Cape Lily of the Valley - Freesia
Graceful fragrant tubular flowers of freesia, painted in delicate pastel colors, are arranged in a row on a thin sturdy peduncle up to 40-50 cm high. These original inflorescences are shaded with long-shaped (up to 20 cm) green leaves. A bouquet of fragrant freesia is a wonderful gift for any reason, and the flowers are stored in a vase for 2 weeks or more.
Freesia, or Freesia (Freesia) Is a perennial herbaceous tuberous plant of the iris family native to South Africa. For aroma reminiscent of the smell of lily of the valley, it is also called Cape lily of the valley. The ability to bloom in greenhouse conditions from the second half of January to March made freesia from the beginning of the last century a cutting crop, beloved in many countries.
Freesias propagate, as are gladioli, replacing corms, tubers, and seeds.
Outdoor cultivation of freesia
If the corms of freesia are planted in March-April in peat pots to a depth of 4 cm, grown on a light windowsill or in a loggia, and then planted in the garden, then in August-September it will be possible to admire the blooming freesia.
A place for freesia is better to choose protected from the winds, in partial shade. The soil should be loose and well-drained. Corms are planted to a depth of 3-6 cm when the soil warms up to a temperature of 8-10 ° C. Freesia has thin shoots, therefore, twine is pulled between the rows or a grid with 10 x 10 cm cells is strengthened in a horizontal position, which, as it grows, is carefully lifted and fixed again. In good weather, flowering lasts until October.
After flowering and removal of yellowed leaves, corms of freesia, together with the tuber buds, are stored at a temperature of 28-31 ° С and humidity of 65-70% (in a city apartment, to increase humidity, next to the tissue bag in which the corms are stored, you need to keep a cuvette with water). After 3 months, the corms can begin to prepare for planting - hold for 2 weeks at a temperature of 10-13 ° C (for example, on a cool windowsill). On each corm, 3-4 children are formed. Unlike gladiolus, freesia should not be separated from corms after harvesting and drying.
You can plant freesia corms in pots or boxes in July and put in a garden or hotbed for the summer until autumn, and with the onset of cold weather bring them into a cool room, then they will bloom by the New Year.
Forcing freesia from corms at home
For winter-spring flowering (January-March), freesia corms are planted from July to early September. Before planting, they are soaked for 30 min in a solution of azotobacterin (0.5 g per 10 l of water) or treated with stimulants (root, epin).
Good flowering of freesia is provided by corms of the 1st and 2nd parsing, weighing at least 5 g. Corms of the 1st parsing should be planted with a feeding area of 7 x 10 cm to a depth of 4-5 cm (140 pcs fit on 1 m²), 2nd analysis - 5 x 10 cm and 3-4 cm (200 pcs.) Respectively. The root system of freesia requires a layer of soil substrate with a thickness of at least 30 cm.The substrate is made up of equal parts of non-acid peat, humus, leaf and sod land or peat, sod land and river sand in a ratio of 2: 1: 0.5. It is also useful to add bone meal and lime.
At a temperature of 18-20 ° C, shoots of freesia appear on the 7th day after planting; then the plants are grown at a temperature of 12-14 ° C, lowering it further to 10-12 ° C.
To bloom freesia was more magnificent, before planting and after it corms are kept for several weeks at an air temperature of 8-13 ° C and soil 13 ° C (for example, in the autumn on the balcony). Good flowering is obtained with a daylight duration of at least 12 hours, so in winter it is necessary to provide illumination.
The flowering time of planted freesia corms can be controlled by changing temperature and humidity. Flowering plants can be obtained from September to March.
Freesia inflorescences are cut off when the first flower blooms. The duration of flowering is 15-25 days. Selecting varieties of different flowering periods and planting corms at different times, you can enjoy blooming freesia from autumn to spring.
Propagation of Freesia Seeds
Freesia is propagated by seeds during selection work and in the case when there is not enough planting material. Corms and flowering plants can be obtained from seeds in indoor conditions, on window sills of windows facing east and west.
Suitable for sowing are freesia seeds that have been stored for no more than a year (preferably freshly harvested). Before planting, the seeds are incubated for 15 minutes in a thick pink solution of potassium permanganate, washed with cold boiled water and laid out on a soft ironed soft paper towel. After that, the freesia seeds are soaked for a day in boiled water in a clean bowl at a temperature of 18 ° C. Then they are mixed with washed calcined moist river sand and incubated with a thin layer for 2 weeks at the same temperature.
It is advisable to disinfect seeds that have been stuck again in a solution of potassium permanganate, as previously described. Freesia seeds should be sown to a depth of 0.6-1 cm with a feeding area of 7 × 7 cm or 5 × 7 cm. 2-2.5 g of seeds are sown on 1 m². Seeds are kept at a temperature of 20-22 ° C and a relative humidity of 65-75%. Fluctuations in humidity and air temperature are undesirable.
It is difficult to maintain such humidity in apartments with central heating; it barely reaches 40% in the autumn-winter period. Therefore, freesia seeds should be sown in a steamed light compost in mini-hotbeds with a plastic lid or in a box under a glass and daily aired and moistened with boiled water from a spray bottle. Boxes can be kept in a dark, warm, humid place.
After emergence, the plants are placed in a bright, but without direct sunlight. On the windowsill of a solar window, freesia requires light shading. With a short day at the end of autumn, additional illumination is needed to bring daylight hours to 12 hours, and a decrease in air temperature to 12-14 ° C, and then to 10-12 ° C.
At home, freesia seedlings must be carried out to a bright, cool loggia or a glazed balcony. By the end of the season, with a decrease in daylight, the temperature should be reduced to 8-10 ° C and even to 5-6 ° C, which contributes to the branching of shoots and improved flowering. When the sprouts of freesia reach a height of more than 10 cm, they must be tied to thin wooden pegs; this is especially important during the flowering period. They also carry out the backlight. Before flowering, the temperature is increased to 10-12, and during flowering to 14-15 ° C. Watering is regular, but moderate, and abundant during flowering.
Several top dressings are carried out: after emergence of freesia seedlings - with ammonium nitrate (10 g per 5 l of water); after 2 weeks - with a solution of chicken manure (1:20) with the addition of 20 g of superphosphate and 10 g of potassium nitrate per 5 l of irrigation mixture (such feeding is repeated 5 times every 2-3 weeks).
During the growing period, it is necessary to monitor the acidity of the soil, the pH should be 6.5-7.0. At a lower pH value, at the next watering, add 30-50 g of hydrated lime per 1 liter of irrigation water.
At room conditions, freesia seeds are recommended to be sown in March. In central Russia, seedlings can bloom in a year - by March 8.
Varieties of freesia
In the late 70's. of the last century, highly decorative freesia varieties of various flowering periods were imported from Holland to Russia, the following were recognized among them:
- Apollo - flowers are white, yellow pharynx;
- Safire - lilac flowers with a blue tint and a white pharynx in dark blue stripes;
- White swan - white flowers with cream-purple stripes;
- Orange Favorite - flowers are bright orange with a darker throat;
- Princess Mariyka - orange flowers with a brown tint, orange pharynx in brown strokes;
- Stockholm - flowers are red-brick with an orange spot on the lower perianth, late variety;
- Helsinki - perianth purple with a lilac hue and yellow spot on the lower lobe of the petal; pharynx yellow in purple strokes.
Later, new varieties of freesia were introduced with larger flowers and inflorescences located on higher peduncles. And, most importantly, they reacted more effectively to additional preplant cooling and bloomed already in late autumn, winter and spring. In addition, they turned out to be more resistant to lack of lighting in the winter months. One of the best - a variety of freesia Ballerina. His flowers are white with a pharynx in yellow strokes; vigorous plant, up to 95 cm high, with non-lounging leaves. Up to 13 flowers are formed on the stem, and there are shoots of the 2nd and 3rd orders with 7-8 flowers. The total flowering time is 36 days.
Modern varieties of freesia:
- Miranda - white flowers on a peduncle 49 cm long;
- Rose Marie - flowers pink-purple with a white spot in the throat;
- Saint Malo - flowers are dark pink-purple with a large spot in the throat;
- Pimpernel - flowers are orange-red with a dark yellow spot in the throat;
- Carmen - flowers are large orange-red;
- Royal Blue - flowers are blue;
- Fantasy - the flowers are very large, yellow;
- Rinvelds Golden Yemou - The flowers are bright yellow with an orange tint.
The most popular varieties of freesia are currently Aurora (cream), Vinta gold (yellow), Oberon (bronze), Red Lyon (scarlet) and Royal Blue (blue with white throat). There are varieties with double flowers.
Author: T. Dyakova, Candidate of Biological Sciences.