[Said to be from petun, the Brazilian name for Tobacco, a plant to which the Petunia is closely related.]
Introduced into England from South America in 1831. This now very common plant was at that time considered a valuable acquisition to the flower-garden. We now wonder how a flower-garden could be formed without the Petunia, the Portulaca, the Verbena, Drummond's Phlox, and a host of other ornamental plants now considered indispensible, which have been introduced since that time. The fine rosy-purple flowers of this species make a grand display through all the summer months, and in September and October, and there is no flower like this and its hybrids for massing; this is the only good quality about it. The odor is unpleasant, and it is not fit for bouquets.
Has large white flowers, coarser in its growth than the last, and is of the same spreading habit. Both are somewhat viscid in their stems and foliage. From these two species have been produced innumerable varieties, with colors much more brilliant. Among the improved sorts are the Countess of Ellesmere, rosy-carmine with white throat, a very profuse bloomer; Large-flowered, dark-red; Large-flowered, purple with green edge; Inimitable, red margined and blotched with pure white. Hybrida picturata, a most beautiful dwarf variety, not exceeding one foot, covered-with large flowers of fine form and great substance, of a velvety scarlet-crimson, beautifully marbled with white. Carnation striped, a very beautiful class with flowers with white, rosy or lilac ground, with crimson, scarlet and purple stripes; veined on the same grounds with the same bright colors. P. kermesina splendens, pure white with purple or crimson throat, or blotched with purple or violet. P. maxima alba, very large white, and almost every conceivable combination of colors, excepting yellow and blue. But the greatest novelties are the double varieties, introduced within a few years, which partake of the same disposition to sport into a great variety of colors as do the single varieties; but I do not esteem them as any improvement. They are queer mis-shapen monsters, curiosities to be sure, but they are more shy in flowering, more liable to injury by rain, and fail to make that grand display which the single varieties do.
The single sorts are easily raised from seed sown in hotbeds in May; they may afterwards be pricked out into small pots, and, when sufficiently strong, turned into the open ground in the beginning of June. If the seed is saved from good sorts, a great diversity of fine seedlings may be expected. The last season I sowed seed imported from Prussia, from which. I obtained thirty distinct varieties, and most of them very beautiful. In October the best of them were taken up and potted, and kept through the winter, but at the time of potting were reduced to about ten or twelve inches in height.
The choice varieties are easily increased from cuttings. The best time is late in the summer or in September, from plants that have been headed down for that purpose; but where there is a green-house, and the plants have been potted, cuttings may be taken and struck any time in winter.
Double flowers are rarely produced from seed of the single varieties, unless they are fecundated with great care with double varieties; they are usually raised from cuttings. Nurserymen generally, have not only the double varieties for sale, but also the finest single ones, and this is perhaps the most economical way of procuring plants for a small garden. One plant, if permitted to spread, will often occupy a space a yard square. Unless they are planted in masses they look best when trained upright to a neat stake, bringing them into a pyramidal form, or on a small trellis, as fancy may direct. There is no plant in the garden that will make more show than this when properly managed, for it continues nearly until November with a profusion of flowers.
[Name from the Greek for fascicle, as the flowers are often clustered.]
The genus Eutoca, is now united with Phacelia, and those which in the former edition of the work were called Eutocas are now placed here.
A native of California, whence it was sent to England by Mr. Douglas, the botanist. A handsome annual, growing about one foot high, and producing a terminal raceme of fine blue flowers, each flower being about three quarters of an inch across. This lovely plant produces a fine effect when planted in beds or masses; in flower most of the season. The whole herbage is of a dull green, copiously clothed with glandular viscid hairs; the glands of a soot black.
A small, light-violet flower from California, not very showy. 13. multi-flora is in gardens here, but, although preferable to this, is not very likely to become a favorite.
A beautiful hardy annual. The whole plant is clothed with hoary down, intermixed with longer bristly hairs. Flowers light-blue, in racemes an inch long. The plant should be cultivated in a light soil and sunny situation. P. tanacetifolia from California, and P. congesta from Texas, are also cultivated.
[The ancient name of the Kidney Bean.]
This, which is sometimes called P. multiflorus, is a native of South America. "Before Miller's time it was cultivated less for its fruit than for the beauty and durability of its blossoms, which the ladies put into their nosegays and garlands. He brought it into general use for the table, and, because it has been found so useful, people seem to think it can be no longer ornamental, which is surely a vulgar mistake." It is one of the most tender of all beans for stringing. The Scarlet Runner will thrive in any good soil, and is well worthy of attention for the beauty of its blossoms. It will clothe whole fences or walls for a time, with a luxuriant green and red tapestry. There is also a variety with white flowers; plant the middle of May, and if the scarlet and white varieties are mixed, the effect when in flower will be very pleasing.