This section is from the book "The Florist And Garden Miscellany". Also see: All New Square Foot Gardening: Grow More in Less Space!.
The following is my mode of cultivating this plant for decorating the conservatory late in summer, or for ornamenting the drawing-room table.
As soon as it has done flowering, it is dried off gradually, cut down, and stowed away in some dry place where the frost can be kept from it. I start it again in February and April. The plants first excited flower through September and October; the latter make a grand display in a warm conservatory or stove during the dull months of the year. I shake the scaly tubers out of the pots in which they flowered, place them in a shallow pan with a little fine earth about them, and transfer them to a moist temperature of about 65°. When the shoots have attained two inches in height, I pot into 6-inch pots, placing five plants in a pot, and remove them into heat again. A gentle bottom-heat also greatly assists them, and they soon fill the pots with roots. When this is the case, I shift them into their flowering-pots, which are 10-inch ones; I then tie the shoots neatly, but do not stop them. The plants are then removed to a late vinery, where a gentle moist heat is maintained; and in this situation they thrive uncommonly well.
The soil I use is a good fibry peat, one-third turfy loam, a little well-decomposed cow-dung, and a good addition of silver-sand, all well mixed together, and used in a rough state, with an inch and a half of broken crocks over the bottoms of the pots. The latter secure good drainage, which is of the greatest consequence to this plant. By the above treatment, and a little syringing now and then, I get beautiful plants, with rich large velvety leaves and fine masses of bloom.
February 7th. T. R.