Freesia. See more pictures of flowers.

Freesia (Freesia hybrida) flowers originally came from South Africa. While the season for this luxury flower is January through June, imported freesias are available all year.

The fragrant, single or double, funnel-shaped flowers grow on wiry stems. The more usual colors are white, cream, and yellow, but freesias also come in orange, pink, lavender, and purple. Buy them in full bud when the first flower is open. Avoid stems with empty calyxes.

To condition, cut off the ends of the stems with a sharp knife and keep them in water one-third to halfway up the stem. They will last from one to two weeks if they are kept cool and if the withered flowers are carefully removed. A single stem in a bud vase on a desk is a delightful inspiration.

Want to use freesias in cut floral arrangements? Learn how: