The annual varieties are now great favorites, not only for the flower border, but more especially for cutting. Its finely divided foliage and handsome flowers are now produced in various shades, there being crimson, pink, white, and last, a yellow. By the crossing of species and selection great improvements have been made and still more are confidently expected. In the south and in California it flowers beautifully but in the northern and eastern states it is too often cut off before or just when beginning to flower. Specialists in the cultivation of this graceful flower have enlarged it from one inch to three or four inches in diameter. Let us hope they will give us varieties that will bloom abundantly before any danger of frost. They have already considerably advanced their season of flowering. While a tendency to early flowering is produced, the later strains are also more compact in growth; that, however, to the florist who grows for cut flowers, is not so important, as it is in the long sprays that it is particularly graceful, and for decorations few flowers surpass it in light, airy beauty.
Only moderately rich soil should be given it or it would grow too strong. Plants that have many blooms yet to open can be lifted, planted in boxes, and placed in a light position at the end of a carnation house, and will be greatly appreciated after all outside flowers are killed. Growing in a position where a deep coldframe could be put over them in fall to protect them from the first severe frost will well repay the trouble.
They are best sown in March, transplanted into flats, kept in cold-frame and planted out middle to end of May, or when there is no longer danger of frost.