Freesia Species, Painted Petals, Woodland Painted Petals

Freesia laxa

Family: Iridaceae (eye-rid-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Freesia (FREE-see-uh) (Info)
Species: laxa (LAKS-uh) (Info)
Synonym:Anomatheca laxa
Synonym:Gladiolus laxus
Synonym:Lapeirousia laxa
Synonym:Meristostigma laxum



Water Requirements:

Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun

Sun to Partial Shade




Foliage Color:



6-12 in. (15-30 cm)


3-6 in. (7-15 cm)


USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

Where to Grow:

Suitable for growing in containers


Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:

Scarlet (dark red)

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Late Spring/Early Summer

Mid Summer

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)

From seed; sow indoors before last frost

Seed Collecting:

Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Alameda, California

Berkeley, California

Canoga Park, California

Fremont, California

Fullerton, California

Lompoc, California

Los Altos, California

Merced, California

Petaluma, California

San Diego, California

Apopka, Florida

Atlantic Beach, Florida

Gainesville, Florida

Jacksonville, Florida(2 reports)

New Port Richey, Florida

Zephyrhills, Florida

Buford, Georgia

Baton Rouge, Louisiana(2 reports)

Mandeville, Louisiana

New Orleans, Louisiana

Waveland, Mississippi

Medford, Oregon

Portland, Oregon

Blythewood, South Carolina

Dripping Springs, Texas

Houston, Texas(3 reports)

New Braunfels, Texas

San Antonio, Texas(2 reports)

Spring, Texas(2 reports)

Stanardsville, Virginia

Mountlake Terrace, Washington

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Apr 24, 2021, Normajeean from Fullerton, CA wrote:

I have a freesia laxa that came out on my front yard in Fullerton California.


On May 5, 2018, vossner from East Texas,
United States (Zone 8a) wrote:

Beautiful and showy. Has been a great multiplier for me. Virtually no care. Last season I scattered seeds around, have not noticed seedlings.


On May 2, 2017, DHannibal from Fremont, CA wrote:

This plant has become a pest in my garden. It goes to seed, and the seeds sprout everywhere. The corms can be found up to 5 inches under ground, and the only way to get rid of them is to dig them up. It is almost as bad as yellow Oxalis.


On Feb 13, 2017, amscram from Baton Rouge, LA (Zone 8b) wrote:

I have to agree with the other poster from Louisiana...this is a pretty plant when in bloom, very cheerful in the early spring, and a rather unusual coral-pink that you don't see often. But it will reseed itself with abandon, so be prepared. The foliage does tend to look a bit ratty when it is dying down at the end of spring, too.


On Aug 22, 2016, Gailene from Petaluma, CA wrote:

I lived for many years in the little town of Sausalito, just north of San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge. I would walk through the hills of the town daily and would pass by these most darling little wild flowers on my walk. They were outside of a fenced in yard, lining much of the path. I couldn't resist and one day took a spoon and dug up two or three of the little plant bulbs. I noticed they multiplied every year there, so I knew they would replenish themselves. 13 years later, they have propagated in several places of all over my property in Northern California and are absolutely captivating in the bloom! I have tried for years and could not find the name of the little flower! Now I know my little melon colored beauties are called False Freesia, or Freesia laxa!!! So many people ask a... read more


On Mar 31, 2016, marasri from Dripping Springs, TX wrote:

I grow it in an unirrigated spot and it has not spread . I wish it would spread more avidly. IT has stayed alive through thick and thin for 5 years on arid alkaline soil under a cedar tree in central texas. It is tough. Maybe it would spread if I watered it.... HMMM. It is a delight in spring and brings a touch of color right when the yellow columbine are blooming. Maybe I should move them closer together. HMMMM.


On Mar 30, 2015, abken from New Orleans, LA wrote:

I was unsure whether to check positive or negative on this pretty little bulb. Positive, because it blooms so dependably and adds lovely color to my spring garden; negative, because it is all too tenaciously invasive, happily propagating itself by increasing cormels and by seed which seem to pop up everywhere and germinate with no trouble. I don't want it to take over the garden. Pot culture is an option, but unreliable as a method to tame it. So, to those who struggle to keep it going, be happy. Others, consider yourselves warned.


On Mar 18, 2013, Kelli from L.A. (Canoga Park), CA (Zone 10a) wrote:

Easy to grow, naturalizes in my climate. Is one of the first things to bloom in late winter.


On Mar 19, 2012, JaxFlaGardener from Jacksonville, FL (Zone 8b) wrote:

This plant will spread to cover a fairly large area within a few years. The tiny rhizomes (Iris Family) would be great to plant under sod when installing a new lawn (or rebuilding an old lawn). They will flower for about a month in early spring and will disappear with browning leaves before the grass needs to be mowed.


On Aug 2, 2011, Ficurinia from Portland, OR wrote:

Mine were grown from seed this year and they are blooming right now. I am still shocked. This bulbif grown from seedwill bloom in its first year. Hurray!


On Sep 18, 2010, natureguyfrog from San Diego, CA wrote:

I could comment under each entry for this little treasure of a plant. [See my comments under Anomatheca laxa Joan Evans.] The more pasty reddish form mentioned here is less common in my garden but I have mostly a salmon-pink red. There are also white and pale pink so far are much less common and a blue which is really wonderful! All re-seed quite readily. They are a zero maintenance plant...well at least as close as one can get!

All-in-all this is a remarkably amiable plant in San Diego gardens. It is never a nuisance yet pops up in some of the most surprising places! The flower color may be variable but the flower size is the same... however the larger the plant the more flowers and branches on each flower scape. Blooming plants range from a few inches to nearly 2 ft.!! It ... read more


On Sep 10, 2007, Lenny59 from Medford, OR (Zone 8a) wrote:

I love this plant! I was given a corm by my mother 3 yrs ago, and this year I had 2 babies, about 6-8" away from the 'mother' plant. They all bloomed, and bore seed. The original corm was from the coastal area of Oregon. My location is inland So. Oregon.

It's small, and is quite lovely in my 'shady woodland area' on the south side of the house, next to my Trillium.

We don't get ground freezing here very often, and whenever it gets close to that temp., I put down some leaves, straw, or whatever I have handy, in the 'shady areas'.


On Oct 15, 2006, dmj1218 from west Houston, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

All of the Freesia laxa species and hybrids are unique and beautiful rarely grown spring blooming bulbs native to Africa; but are easily naturalized in southern gardens. Freesia laxa species has been in cultivation for 200 years, but is rarely seen in commerce today although is an extremely reliable tiny naturalized bulb in southern gardens. It blooms in February through March on 12 stalks going completely dormant by early summer in southeast Texas. It seems to not be bothered by moisture during its dormancy and provides a welcome respite from winter blandness. This underused little beauty is a rapid reproducer and is undergoing a resurgence in popularity due to its easygoing cultural requirements and myriad of hybridizing possibilities.


On Jul 28, 2006, dpmichael from Rethymno, Crete,
Greece (Zone 10b) wrote:

a very easy to grow-from-seed plant, which yields from the first year several big and healthy seeds for further use - it has a very unusual pink-red colour, and thrives in zone 10B if some shade is provided. As the summer settles in, the leaves quickly dry up and it does not look good anymore, but for some color in springtime it is superb. Keep in mind that it is a very low plant (15cm, 6").


On Mar 15, 2005, htop from San Antonio, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

After planting these last year in partial or filtered shade, I am happy to report that they are up and blooming right now. They self-seeded and appear to have produced new bulbs around the mother bulbs as well. The bloom stalks have 6 to 10 blooms per stalk and althougt the blooms are small, they really standout due to the color. I am delighted with this plant whose leaves are somehat grassy looking. I plan to buy more if I can find them and plant them in several more locations. It is difficult to find spring bulbs that return and bloom as well as naturalize without chilling in my area of Texas. After blooming and the seeds have matured (which they have done here already), the foliage disappears.

In my Zone, they come back up in very early spring (I think they appeared in l... read more