This section is from the book "The Standard Cyclopedia Of Horticulture Vol2", by L. H. Bailey. See also: Western Garden Book: More than 8,000 Plants - The Right Plants for Your Climate - Tips from Western Garden Experts.
The uses to which cut-flowers are put have changed. Forty years ago the taste was for formal designs. The flowers were picked with short stems, and in the case of carnations only the open buds were cut, while the remaining buds on the stem were allowed to develop. These flowers were wired to wooden sticks for basket work or to broom-corn straws for bouquets. The details for making the formal pieces of that time will be found in Henderson's "Practical Floriculture." That the florists of that day enjoyed a good trade is seen in the fact that on New Year's Day, 1867, one New York firm sold .$6,000 worth of flowers, and it was estimated that the total sales in the city amounted to $50,000. The same authority estimates the annual sales of flowers in New York at $400,000 and in Boston $200,000. Probably the sales of the whole country did not exceed $1,000,000. Often $200 or $300 were spent for flowers for a reception, and the spending of $1,500 for a similar purpose, as well as a $6,000 church decoration, were then the highest achievements of the profession.
The public taste of the present day is for loose, artistic arrangements of long-stemmed flowers. The popular funeral emblems are forms of the wreath which are either made of one kind of flowers or of a great variety of material. Flat sprays and bunches of flowers, and palm (sago) leaves tied with ribbon are also commonly used. House decorations consist of vases of long-stemmed flowers. Roses, carnations, chrysanthemums, peonies and gladioli are suitable for this purpose. Table decorations for dinner are also made of long-stemmed flowers in vases, with some placed on the cloth with ferns or asparagus. Bridal bouquets are arranged often in shower effects by means of narrow ribbon. A remarkable advance has been made in the use of ribbon. Instead of the florist going to the nearest drygoods store for the ribbon he needed, the present-day florist carries his own supply of specially prepared ribbon. As soon as a new shade of color appears in roses, a new ribbon is manufactured to match the color. The accessories now required to conduct a successful florist business are numerous, requiring a considerable outlay of money; and the trade in this class of floral supplies is a very large one. Every large city now has its supply houses.
The kinds of flowers used throughout the United States and Canada vary very little and this is confined to varieties rather than species. The growth of the cut-flower business in Canada also has been rapid, and artificial boundaries have not divided the florists of the two countries. A good book on cut-flower culture is "How to Grow Cut-Flowers," by M. A. Hunt. There are no works on the handling of cut-flowers. On the use and arrangement of flowers, the best literature is found in the current trade papers. Among the foreign works which may prove helpful are "Floral Decoration," by Felton; "The Book of Cut-Flowers," by R. P. Brotherston; and the German special journal, "Die Bindekunst."
A. C. Beal.
A cutting is the gardener's name for a piece of stem, root, rootstock or leaf, which, if cut off and planted under suitable conditions, will form new roots and buds, reproducing the parent plant.
The word cutting, when unrestricted, is given to parts of the stem; a part or the whole of the leaf, when so used, is called a leaf-cutting; a piece of root or root-stock is called a root-cutting. The scales of some bulbous plants, as of the lily, can also be used as cuttings. A cion used in grafting might be called a cutting which unites and grows on another plant. Plants secured by division or layering are provided with roots before they are detached from the parent plants, and, therefore, are not properly cuttings. There are intermediate states between these different categories, however, so that hard-and-fast definitions do not hold.
The practice of propagating by means of cuttings, together with the discussion of the reasons, results and bearings, constitutes a department of horticultural knowledge that has been denominated cuttage, as the practices, reasons and philosophy of tilling have been called tillage.
Multiplication by cuttings is a form of bud-propagation in contradistinction to sexual reproduction, i.e.,
Propagation by seeds. It is a cheap and convenient way of securing new plants. All plants cannot be profitably increased by these means. Why they differ we do not know; the gardener learns by experience what species yield a good percentage of healthy plants, and acts accordingly.
The following table will show the different ways in which cuttings are made:
Soft e.g., verbena.
Hardened e.g., tea roses.
Long, in open air e.g., grape.
Short, under glass e.g., Japanese cedar.
Roots or rootstocks.
Short, under glass e. g. Anemone japonica.
Plate Long, in open air e. g., blackberry.
Entire e. g., echeveria.
Divided e. g., Begonia Rex.
Bulb-scales e. g., lilies.
There is less variation in cutting-progeny than in seed-progeny, and therefore cuttings (or layers or cions) are used when it is desired to keep a stock particularly true to name. They are used largely for the multiplication of forms that are specially variable from seed (which have not become fixed by seed selection), and of mutations as between the different branches or parts of a plant (bud sports). Thus, the varieties of roses, chrysanthemums, carnations, most begonias, and currants and grapes can be grown from cuttings. Cuttings are also employed when seeds are difficult to secure, as in many greenhouse plants, or when propagation by seeds is difficult and cuttings are easy, as in poplars and willows.