These popular herbs or sub-shrubs are probably the most commonly grown of any flowering plants. Their colors range from white, through all shades of pink and red, into purple and violet, another point in their favor being their delightful fragrance. There are several types or classes, some flowering in early Spring and some in Summer, while others bloom in Autumn, this depending a good deal on the time of sowing the seeds. Stocks require a deep rich soil and a sheltered situation with plenty of moisture at the roots. Plant them six inches apart, choosing a cloudy day for the operation; after planting, give the soil a good soaking of water and afterwards mulch the surface of the soil with old manure; water at least twice a week.
Propagate by sowing seeds of ten-week Stock early in March, in a hotbed, the intermediate varieties in April, and the Bromp-tons late in July. Cover the seeds to the depth of one-eighth of an inch. As soon as the young plants are large enough to be handled, prick them out (in pots or boxes) three inches apart in light rich soil composed of one-third leaf-mold, one-third light loam, one-sixth old well-decomposed horse-manure and one-sixth soft sand, well mixed together; return them into the same temperature for about ten days, after which they should be transferred into a cold frame and gradually exposed to the air, care being taken that the young plants do not receive any check in their growth either by sudden exposure to cold or by being taken from under glass and planted in the open without first being placed out of doors for at least a week until they get over the change from shelter to exposure. Another danger to be guarded against is leaving young plants in the boxes after they have exhausted the soil, in which case the stems become hard and barkbound, thus forcing them to send up their flower-stalks which, on account of their stunted condition, are puny and weak. In short, the young plants should be kept in a vigorous growing condition from the time they germinate until planted where they are to flower.