Parlor Gardening has to some extent been treated of under the head of winter flowering plants, but a few additional general directions for plants not specially designed for winter flowering, may be acceptable. One of the first conditions essential to success is to start with healthy plants. Even all the professional skill of the florist, with all his appliances, will often fail to get a sickly plant into a healthy condition. What then can the amateur florist expect to do in the often unequal temperature and dry atmosphere of a sitting room or parlor? If the plants are purchased from the florist in autumn, to grow in the house, they are likely to be healthy, and are usually in a condition to shift into a pot one size larger; instructions for doing this are given in the chapter on "Winter Flowering Plants." But if the plants to be cultivated in the house are such as have been growing in your own flower borders, plants that were set out in spring, and have now the full summer's luxuriant growth still on them, then proper precaution must be taken in lifting them and placing them in pots, or the result is certain to be most unsatisfactory. What may seem to the novice a little singular, is, that the more luxuriant the growth of the plant in the open border, the more danger there is that it will wilt or die when lifted in the fall, and placed in a pot. The reason of this is obvious, when it is known that just in proportion to the top growth of a plant is the wide-spread development of roots, and therefore when you lift a finely-grown Geranium or Rose in October, it is next to impossible, if it is to be got into a suitable sized flower-pot, to do so without such mutilation of the young roots as will certainly kill it, if precaution is not taken to cut off at least two-thirds of its branches. If the plant is thus potted and kept as dry as it will stand without actually withering, until it starts growth, you may hope to have a fairly healthy specimen by December, if the lifting was done in October. But this practice, though often one of necessity, is never satisfactory. If the plants that have done service in the borders in summer are to be used as ornaments for the parlor in fall, winter, and spring, they must have a different treatment. All plants that are intended for future culture in rooms, should be potted in the usual way, into 5 or 6-inch pots, when set out in May or June; these pots should be set in the flower borders, but planted or "plunged," as it is called, so that the rim of the pot is level with the surface of the ground. The plants will flower if so desired, in these pots, nearly as well as if set directly in the open ground, but if wanted for flowering in winter, they will bloom much better to have the flower-buds picked off as fall approaches. It is also indispensably necessary that the hole in the bottom of the pot be entirely stopped, so that the roots cannot get through. The object being to confine the roots completely within the bounds of the pot, so that when taken up in the fall to be shifted into a larger pot, the roots will be undisturbed, and the plant will grow on unchecked. If this is not done, and the roots find their way through the bottom of the pot, there will be the same difficulty with the roots as if they had not been potted. About the best time to take plants in-doors in this climate is the middle of October; in colder localities, earlier, of course, and in warmer, later; always bearing in mind that the longer they can be kept in the open air, provided they are safe from frost, the better. Plants suited for parlor culture, requiring a temperature of from 40° to 50° at night, with an average of 10° or 20° higher during the day are as follows. These are known as greenhouse plants. For descriptions see catalogues of florists and nurserymen.



















Ferns, Greenhouse,



Geraniums - Pelargoniums,

Hoyas, (wax plant),

Holland Bulbs of all kinds,

♦Jessamines - Catalonian,

Jessamines - Cape,

Ivies - parlor and hardy,


Lily of the Valley,


♦Mesembryanthemums, (wax pink),


Mimulus - Musk,

♦Myrsiphyllum, or Smilax,





♦Primulas, doable and single,







What are known as hot-house, or tropical plants, require a higher temperature than the proceeding, and cannot be well grown unless with a night temperature of from 60° to 70°, and a day temperature of from 10° to 20° higher. The following, of most of which there are several varieties, can be found described in the catalogues of dealers:













Epiphyllums - Cactus,


Ferns, tropical,




Orchids, (of some kinds),









This matter of temperature has everything to do with the successful cultivation of plants in rooms, or in fact anywhere. If you attempt, for example, to grow Bouvardias or Begonias in an average temperature of 45° at night, the plants will barely live, and will not flower, nor be healthy. On the other hand, if you subject your Camellias or Geraniums to an average of 65° at night by fire heat in winter, you are almost certain to have the flowers drop prematurely. As a rule, there are more of the plants known as greenhouse that will endure the high temperature necessary for the hot-house plants, than there are of the hot-house plants that can stand the low temperature, so when no distinction can be made, and a high temperature only can be had, all in the list of greenhouse plants I have marked with a * may be grown fairly in the high temperature, thougb they would do better in the low one. The culture of plants in rooms is already described in the chapter on "Winter Flowering Plants," so that I need not further allude to it, except to hint in regard to the manner of placing the plants. One of the cheapest and neatest contrivances is the "folding plant stand," (Fig. 31). The sizes are from 3 to 6 feet wide, and 8 feet high, having from 4 to 6 shelves, and capable of holding from 25 to 100 plants. It is hinged so as to fold up like a camp stool, the shelves fitting in between the frames, and can be thus shipped or stowed away when not wanted, with great convenience. Boilers can be attached to the feet, so that it may be moved about as easily as a table. Plants, when placed on this, or similar stands, may be provided with saucers, so that the floor or carpet need not be injured while watering. It is not a good plan, however, to keep water in the saucers. It is always a safer way of feeding the plant to water the soil on the top, giving only enough for it to reach, the bottom, where, if any water pass through, it will be held by the saucer. If no saucers are used, and we think plants are generally grown more safely without them, the best plan is, to take down the plants from the stand, (three times a week will usually be enough), to some place where the water will not do any injury, and give all such as appear to be dry, a good soaking; those not so dry, water more sparingly, and give those in which the soil shows that it is wet, none whatever. Let the water drain off, pick off any dead leaves, and replace the pots again on the stand, being careful to change them as far as possible, so that each side of the plant may get its fair share of light; if the same part is always placed to the light, the plant will soon become drawn to one side.

Fig. 31. - Folding Plant Stand.