This section is from the book "The Florist And Garden Miscellany". Also see: All New Square Foot Gardening: Grow More in Less Space!.
This, although nearly, if not altogether, hardy, well deserves attention as a winter flowering pot-plant. It is not very showy, its colour being a somewhat faint yellow, but it flowers abundantly from any time in the autumn at which it may be wanted, until its services are superseded by the ingress of more gaudy subjects in spring. Its pale green foliage, too, contrasts well with the dark broad leaves of the Camellia. Its great recommendation is, however, the long period in which it remains in full floral beauty, and that during a season when flowers are scarce. I know, indeed, of no plant which equals it in this particular; and I think that this alone affords a sufficient reason for our not altogether turning it out of doors. It is very easily managed, requiring merely shelter to flower it abundantly during the dull months.
Suppose we begin with small plants in March. Shift them into pots two sizes larger than those they occupy. For soil, take ore part turfy peat, one part turfy loam, and one decomposed cow-dung, to which add a portion of sharp sand; mix these intimately together, and use the compost in a rough state. Place the plants in the greenhouse, or in a close pit, and protect them from currents of cold air. You will soon find them disposed to grow vigorously; give them then more air, and, in order to induce them to become bushy, stop such shoots as are inclined to outstrip their neighbours. By the latter end of May you will probably find that roots are plentiful on the outside of the ball; and remember that it is a bad practice to allow the roots of any thing to become matted before shifting; therefore, as soon as you discover that the plants have filled the soil with roots, shift them.
If tolerably well treated, they will fill 12-inch pots during the season, or they will flower very well in 9-inch pots; therefore regulate the shift by the size of plant you want; but recollect that the length of time during which they will continue in bloom greatly depends upon their having plenty of pot-room. In shifting, drain well, and use rough soil; and return the plants to their former situation for ten days, in order to prevent the soil from becoming drenched by heavy rains, and to encourage the plants to push fresh roots. Afterwards, remove them to a warm place out of doors, but sheltered from the morning sun; here they may remain until the time for housing the greenhouse plants takes place, merely requiring to be attended to with water, and to have any rambling shoot which may appear pinched back.
They will now be in a fit state for flowering, and may be removed to the greenhouse, or sitting-room window; where they will continue to display their little clusters of sweet-smelling pea-blossoms all the winter. They require plenty of water at the roots, but dislike a damp atmosphere. When you are tired of them, slightly prune them in, and place them in a cool situation, supplying them rather sparingly with water for a time. When they begin to shew a disposition to grow, water more liberally, and they will be the better for a shift into a larger-sized pot; but if that is inconvenient, feed them with manure water. When all danger of frost is over, remove them to their last year's station out of doors. You will find that young plants bloom more abundantly and remain longer in flower than old ones; hence it will be advisable to strike a few cuttings every third season. They root freely if placed under a glass, and kept in a rather cool place. Amateur.