Since the wane of the carpet bedding and the return of the popular flowering plants to flower garden favor the ageratum has been in constant demand. A. Mexicanum is the only species in which we are interested. By selection many improvements have been made, a more spreading and dwarf plant has been produced as well as a variation in color. It is well to try the new varieties as they are disseminated, as they are very inexpensive and frequently great improvements on existing varieties.
I have found that when propagated by cuttings for a few years a variety will often lose its character and gradually revert back to the original type. If I were asked what was the easiest of all plants to propagate I would say that the ageratum was absolutely the one, and so it is. Nothing but the most willful neglect will cause a batch of cuttings to fail. New varieties are, of course, raised from seed, which can be sown in January and the seedlings will flower freely by the following June.
It is by cuttings that our varieties are perpetuated. Lift a few old plants and pot into 5-inch or 6-inch pots before frost. Keep them cool and light till after Christmas, when you can begin propagating. It is well, however, not to propagate too early, as the plants get stunted when not shifted on and it does not by any means pay to have this cheap bedding plant in larger than 3-ineh, or at the most in 4-inch pots. The cuttings root freely with or without bottom heat and the plants grow rapidly in a temperature of 50 degrees. Their only enemy is red spider, which must be kept down by frequent syringing and the weekly fumigation.
New varieties of both the blue and white are being constantly sent out. The dwarf, compact sorts are the most valuable. The variegated variety of Mexicanum is of little value.