In today’s ever-changing gardening world, it is easy for a grower to become overwhelmed with combinations, hanging baskets, and patio containers. Which is why Kathy McKay, Product Development Manager for Flamingo Holland, recommends Freesia ‘Verona Zefrever.’
This freesia’s graceful stems and fragrant blooms allow it to stand alone. ‘Verona Zefrever’ features light-blue blooms in abundant clusters, and it is ideal for both indoor and outdoor use.
As an added bonus for growers looking for labor-saving solutions, ‘Verona Zefrever’ has low maintenance requirements. It’s important to plant corms deep enough with the tips/sprouts up and the thicker portion of the corm down, with 3 to 4 inches of soil on top. Growers should only water at the initial planting, and again when they see some rooting and sprout development, and only when the top soil is dry for established plants.
It is important to remember that all freesias are extremely sensitive to fluoride. Fluoride may be found in irrigation water and slow release fertilizer. Do not use super phosphate as fluoride is an ingredient. Some perlite types can have traces of fluoride, too. Higher fluoride levels, in combination with higher temperature and low humidity, can cause damage to the plant, starting on the tip of the leaf and working toward the middle.
‘Verona Zefrever’ is a cool weather crop and needs a lot of ventilation.
“The cooler temperatures ensure the plant is working on initiating a flower as well as a more compact plant,” McKay says. “In Southern states, you can grow directly outside, while cooler areas should grow in a cool greenhouse structure, protected from frost. Overall, staggered plantings work well with the ideal season being February through June.”
McKay’s Recommendations for Growing Freesia ‘Verona Zefrever’ Successfully
Fertilizer: Maintain EC levels below 1.0 and pH 6.5 to 7.0. Do not use super phosphate, and be aware of fluoride sensitivity.
Propagation: 5/6 corm, dip in fungicide for 15 to 20 minutes and plant immediately.
Temperature: Days at 50°F to 70°F and 40°F to 55°F at night. ‘Verona Zefrever’ neds to have a 24-hour average between 48°F to 61°F, preferably for the whole crop, but most importantly in the first six weeks for flower initiation.
Lighting: Requires 4,000 to 6,000-foot candles, helping with compactness. Stretching of leaves/stems can occur if plants are shaded.
Irrigation: Water immediately after planting, and again when corms root around 1 inch. It’s important to keep the roots moist, but do not overwater. Improper watering will cause plant stress.
Planting/Scheduling: Grow time of 9 to 11 weeks.
4/5″ pot – 3 plants per pot (ppp)
6″ pot – 5 ppp
1-gallon pot – 7 ppp
8″ pot – 7 to 9 ppp
Plant Growth Regulators (PGRs): Warm temperatures and low light levels require PGR use; 10 ppm Topflor at 3 weeks and 6 weeks after planting.
Pests: Thrips attach to flower spikes and produce visible damage. Aphids can cause flower deformation. Start preventative application prior to flowers becoming visible.
Diseases: Proper ventilation is important so Botrytis cinerea does not become an issue.
Learn more about Freesia ‘Verona Zefrever’ at VanDenBos.com.
Learn more about Flamingo Holland Inc. at FlamingoHolland.com.