Delicate in appearance, the sweetly scented freesia is in fact a very resilient little flower. Named after the German physician, Dr Friedrich Heinrich Theodor Freese, they come in an array of colours, from snowy white to sunny yellow, to deep purple and red. Unlike most flowers, in freesias it is the darker varieties that have the strongest scent; their pungent fragrance is used in many soaps, body lotions and shampoos. Sun-loving flowers, most varieties of freesia come from the Cape Province of South Africa, with a few species growing further north in the tropics of the African continent. They were first imported to Europe in the late 1800s and since then have become a firm favourite around the world, with over 100 million stems being sold in the UK each year and an recent survey by F & PA (The Flowers & Plants Association) found that over half of the respondents listed them as one of their favourite flowers.
Freesias belong to the same family as the iris, the Iridacceae. They should be kept away from sources of heat and from fruit as they’re very sensitive to ethylene gas which is produced by ripening fruit!