This is one of the handsomest autumnal flowers, and easily cultivated in almost any soil. It stands the winter without covering, but is best cultivated in pots, where it can receive protection when in bloom, in severe weather in autumn. In warm seasons, it flowers well in October and November, in a sheltered place, in the open ground. The plants may be cultivated in the garden till they are in bud, when they may be safely transferred to pots; but it would be better to commence their cultivation from the slip or cutting, in the spring, and sink the pots into the ground, in a shady place, until the time of taking up, The varieties are endless, early and late, tassel-flowered, quilled, flat-petalled, etc., with every shade of light purple, yellow, white, lilac, blush brown, red brown, etc.
For common culture, divide the roots in the spring, and plant them out, where they are to stand, in a warm exposure, in good rich loam. As they are coming into bud, give them occasional waterings with liquid manure.
To produce handsome, dwarf, bushy plants, the following course may be adopted, as practised by Youell & Co., England, which course, they say, "if carried out, will ensure dwarf plants from one and a half to two feet high, covered with rich dark-green foliage, and carrying blooms from five to seven inches in diameter. In the last week in May we select the tops of the strongest shoots for cuttings, putting four or five round the edge of a three-inch pot, and placing them in a gentle warmth. When rooted, they are potted singly in the same sized pot, and kept in a close frame, for a few days, until they have become established. The tops may then be pinched out, leaving five or six joints to remain for lateral shoots
After a few days' hardening off, they are then removed to an open situation, allowing the plants a sufficient distance from each other to prevent their drawing, care being observed that they do not suffer from want of water. About the third week in July, we shift, for blooming, into seven-inch pots, using a small handful of coarsely-broken bones at the bottom. The soil we use consists of equal parts of well decayed (one year old) pig manure, turfy loam* and leaf-mould, adding half a barrowful of peat, and half ditto of road-drift to every four barrows of the above. When potted, they are placed in rows two feet apart, and they require but little attention, except watering, for two months. At the expiration of this period, we commence watering twice a week with liquid manure, made with one bushel of fresh pig manure (free from straw) to about eighty gallons of water. This will be ready for use in two or three days. As soon as the plants show flower-buds, we tie each shoot to a stick, and train them fan-shaped. Disbudding ought now to be attended to, reserving only one, or, at most, two, at the top of each shoot; but where two are left, it is better to take out the second bud, and leave the third, to prevent confusion. As soon as the buds show color, the plants are then removed to the green-house or conservatory, giving plenty of air, and substituting water for liquid manure. We ought to have mentioned that, where a profusion of bloom is required, two or three plants may be inserted in the pots where only one is usually grown. This will afford an opportunity of cutting away the weakest shoots, and reserving the strongest only."