This section is from the book "The Florist And Garden Miscellany". Also see: All New Square Foot Gardening: Grow More in Less Space!.
This being one of our most beautiful autumn-flowering stove-plants, and as I have been very successful in its cultivation, perhaps a short account of my mode of treating it may not prove uninteresting.
I will begin with a young plant in a 5-inch pot, bought in now from the nursery. Such a plant, if in good health, will in general be found to be what is termed "pot-bound." The first operation, therefore, under such circumstances, will be to turn it out of the pot, remove the crocks, and carefully to disentangle the roots. If the latter are healthy, give rather a liberal shift, - say into an 8-inch pot, using a mixture of one-half good fibry loam, one-quarter peat and one-quarter leaf-mould, with a little sharp sand. Experience has proved that a soil of this kind, well mixed, and chopped up with the spade (not sifted), on an efficient drainage, suits it perfectly; but if peat cannot be had, then three-quarters loam and one- quarter leaf-mould and sand will answer. In both cases, place a layer of some of the most fibry and rough soil over the drainage, with a view to make the latter act perfectly and permanently.
After potting, give a thorough watering, to settle the soil about the roots, and place it in a smart bottom-heat in a moist stove. When it shews symptoms of breaking, if the plant is weak or "drawn," cut it down to a prominent bud on the ripe wood, or in the case of a stronger plant, bend it down, in order the better to equalise the flow of the sap, and cause the buds at the bases of the shoots to start simultaneously with those at their tops. Judicious watering and occasional tying will now be all that it will want, until it has filled the pot with roots, and requires a shift, which will probably be some time in June; for it must be remembered, that it should not be allowed to blossom the first year. The point to be kept in view is, to have a good strong plant furnished in autumn with well-ripened wood, from which abundance of yellow aromatic flowers may be expected the following season.
About the beginning or middle of June, if all has gone on well, it will be found to have filled its pot with fine healthy roots, and should be shifted into an 11-inch pot, using the same compost as before. After shifting, continue the generous growing treatment already recommended, until the end of autumn is approached, when water should be gradually withheld, and all the light and air that is possible given it, to ripen the wood well, an important point in the culture of all plants, but more especially so in that of the Alla-manda. Keep it ail-but dry during the gloomy months of early winter, and about the middle of February start it into growth. Prune the unripe tops off the old wood; and if a large and fine specimen is desired, shift it when it begins to break, and plunge it again into bottom-heat. Train the branches well out on a barrel-shaped trellis, which may consist of seven or eight nice hazel-rods of sufficient length, placed in the soil immediately inside the pot, fastened to a hoop about their middle, and then to a smaller hoop at their top.
Bend the shoots of the plant round this, so as to cover it regularly; and when the young branches have begun to grow freely, train the strongest of them near the bottom of the trellis, so as to have your plant regularly covered with flowers, which it will be by the middle of July, if the foregoing directions have been carefully carried out.
In the third and fourth years it will flower earlier and better than in the second, and it will not require to be shifted; but it should be fed occasionally with clear liquid-manure water, to keep it healthy and vigorous, without being over-luxuriant. By liquid manure, I mean clear dung-water from the stable-yard.