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.
A few years ago we saw this beautiful plant in flower in a garden near Philadelphia, but have missed it lately. We suppose it is yet in some of our gardens. We are reminded of it by the following sketch in the Gardener's Magazine.
"This is one of the most valuable of plants, either for conservatory decoration or for growing in any warm sheltered nook, for supplying cut flowers during autumn, and no garden, however small, should be without it. In order to have strong-plants, it should be planted out early in the spring, in beds specially prepared for that purpose, as it grows much more vigorously treated in this way than 'it does when confined in pots. The beds shouldcbe formed of some rich vegetable material, such as leaf soil and good fresh loam, or any refuse peat that has been cast aside as unfit for potting purposes. If either of the above materials can be spared to form a bed from 0 to 10 inches deep, there will be no difficulty in growing such plants of Schizostylis as will produce an abundant supply of its rich scarlet Gladiolus-like blossoms during the greater part of the winter. Where supplies of leaf soil or peat are not to be had, it may be grown tolerably well in any ordinary soil that has been well enriched with rotten dung previous to planting.
Its flag-like leaves are rather subject to red spider, but this may always be prevented by keeping the plants well supplied, when necessary, with water, as it is invariably over-dryness, either in the atmosphere or at the roots, that favors the existence of this pest; both may, therefore, be guarded against by sprinkling the plants overhead two or three times a week, or as often as the weather renders such a course necessary or desirable for the health and well-being of the plants. If treated in this way, they will be found to produce flower-spikes early in October, when they may be taken up and placed in pots according to the size and strength of the tufts. They should then be placed in a close, moist frame for a week or so, to give them a chance of becoming established before being placed in the comparatively dry atmosphere of a greenhouse or conservatory."