Few plants bring back childhood's days more vividly than the showy al-lamanda. Though not a commercial florist's flower it hardly has a rival as a hothouse climber. The leaves are sharp-pointed, oblong, and come three or four in a whorl. The flowers are funnel shaped, three to five inches across and rich yellow. Allamandas are usually seen trained near the roof, where they do well and add greatly to the beauty of the house. They are also grown as specimens trained to a balloon-shaped or flat wire frame three or four feet high. In a competition for a number of flowering stove and greenhouse plants in any horticultural exhibition in Europe the allamanda would be sure to be one. The only use the florist could make of the flowers, rich and fine as they are, would be to take sprays of the vine covered with flowers for the decoration of mirrors or chandeliers. For an elaborate golden wedding they would be a glorious acquisition.
Plants covering a large roof space would need a tub, and I have seen them planted in the border at the end of the house. A turfy loam with a sixth of cow manure, adding a tenth of charcoal to the compost, suits them well. They are from equatorial America, so you will know what they want in temperature. Most of the species flower in June and July, but Schottii, one of the finest, flowers in August and September. They are little troubled by insects of any kind, syringing and fumigating keeping them clean without any trouble. In the spring and summer they want lots of water; in the darker winter months much less. In our hot summers they require shade from the brightest sun, but only enough to keep them from burning. They like the light, which they get in abundance when trained to the roof. In the late winter months, before they begin to grow, they should be pruned back as we do our hothouse grapevines, cutting back the previous year's growth to two or three eyes. If you wish to propagate them the last foot or so of the last year's growth will root easily in our ordinary propagating benches where there is a little bottom heat, making each cutting with two or three eyes. Remember they are from the tropics and should not be exposed to a lower temperature than 60 degrees at any time of the year.
Of the several species and hybrids the following can be selected as the best: A. Chelsonii, yellow, large, flowers in July; A. grandiflora, pale yellow, large, flowers in June; A. nobilis, bright yellow, large, flowers in July; A. Schottii, yellow, throat striped with brown, very free bloomer, the best known and best for all purposes.