Freesias are among the most popular and widely grown cut flowers in the world, with over 110 million stems sold in the UK each year. They are available in a wide variety of colours including yellows, red, pinks and white, and they are sweetly scented. Their appeal doesn't lie in their delicate blossoms and wide spectrum of hues alone - the flowers have a strangely attractive asymmetry, growing off just one side of a thin, elegant stem.
Although available all year their peak period is spring. One of the nicest varieties is "Ballerina", which look like elegant dancers.
Almost unknown until the 1950's it is now one of the UK's favourite flowers. They origated from South Africa, was were first imported to Europe at the end of the 19th century. They're name after Dr Friedrich Heinrich Theodor Freese, a German physician.
Buy them with at least one flower open on the stem. Make sure they have plenty of water and never let the stem ends dry out. Pinch out the topmost buds and remove the old flowerheads to encourage new ones to open. Keep away from fruit, vegetables, and excess heat, as they are very sensitive to the ethylene gas produced. Freesias flower in full sun or light shade, with the latter helping the blooms to retain their colour.