This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V20", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
Premising that among the readers of the Monthly there are some who like to turn aside from the beaten track, wherein grow Callas, Geraniums, Abutilons, etc, to"rarer fields and pastures new," I give herewith a brief sketch of my success with some of the less commonly grown window plants. And for ease of culture and showiness of foliage, I consider the Croton at the head of the list. I have a Croton inter-ruptum, which I bought of Mr. Saul one year ago last May, then a very small plant, and today it is thirty inches high by as many broad, finely branched and richly colored. I do not, however, think interruptum nearly as handsome as-some of the others; indeed, pictum, though an old variety, is more showy. I have one of the last, which is very lovely, with its gold and crimson markings. Of the newer varieties, Youngii, Veitchii and undulatum are splendid species. In my opinion the latter is the prettiest, though all are magnificent. Crotons require strong sunlight, and the warmest place at command. I shower mine daily with warm water, and keep them on the highest shelf; and they well repay this slight care with their brilliantly-colored leaves, more ornamental, I think, than flowers. Dracaenas are also both ornamental and easy of culture, and give a nice look to a stand of plants.
But for a north window, and a cooler location, I think Aspidistra variegata the finest thing I have ever tried. I have one that has over thirty of its long, broad, glossy leaves, from four to six inches across, each elegantly striped with white, and gracefully recurved. It is never troubled with insects of any sort, and ought to be more often seen than it is. It requires a liberal supply of water, both over the foliage and at the root. Of rarer plants, I have grown with good success Palms, Pandanus, Marantas, Tillandsia and Dieffenbachia maculata, the latter an especially fine, free-growing plant, with broad green leaves, prettily spotted with white. It is recommended for wardian cases, but I have had no trouble with it in my sitting-room. Of course these more delicate plants require thought and care in their treatment, but they amply repay the extra troub'e by the elegant effect they give to a stand of blooming plants. I think we might grow many more of what are classed as"stove" plants in our rooms, by proper attention to cleanliness, and moisture in the air. In addition to water on the stove, I keep large sponges, constantly wet, lying among my plants.
I have, in this room, a Maiden-hair Fern, which has thrown up between thirty and forty fronds, some of them two feet high, and the mass more than that across.
I will stop to mention but one blooming plant, as this article is already too long. One year ago last spring, in looking over Mr. Saul's catalogue for something new for winter blooming, I came upon the Rogiera. I sent and got one by way of experiment. And I wish to testify my extreme satisfaction with this pretty, fragrant plant. The variety I had, bore pinkish-white flowers, in heads like the Bouvardia, only the clusters were three times as large, and the fragrance is peculiar and exquisite. It needs heat and sunshine, and grows freely without further trouble.