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Infobox on Freesia
Example of Freesia
Origin -
Stowage factor (in m3/t) -
Humidity / moisture -
Ventilation -
Risk factors See text


Description / Shipment / Storage / Risk factors

Scientific Name and Introduction

Freesia x cvs. Native to South Africa, the single or double flowers range in colours from yellow, orange, red, bronze, to purple. Some cultivars retain the delightful fragrances that are common in garden freesias.

Quality Characteristics and Criteria

Stems are harvested when the first flower colours and opens. Several flowering stems may be harvested from one plant. In that case, the uppermost flower stem should be cut just above the junction of the desired lateral flowering stem. When the lateral stem reaches maturity, it too is harvested. The upper flowering stem will have more flowers per stem and better postharvest life than lateral flowering stems. One or two florets per stem should be just beginning to open at the time of harvest and hence, at the time of purchase. If harvested too tight, many florets may not open unless preservative solutions are used properly. Market those that have good postharvest characteristics.

Grading and Bunching

There are no standard grades for freesias, but they may be graded according to maturity, number of flowers per stem and the length of stem. Quality freesias have at least seven florets per spike, and have long straight stems. Flowers are sold in bunches of 10 stems, usually of the same colour.

Ethylene Sensitivity

The open florets on freesia inflorescences are not affected by exposure to ethylene, but the effects of this gas are seen in young buds, which fail to develop.


Pre-treatment with 1-MCP or STS pulse pre-treatment is effective in preventing abortion of small buds on the inflorescence. Freesias can be pulsed for 18 hours in the dark with a preservative solution containing 25% sucrose. Pulsing should be carried out at about 20ºC with 85% RH. This treatment will increase flower size, percentage of flowers that open, and vase-life.

Storage Conditions

Freesia should be stored at 0ºC to 1ºC.


Freesias are packed in horizontal boxes or upright hampers.

Special Considerations

The species is ethylene sensitive, but it responds well to STS, which inhibits premature flower fading and the appearance of translucent petals. STS helps open more flowers per stem and more open flowers absorb more STS, protecting against ethylene-induced disorders. Water stress can cause significant ethylene production and reduce life.

Sources used
BMT Consolidated Manual on (Dutch) Flower Bulbs, cut flowers/greens and potted plants.