This blog is about growing tropical-looking plants in the Phoenix, Arizona area

February 23, 2014

First freesia bloom of the season, February 23rd

It's February 23rd here at The Tropical Paradise in Glendale, Arizona (a suburb of Phoenix) and the first freesia flower is starting to bloom. These are from bulbs from +Easy to Grow Bulbs, Inc.  that were planted three years ago, and they come back beautifully every year.

The best place to plant freesia here in the desert is at the bottom of a slope, in full sun. It's important to keep them within easy reach so the spent blooms can be tended to regularly. Also, they are beautiful and fragrant, and you want to be able to walk up to them. These are not "background plants"! I call something like this a "walk-up-to-it" from a design point of view, so if you plant them way back in your garden, don't be surprised if people stomp through trying to walk up to them. Good garden design does not encourage people stomping through the garden - put them where they are easy for people to see, and smell the fragrance.

Freesia will bloom throughout February and March here. The flowers appear in sequence, and once the blooms are spent, I trim the flower stalk all the way off. Like daffodils, it's best to let the leaves die back naturally, which they will, once the heat starts coming on in late April and May.

Yeah, it's too late to plant the bulbs now. If you buy freesia in full bloom now all you will be able to do is to watch the plant fade away. Put a note in your calendar to plant some bulbs next September. And don't be tempted to buy "Dollar Store" bulbs and just punch them into the ground. Get some decent bulbs, prepare a planting bed with some good potting soil and plant food. Yeah, it's absolutely ridiculous the trouble that I go to when planting, but in the long run, it's the best way to go.
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