This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V18", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
This very desirable winter-blooming plant may be propagated from seeds, which should be sown in a pan on a light sandy compost about the beginning of August for early spring bloom, or sooner, say May, for fall or winter flowering. The pan of soil should be well watered, and the seeds sown on the surface, covering only by laying a piece of paper over the top of the pan; in fact, we find this mode of covering excellent for all small seeds, as it maintains a uniform moisture, with less frequent waterings, should the soil seem to be getting dry. The pan may be dipped nearly to the edge in water, and let it soak in through the holes in the bottom. The plants will be up in three or four weeks, and as soon as large enough may be potted off singly into small pots, or pricked out in a frame or old hot-bed in sandy loam and leaf mold, and in the fall they may be put into five-inch pots, in which they will bloom, and may be kept in the frames shaded from the mid-day sun as late in the season as they can be with safety from frost. As the plants come into flower, all the best ones should be marked and kept for stock for the following year.
After a good strain has been obtained we never resort to seedlings again, except for new varieties, but divide the old plants about the latter part of May, and plant in a frame, and shade until the first of October, when they may be potted and left in the frame until established, after which move them to a cool house for winter. They do well in a house with Camellias, and plants of a like nature.
When large specimens are desired, cut the old leaves off around the bottom of the plants, turn them out of the pots, and cut off the lower half of the old ball, re-pot into pots one or two sizes larger, sinking the plants so as to cover the old stems.
When treated in this way, or by dividing as above, they will flower finely throughout the whole winter and early spring. Pot in sandy loam, with leaf mold or well-rotted stable manure, and avoid giving too much water during the short, dull days in winter.