The popular Begonia Gloire de Lorraine belongs to this class, Socotrana being one of its parents. More care is needed to grow them well. Gloire de Lorraine is now a Christmas plant of the first importance. The following cultural directions are by Mr. J. A. Peterson, of Cincinnati, Ohio, and there is no more successful grower of this beautiful plant:
" I now wish to call your attention to another highly decorative plant which, in my estimation, stands without a peer, the incomparable Begonia Gloire de Lorraine. This begonia, by far the most useful and truly magnificent of all begonias, is a hybrid between Begonia Socotrana and Begonia Dregei, and was raised by that celebrated horticulturist, M. Lemoine, of Nancy, France.
"To derive the best results this plant should be propagated from leaf-cuttings in October and November. Select only good mature leaves; take the leaves, including the stalk, and insert the latter about one-half its length in the sand-bed; press firmly; by all means do not let the leaves rest flat on the sand, as they damp easily. This operation should be done carefully. Water sparingly only on bright days. If possible, a temperature of from 65 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit should be maintained in the sand-bed at all times. In about eight weeks the leaves should be sufficiently rooted to be potted into 2-inch pots. The small growths that form at the base of the leaves should also appear; take care not to break or otherwise injure these in potting, as they form the foundation of the future plant.
"For the first potting use equal parts of loam and sand; after potting place in a rather dry house, close to the glass, where a light shade should be given. Watering should be done very sparingly from now on by watering each plant separately and only when very dry; keep on the dry side rather than too wet. Also, deep potting should be avoided. They may remain in 2-inch pots from January and February (the time of potting) until June, at which time you should have nice little plants with from three to five shoots, if propagated from leaf-cuttings; then your trouble is all over.
"Repot directly into 4-inch pots and, from now on, they will continue to grow rapidly; more water may also be given as needed. More shoots will appear from the bottom of the plants as they grow stronger. Place in a cool, airy house, ventilating top and bottom; also shade well at this time of the year. A good plan is to put a few tobacco-stems between the pots as a preventive of green aphis. Water may now be given more freely, as you can almost see the plants growing.
"About August 15 to September 1 the final repotting will be in order. For compost use three parts good turfy loam, two parts sand and one part very old manure. Use 6-inch or 7-inch azalea pots, according to the size of your plants; one plant is sufficient for each pot, if you have plants propagated from leaf-cuttings.
"I will here say that this plant can also be propagated easily from cuttings during May, June and July; but these will not make as fine, sturdy plants as by the above method. They will, however, make nice little plants for 3-inch pots for the holidays, suitable for jardinieres or table decorations. If large plants are desired from cuttings you will have to put from five to eight plants in a 6-inch or 7-inch pot in order to be properly furnished. Then, again, one plant in a pot always looks better than where a lot are massed together.
"During the summer the plants should be pinched back, each shoot to two or three joints, so as to form shapely specimens; this should be discontinued after August. In pinching this way you not only have no flowers during summer but you also insure a stronger growth. About September 1 they are ready for tying; this may be done by using one stake in the center of the plant, looping each shoot loosely to same with raffia; this should be done as often as required. By November 1 the first blooms will appear; these should be removed if you desire a lot for late flowering.
"Begonia Gloire de Lorraine is not only useful as a single specimen, but it may also be used very effectively in table decoration. Small plants in 3-inch pots are very effective for this purpose. It is also very useful for floral designs. Let me say finally that Begonia Gloire de Lorraine is a plant that has come to stay.
"Begonia Turnford Hall, a white variety with a pleasing shade of delicate pink as in the apple-blossom, is a sport of Begonia Gloire de Lorraine which appeared a short time ago in the London market. It gives promise of being a grand companion to Gloire de Lorraine, and will be quite as useful as its parent. It will in all probability be in the market next season."
A Ball of Gloire de Lorraine Begonias.