George Clarke
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Joined: Mon Mar 03, 2008 5:32 pm
Location: Severn Vale, Glos.

Treating freesia corms for flower

I have had great success in growing freesia and at the end of the season have lots of healthy corms of all sizes. Transplanted with great hope for even more flowers I get at most half a dozen flowers. and again at the end of the season lots of big healthy corms.
Now getting ready to plant hundreds of big corms for the fifth season I have little hope of any flowers.
I use a well drained open compost with a low nitrogen fertiliser plus trace elements, the foliage is very healthy with little droop and what flowers show are big multiple heads.
What am I doing wrong? I had a reluctant hint from a professional gardener that the the corms need special treatment but just shook his head and walked away when I asked what treatment. New bulbs purchased always flower well.
I am aware that there are commercial secrets but this is ludicrous. Do
freesia rarely flower in the wild?
Can anyone help please?

TheLorax
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Joined: Wed Feb 20, 2008 2:40 am
Location: US

All I know is that it is a South African plant that is beautiful. Maybe if you search for information about where the plant is found to occur naturally you will be able to glean cultural information that would enable you to get it to bloom? Five seasons seems horribly long to still be at this and I must admit I would have given up and chalked the experience up to being a flop. You must really like them. What about contacting the nursery selling them to you and asking them how they are growing theirs?

George Clarke
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Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Mar 03, 2008 5:32 pm
Location: Severn Vale, Glos.

Treating freesia corms for flower

Thanks TheLorax for your reply and suggestions. I should perhaps have told you that I have followed a number of lines mostly by mail to various growers from whom I had purchased freesia and none deigned to reply. By following up their native conditions in the wild I lay the pots on their side to dry out for 2 or 3 months. Then replant in fresh compost and resume watering.
One thing I did find out was that the corms were supposed to be slow to reproduce and freesia, being expensive as a result, were among the first plant subjects for in vitro reproduction using small sections of the flower stem.
Being slow to reproduce has not been my experience and that was another line I followed in the 5 years. Thinking that I was feeding them too well I planted some in gravel and some in perlite without any humus or fertiliser with little or no obvious change in results except poorer foliage and a crop of very small corms!
I am nothing if not persistent, and have another year or two of growing these small corms on in poor compost in case starvation and slow development is the secret. It's not so much the freesia but the secrecy that gets to me.

TheLorax
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Joined: Wed Feb 20, 2008 2:40 am
Location: US

Well, I'll give you an A+ for efforts to date.

How about going back to that professional gardener and asking him to please not walk away from you because you are a very frustrated gardener after this many years and you would really appreciate it if he would part with information regarding the special corm treatment he referenced when you last spoke. If he doesn't respond, maybe tell him it's not nice being a tease. This behavior is extremely unbecoming of a gardener. I'm afraid I don't have any experiences such as yours. Most gardeners bend over backwards to provide other gardeners with enough information to make decisions on their own.

George Clarke
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Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Mar 03, 2008 5:32 pm
Location: Severn Vale, Glos.

Treating freesia corms for flowert

Yes I agree that most gardeners are more than helpful and willing to share their knowledge but this is one of a handful I have encountered who think more about keeping commercial secrets.
My reference to in vitro propagation; when trying to find out about sterilising material without killing it, I met a blank wall from gardeners on that one and it was a lecturer on botany at a local university who told me that it was dipped in bleach then sterile water. The first tiny spot of bright green is a great experience.
There is no real effort on my part I think it is just an insatiable wish to find out why. It does have the unfortunate consequence in that I tend to dabble until the next mystery comes along. Apart from it's other pleasures gardening throws up plenty of mysteries that an amateur can try to solve. Someone, somewhere knows!

TheLorax
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Joined: Wed Feb 20, 2008 2:40 am
Location: US

I've got my fair share of experiments going on around here myself. I think it's just a part of being a gardener. I had so many little experiments going on that my husband became frustrated every time he found more plant parts in our frig than food so he bought me my own refrigerator for out in the garage. Now I've taken over that frig and I'm still sticking special plant parts in the frig in the kitchen. I give my husband an A+ for effort too.

Commercial secrets? I hate secrets. Contact a nursery over here in the US that is growing the freesia. I've never had a commercial nursery over here play the secrets secrets game. Try Agri-starts. They'd part with the mysteries of the universe if they knew them.

George Clarke
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Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Mar 03, 2008 5:32 pm
Location: Severn Vale, Glos.

Treating freesia corms for flowers

Will do just as you suggest and thanks, I would not have thought of trying the States. I think that this should close now no one else seems to have anything to offer. May your fingers stay green.

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