at the expense of flowers. If you do want to feed them, use a specific bulb fertiliser which will have the correct balance of nutrients or, in pots, use bulb potting mix.

Weekend Gardener, Issue 130, 2003, Page 26

Reproduced with permission from the former Weekend Gardener magazine. The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the RNZIH.

Andrew Maloy Weekend Gardener

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