Recommendations for Maintaining Postharvest Quality
Produce Facts in English > Freesia
Michael S. Reid
Department of Plant Sciences, University of California, Davis
Freesia x cvs. Native to South Africa, the single or double flowers range in colors from yellow, orange, red, bronze, to purple. Some cultivars retain the delightful fragrances that are common in garden freesias. The genus was named for Dr. Freese (1785-1876), a native of Kiel, Germany and a student of South African plants.
Stems are harvested when the first flower colors and opens. Several flowering stems may be harvested from one plant. In that case, the uppermost flower stem should be cut just above the junction of the desired lateral flowering stem. When the lateral stem reaches maturity, it too is harvested. The upper flowering stem will have more flowers per stem and better postharvest life than lateral flowering stems. One or two florets per stem should be just beginning to open at the time of harvest and hence, at the time of purchase. If harvested too tight, many florets may not open unless preservative solutions are used properly. Learn cultivar names and market those that have good postharvest characteristics.
Grading and Bunching
There are no standard grades for freesias, but they may be graded according to maturity, number of flowers per stem and the length of stem. Quality freesias have at least 7 florets per spike, and have long straight stems. Flowers are sold in bunches of 10 stems, usually of the same color.
The open florets on freesia inflorescences are not affected by exposure to ethylene, but the effects of this gas are seen in the young buds, which fail to develop.
Pre-treatment with 1-MCP or STS pulse pre-treatment is effective in preventing abortion of small buds on the inflorescence. Freesias can be pulsed for 18 hours in the dark with a preservative solution containing 25% sucrose. Pulsing should be carried out at about 20ºC and 85% R.H. This treatment will increase flower size, percentage of flowers that open, and vase life.
Freesia should be stored at 0-1ºC.
Source: Perishables Handling #102, May 2000