Separate Colours in Doubles or Singles. White, cream, yellow, orange, salmon-orange, salmon-pink, apple-blossom pink, rose-pink, scarlet, crimson.
Shaded pink. Scented.
Prices of these vary from five to seven shillings each. Gardeners who are willing to pay more would do well to write to some Begonia specialist for a catalogue of modern triumphs.
I can strongly recommend the cultivation of some of the tuberous-rooted dwarf Bedding Begonias, in pots. They are not known as they deserve to be, and are exceedingly useful in forming plant groups, or massing round large plants on the stagings to hide the pots; or they may be grown in hanging baskets.
Rose-pink. Hampton Court. Deep pink.
Scarlet. Worthiana. Single. Orange-vermilion: the best for baskets.
Yellow. Doris. Pink, with white centre.
In addition there are Tuberous Small Begonias of naturally pendent habit, that will fringe shelves.
Any of the dwarf Begonias, also Crested, Singles, and Frilled, are very suitable for window-box filling, the pots being sunk in coco-nut-fibre refuse to the rims and a layer of baked moss, or of the fibre, laid over the compost so as to hide all pottery and preserve moisture in the soil. A sunny position is not dangerous if this method of culture is adopted, for outdoor sun heat does not scorch like sun heat through glass.
The Gloxinia is altogether a plant for the hot greenhouse, pit, or stove, yet can be grown in any glass-house that provides a temperature of 65o from January to October, and one as low as 50o, sure, from October to January. A summer heat of 75o is not excessive.
Mix a compost of equal quantities of peat, loam, leaf-mould, old decayed finely dessicated horse-manure, and add about a quarter of a quantity of silver sand. See that either three-inch or four-inch pots are ready, washed, dried, and well 'crocked' for drainage. Put in the compost, just moist but not sticky, to within an inch of the rim of each pot: press one tuber slightly into each, just cover with compost, and place pots close to top glass, yet not exposed to sunshine. By painting the glass green the requisite shading is easily obtained, or the natural protection of a roof-climbing plant can often be made use of.
Keep from drying up. When growth is well observable shift the plants into five-inch pots, without breaking the balls of soil. They may flower in five-or six-inch size pots, according to the apparent requirements of the plants. Give weak liquid manures, when buds begin. Dry off after blooming, and store for future use.
Gloxinias are raised from seed, without difficulty, in a compost of very finely sifted peat and leaf-mould, in pans, in a temperature not less than 65o. Sow on surface, and treat as Begonias from seed. Colours range from lilac to purple, pale to deep violet-blue, palest blush, through rose to carmine and darker crimson, white, scarlet, etc., and the leaves are as beautiful as flowers. There are curiously edged, marked, and spotted varieties also.
Streptocarpuses, blue, white, rose, etc., have been called Miniature Gloxinias, because they too are blossoms with long throats and beautiful leaves. They grow from 7 to 10 inches high, as a rule, need slightly less heat, should be given rather more plain loam in their compost, and be started in March or April, in a temperature of about five degrees less. They should not be quite dried off after they have bloomed. Three or more plants look best for greenhouse decoration, in a six-inch pot.
Seeds may be sown first in February, and, as plants will bloom in five or six months' time, successive batches can be arranged for.
Gloxinias and Streptocarpuses can be well cultivated pavement. Bulb Border in Greenhouse.
in heated fern-houses, if syringing can be regulated; although they relish a fairly damp atmosphere, showers of wet spoil their velvety textures.
Perhaps Begonias look their very best when seen in a border inside the greenhouse. I would sink pots of the Giants, and plant out smaller sorts.