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.
Insects are apt to be troublesome in growing houses, - particularly Red-spider, Green-fly and Mealy-bug. A free use of the syringe is a good preventive. Tobacco-smoke, in two or three light doses, is still the best thing for the Green-fly. The Red-spider, fortunately, shows his depredations more villianously than most insects, - light yellow lines or spots marking almost at once the scenes of its depredations. If one has good eyes, the finger and thumb will keep him down, as a slight and rapid passing of the finger over the leaves easily crushes his little body. When he becomes an "army with banners," more scientific approaches must be made to give any show of success.
Pelargoniums become "drawn," spindly, and worthless, if they are not allowed to occupy the lightest and most airy part of the house. If fine specimens are desired, the shoots should now be tied down to the surface of the pots and pinched off so as to induce them to shoot freely; but a too frequent use of "finger and thumb" is bad, - nothing renders a Pelargonium weaker; rather encourage them to grow bushy, by the free use of light, air, and manure-water.
A good supply of young Fuchsias should be coming on now. Re-pot as their roots fill each pot; let them not want for moisture or light; do not pinch off their tops, but let them grow rapidly. The temperature in which they are grown should not exceed 55°. A turfy loam, moderately enriched with well-decayed manure, and well drained with charcoal, suits them admirably.
The Mimulus is receiving more attention than it has been. Where they are grown, they are much improved by having pans of water kept under their pots.
Epiphyllums, as they continue to flower, will require the warmest part of the house, and a fair supply of moisture.
The most interesting tribe of plants at this season of the year is, undoubtedly, the Camellia. The buds frequently drop off before flowering; this may spring from three causes - from the plants being kept too dry, or from the drainage being bad, whereby the soil becomes sodden, or from the house being kept too warm by insufficient ventilation. As the leaf-buds burst, the plants are benefited by occasional syringings; and, indeed, an increased supply of water altogether, in order to accommodate the demands of the young growth.
Cinerarias will soon be the chief attraction. The least frost kills them, yet they will not do well if kept in a high temperature. They love moisture, yet are very impatient of damp. No plant is more improved by the use of charcoal in potting than this.
The Calceolaria will require the same condition as the Cineraria.
Hyacinths that have been out of doors, or in any reserve place for protection, may be brought in a few weeks before wanted; they should not have much heat, light or moisture for a few days, and then only gradually.
Carnations and Pinks are much admired when grown in pots and flowered there early. They do not flower well if too much warmth be given but the usual temperature of the greenhouse will bring them forward a month before they can be had out of doors. Whenever the roots make their appearance through the bottoms of the pots, they should be shifted into a size larger. They require very little water, and love the light, and whatever manures are used to enrich-the soil should be thoroughly rotten. The Pansy, on the other hand, delights in half-rotten, strawy manure and turfy loam. If a quantity of seedlings have been raised in the Fall, they will require potting this month. They do not flower well here when the weather becomes warm; but when grown in pots, and forwarded slightly by the aid of a cool frame, they do very well.
Cacti and succulent plants generally, will scarcely require water at all, unless in very dry situations, and then receive but a slight sprinkling with a syringe. The rule " When you water a plant at all. let it soak right through," does not, by any means, hold good with these plants, if there be not some other good exception.
Oranges and Lemons will require the coolest part of the house, and to receive no more water than will just keep them fresh.