This section is from the book "The Gardener V1", by William Thomson. Also available from Amazon: The New Organic Grower: A Master's Manual of Tools and Techniques for the Home and Market Gardener.
Is in many people's estimation the prince of decorative plants for a dinner-table; but their being grown, as we generally see them, in large pots, debars them entirely from that place of honour, and their utility is thus ignored.
Nobody but those who have seen them has any conception of their beauty, grown, as we grow them, in 6-inch pots in Sphagnum moss and a dash of silver-sand and pounded charcoal.
We have in our mind's eye a garden that possessed at one time upwards of twenty such plants, that did duty in all manner of ways - from the top of a spiral onyx-stone column to a Majolica vase in a bedroom. The common greenhouse Lycopod plays an important part on the surface of the pots, and in no way affects the health and happiness of the variegated Pine-apple plant. Warm soft water, copiously applied daily in summer and weekly in winter, and being placed on inverted pots on a stone over the hot-water pipes, are its chief wants. To obtain handsome uniform recurved-leaved stocky plants, a pair may be grown on in a pinery in the usual way, and fruited.
The crown or crowns thus produced - and I have seen as many as seven on a fruit, potted as I have recommended, and grown on in a careful mariner - make perfectly noble plants. In truth they may be termed real furniture-plants. It is erroneously supposed there are two varieties of this plant, but the crimson hue sometimes seen is entirely due to good cultivation. As a rule, crowns produce high-coloured foliage, and suckers light. The variety called Porteana is not to be compared to the one under notice. H. K.