Freesia Bulbs

Sliema, Malta

I recently bought some freesia bulbs, and when I was at the shop, I was told by some helpful customers, to place some pebbles at the bottom on the container, even if the container had drainage holes. I did this, but am now worried that I might have actually blocked some of the holes with the pebbles!!! I watered the pot after planting the bulbs and eventually some water did drain out of the bottom of the container. I was wondering, were the pebbles necessary? And what is their use? I've now tried poking them out of the way from the hole with a pencil.

Durhamville, NY(Zone 5b)

Usually pebbles, broken pot pieces and the such are used to stop soil from falling out the holes and plugging the drainage holes.

This message was edited Nov 17, 2012 11:06 AM

Athens, PA

I have always used pebbles or broken pieces of pots for drainage in pots that do not have holes. I like to use a coffee filter in the bottom of a pot with holes in order to keep the soil from coming out when I water.

Sliema, Malta

So even though the pot has holes at the bottom, it's ok that I put pebbles?

Greensboro, NC(Zone 7a)

It's fine. The pebbles are roundish and will act as a filter, the excess water will drain but your soil won't erode away through the pot's drain holes. Also, if you have your pot (no pebbles) sitting in a saucer and don't dump off any excess water from watering or rain you could still waterlog your container. The pot w/ pebbles in a saucer won't result in your soil sitting in direct contact with excess water--the pebble layer will help prevent that.

Sliema, Malta

Thanks a lot for your reply, you've set my mind at rest! I'm not having much luck with growing from seeds, so am hoping bulbs will give better results!!

Greensboro, NC(Zone 7a)

Anytime:) I can't seem to start seeds inside to save my life--I'm not devoted enough to it to go the whole grow light route either:lol: Moderate success with direct sowing different things. I'm much better with bulbs:lol: Haven't managed to have any luck with freesia so do post if you have success with them.

Ayrshire Scotland, United Kingdom

The pebbles, broken croc's or any type of other things like the white poly packaging broken into pieces etc will all help with the drainage EVEN IF the pots have drainage holes, the pots are made for use in all different climates and some plants, especially bulbs, cant take very wet soil around their roots or the bulbs will rot if placed in soil that stays wet for long periods, some other bulbs actually need VERY well drained soil but still require water so the added grit, pebbles etc help with the conditions required.

I also like the use of the bottom drainage in ALL pots as it help as mentioned, also it acts as a barrier to prevent things like slugs / snails and other creatures using the pots as a hidings place till night time foraging brings them out again and eat the greenery, it only HELPS, it wont stop the slugs etc completely, they find better ways to hide than we could even imagine.
Anyway the long and short of it is, Freesias don't like being buried too deep so the pebbles are helping out with that problem too.
Good luck, hope you get a lovely show of those pretty flowers and just enjoy.

Sliema, Malta

All the replies have been much appreciated! Some of the bulbs have now sprouted, so I'll just have to wait and hope to have some lovely flowers! :)

Sliema, Malta

One more question...... do all bulbs sprout at the same time? I planted 20 in all, but so far, after one week, only 8 have sprouted.

Greensboro, NC(Zone 7a)

Some of them will take longer and some may not sprout at all. I planted a good sized peruvian daffodils bulb one season and it didn't bloom for almost 3 yrs. I forgot it was there (thought it had died, actually:) and when I finally dug it up it had grown to the size of a grapefruit and had a couple of babies about half that size.

Staten Island, NY(Zone 6a)


Greensboro, NC(Zone 7a)

I've been following the winter sowing forum for years and am going to try a few containers this year. Thanks for reminding me--need to collect a few more containers:)

Sliema, Malta

Just wanted to share that I finally have a flower bud!!!!

Thumbnail by MonkeyFlower
Greensboro, NC(Zone 7a)

Very cool! Can't wait to see those buds open:)

Sliema, Malta

Just wanted to show off my lovely freesias!!! :)))

Thumbnail by MonkeyFlower Thumbnail by MonkeyFlower Thumbnail by MonkeyFlower
Greensboro, NC(Zone 7a)

Nice :)

Contra Costa County, CA(Zone 9b)

And SOoooo fragrant!

I generally put just a broken shard, or a couple of pebbles over the drain hole to keep the soil from escaping. Then set up the pot with a very shallow tray for the best drainage. I want soil in the pot, not rocks. Water will flow through whether there are rocks in there or not. If it is all soil, then the plant will have the largest root mass- the whole pot.

I do not plant in containers with no drainage, perhaps rocks or charcoal are for those situations.

Sliema, Malta

Thank you! :)

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