This section is from the book "Commercial Gardening Vol2", by John Weathers (the Editor). Also available from Amazon: Commercial Gardening, A Practical & Scientific Treatise For Market Gardeners.
The original species from which the numerous varieties now grown have sprung is indigenous to England, and may frequently be seen growing on old walls or chalk cliffs in various parts of the country. From this it may be inferred that the plant prefers a certain root-dryness, or at least a light, well-drained soil. Such a deduction would be quite correct.
To-day there are three distinct types or classes of these flowers, viz. "tall", which attain to 3 ft. high; "intermediate", from 1½ ft. to 2 ft. high; and the "dwarf" or "Tom Thumb " set, which are rarely more than 6 in. high. Each group or set contains a great variety of colour - yellow, white, crimson, and the like. For general purposes, while the Tom Thumb and tall-growing varieties are valuable in their way, the intermediate section must, I think, be regarded as the most serviceable. This group embraces orange, apricot, pink, crimson, white, and yellow, with intermediate shades. The varieties of this set are as valuable in the cut state or in pots as they are in the garden. Hence to the commercial gardener who delights in having more than one string to his bow they are most desirable.
The seeds of these plants - and it should be remembered that all classes come true from seeds - constitute a distinct and valuable asset not to be overlooked. For garden purposes and for seed-growing these Antirrhinums should be regarded as half-hardy annuals, sowing the seeds in January or February of each year. A great trade is done by selling shallow boxes of seedlings every spring. [e. h. j].