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.
Aponogeton distachyon is not uncommon in good gardens as a hardy aquatic plant. We force a dozen or two of its Artichoke-like tubers every winter, and find them a great addition to the winter blossoms of the intermediate house or conservatory. Pans of earthenware 2 feet in diameter and 8 inches in depth hold three tubers. We plant in sound lumpy loam surfaced with sand. A layer of loam 3 inches thick, covered with half an inch of sand after the tubers are planted, is ample, after which fill up with clean water to the rim, and keep it fresh by raining a potful of water over the pan every morning. We plant early in November, and have plenty of flower-spikes from Christmas until April. In May we place the pans under a warm south wall, emptying out the water, and here, exposed to air and sunshine, the earth is baked dry. The tubers thus are induced to rest from May until planting-time, and start into growth as readily as Roman Hyacinths. Having a quantity of small tubers the size of Walnuts, we this season tried some of them in 6-inch pots, three tubers in each. The pots were placed in saucers, and the loam was kept saturated by watering overhead; thus treated in a temperature of 45° to 65°, they have flowered well, with from seven to fifteen spikes fully expanded at once.
For permanent results and large well - developed spikes for cutting, however, pan-culture in water is best; and to all who have to provide choice and uncommon flowers for finger-glasses or vases in the drawing-room during the winter months, I can confidently recommend this charming water-weed. The drying-off or baking process is, however, very, essential, in order to obtain a good simultaneous development or "crop" of spikes and fresh green leaves at the desired season.