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.
This beautiful species is popularly known as the honey-plant or wax-flower, and well deserves a place in every collection of stove-plants, however small. Its waxy white flowers, with beautiful rose-coloured centre, are produced very freely from midsummer to far on in the autumn months, and are especially adapted for bouquets, etc, although some object to them for that purpose, owing to the umbels being so stiff-looking; but that defect can be somewhat remedied by "wiring" the individual flowers - or even two or three can be put together and used towards the centre of the bouquet, where light colours are indispensable, using larger and more dark-coloured flowers toward the extremities. The plant is of a semi-scandent, compact, free-flowering habit, and is very suitable for growing in baskets suspended from the roof of the stove just above or near the passages, where the delicate flowers can be easily seen by those walking round the house. The baskets generally used for this purpose are made of stout wire, and are very ornamental.
They should be well lined with fresh Sphagnum moss before the soil and plants are put into them; and they must not on any occasion be allowed to suffer for want of water at the root, for in such a position they are apt to be neglected.
It also makes a beautiful exhibition-plant when grown to a large size, and tied out to very neat, small stakes, something in the same way that we would recommend for double Petunias. Cuttings of the half-ripened wood will strike very freely in a gentle bottom-heat, with plenty of moisture; and after they are well rooted, they should be potted off singly into 2 1/2 or 3 inch pots, and kept close and shaded for a few days from bright sun, after which gradually inure them to a light and airy position near the glass.
The soil best adapted for them is equal parts of turfy peat and loam, a little sharp sand, and plenty of broken pieces of charcoal to keep the soil open.
In potting, be careful to drain the pots well, and use the soil a little finer for young stuff than for larger plants; and as soon as the cutting-pots are full of roots, shift on into such larger-sized ones as may be deemed necessary, and stake and tie the plants into proper shape.
When making their growth, they should be freely watered at the roots and syringed overhead on fine afternoons, keeping up that degree of humidity which is so essential in the cultivation of stove-plants in general. This, however, must be varied according to the existing state of the weather, as a degree of humidity may be indulged in on fine sunny days which might prove dangerous in dull rainy weather.
The plants should also be fully exposed to the sun at all times; and as very fine large specimens can be grown in comparatively small pots, we would recommend caution, when potting, not to overpot them, as they are apt to turn yellow in the foliage and die off.
Specimens should be reduced at the root annually, and put into the same size of pot again with fresh compost, taking care not to hurt the roots when reducing the ball.
A very weak solution of guano and soot water may be given once or twice a-week, when the plants are making growth and in flower, with very beneficial results. "Dundonian".