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.
Though much has been written about this beautiful plant, I feel constrained to bring it once more before the notice of your readers. I may not be able, perhaps, to impart anything new concerning it; but if I can draw the attention of your readers to its merits, especially at this season of the year, so that it may be more extensively cultivated, and receive the attention it so well deserves, my object will be fully attained.
Perhaps there are few plants more easy of cultivation than this, if the conditions under which it is cultivated approximate to the climate of its native habitat, and its seasons of growth and rest are governed according to nature's laws. I believe that half of the failures are due. to the want of a proper season of rest; but if properly managed, there are few plants more accommodating, or more under control. By-regulating its growth and rest it can be had in bloom at any season of the year, and can be made to bloom two or three times a-year if necessary, although I would not recommend blooming it more than three, as it exhausts the energy of the plant. We have had a grand display of it here for some time, which has prompted this paper. One large plant has forty-eight flower-spikes, bearing 240 blooms, all of good substance - a lovely sight. In all, there have been nearly 1000 blooms since the Chrysanthemums were over. For cut-flower decoration, about Christmas especially, and through the dull season of the year, they are invaluable.
I may here give our mode of culture, which is very simple. We pot them in a compost of peat and loam, and place them in a temperature of from 70° to 80°, which suits them very well during their growing period. While making their growth they occasionally get a little weak liquid manure, from sheep-droppings, with a little soot. After they have finished their growth they are removed to a temperature of from 50° to 60°, and kept moderately dry at the roots. They should have a rest of two months at least, after which they may be again subjected to more heat to make them bloom. P. Mathieson.