This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V21", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
"Waverly," Baltimore Co., Md., writes : "I have for several years with much pleasure and satisfaction cultivated the Gloxinia. The bloom of a good collection of these plants has a charm so peculiar and an abundance of flowers of such variety of color and form, and comes at a season when the greenhouse would without them be comparatively uninteresting, that I would solicit a good word for them in your valuable magazine. Their culture up to this season seemed to me simple and easy, but I have now a disease in some seedlings that puzzles me very much. The house I grow them in is kept at a temperature of from 50° to 70°, and the soil I use is leaf mould and rotten manure with some sand. The disease first makes its appearance by a curling of the leaf; soon after the under side of the leaf gets to a waxy transparency, and the leaf soon after damps off. This always appears first on the lower leaves. Will you kindly shed some light on the subject? I send with this a plant affected in this way.
It is a seedling from seed sown last September".
[There are two causes operating to render Gloxinia and Achimenes unsuccessful, namely : the attacks of a small, narrow black insect known as the thrip, and a fungoid attack similar to and perhaps the same as the well known black rust in the Verbena. These troubles have prevailed so extensively that these beautiful Summer-blooming plants have almost disappeared from cultivation. In a recent visit to the greenhouses of the veteran florist, Robert Buist, Sr., we were delighted with an old-time display of these plants in perfect health, with the additional charm of novel and beautiful shades of color. Some beautifully spotted and pencilled, others mottled and edged in curious ways. Talking on this subject of disease and insect attacks, Mr. Buist expressed his opinion that when the temperature was kept at about 70°, and the atmosphere moist, with a partially shaded greenhouse to grow the plants in, they were always free from these pests. The opinion of this still active octogenarian, derived from so many years of successful experience, must be of great value to those who fail with these extremely beautiful plants. - Ed. G. M].