24 May

Freesia (Tritonia), deciduous perennial from corms, very vertical clumping growth to 1-2 feet in height, naturalizes, wiry stems bare funnel-shaped flowers in red, coral, pink, and orange, full sun to part shade, drought tolerant when extablished, good cut flower.

Tritonia is a cormous genus in the Iridaceae family from southern Africa. Most of them are in the winter rainfall regions or areas with some rain year round, but there are summer rainfall species too. They occur in a variety of habitats: grassland in summer rainfall areas, renosterveld, karroid scrub, and fynbos in winter rainfall areas. There are 28 species. Tritonia is in the Croceae tribe and is very similar to Crocosmia and Ixia. Experience from one Northern California gardener who has very wet winters is that many of the species she grows are unhappy with these conditions and when they bloom late spring or early summer the leaves are unattractive and the flowers can be ruined by late rains. They might be happier in dryer climates and/or grown with more protection from the rain. Still in years when the weather suits them they are very attractive and can be grown in the ground. The leaves need to be cut off a ground level after they die back.


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