When you see articles about forcing bulbs to flower out of season you expect to read about crocus, daffodils and hyacinths. Freesias are generally regarded as summer flowering bulbs. I have only tried to grow them on a few occasions, but with little success. By a happy accident Audrey Stallsmith writing for Dave’s Garden has discovered how to persuade her freesias to bloom in the middle of winter.

My first attempt at forcing freesias was purely by accident. Read on to find out how you can enjoy those famously fragrant blooms in midwinter.
I purchased a few corms after they?d been marked down in midsummer and planted them in a large pot outdoors. Because they had been on a department store rack too long, a few didn?t sprout at all while others got eaten by slugs.
By mid-October, when I moved my tender plants indoors, I had only three somewhat scraggly freesias left which hadn?t yet flowered. So I plopped them under the grow lights in a cool back room.
Since they looked rather depressing, I didn?t pay much further attention to them until I noticed in late January that a couple of them were in bud. The gorgeous lavender and white blooms they produced in mid-winter more than made up for their earlier deficiencies!
Although freesias are known for their scent, the odor of those modern hybrids was a bit on the evasive side. So, when I recently saw a site offering corms of the original white heirloom–and reportedly most strongly scented–variety, Freesia alba, I snatched them right up. (Quickly clicked on the ?Add to Cart button, I mean!)
Read more: Dave’s Garden
Image source: Paul Sullivan