This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V24", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
Rondoletia speciosa major is a comparatively rare evergreen stove or hothouse plant belonging to the natural order Cinchonaceae. It forms, when full grown, a dwarf shrub of compact habit from five to seven feet in height, the young branches having a drooping habit, and produces its richly colored flowers in large terminal corymbs in the greatest profusion from September to January. The leaves are of a glossy green color, and as the flowers are remarkably firm in texture, they remain in perfection for a considerable length of time. The individual flowers in size and shape somewhat resemble those of a Phlox. In color they are of a rich orange, gradually becoming lighter towards the centre.
It is unfortunately a plant of slow growth, and many years must elapse before one can obtain a satisfactory specimen; but when once obtained it will be found well worth all the time and care bestowed upon it. It requires, and must have, good drainage, and requires a compost composed of two-thirds fibry loam, one third leaf mould, and enough sand to keep the compost open, and during the winter season a temperature of from 55° to 60° Fahrenheit. During the summer season the plant, if small, can be planted out, or if large plunged in the border fully exposed to the sun, but on account of the fibrous character of the roots great care is necessary at all times to give it a sufficient supply of water, for if allowed to become very dry the plant will be severely injured, and if this is repeated several times the plant will almost, if not entirely, be destroyed.
When in the house the Rondoletia should be freely and frequently syringed, and during the blooming season a weekly watering of liquid manure water will be found to be of great benefit to it. It is an essential point in the cultivation of this plant to fully expose it to the sun during the summer season in order to enable it to flower to perfection.
Our plant is about nine and one-half feet high, with a head four feet in diameter, and is growing in a tub three feet in diameter, and when in full bloom is a remarkably attractive plant.
As I do not see its name even mentioned in but few of the catalogues of our florists, I hope that these few brief remarks will be the means of calling the attention of some of our plant growers to this attractive and desirable plant.