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 plant is not nearly so much grown, or even so well known, as it deserves to be. As an exhibition plant, when well grown and flowered, it has few equals. Though the individual flowers are not very showy, yet when closely examined they are very beautiful, and as they are borne in the greatest profusion, a well - flowered specimen is a grand object; the flowers are also very persistent, lasting in good condition for months. It will thus be seen that this plant deserves a place in the smallest collection of greenhouse plants. It is also very useful for house-work when of moderate size, but is not suitable for cutting from, the flowers being too stiff for this purpose.
They are generally considered somewhat difficult plants to manage, and no doubt they require a good deal of care, else large portions of them will die off in the most unaccountable manner, and this more particularly should anything go wrong with the drainage. In potting, therefore, this should receive particular attention. Good drainage does not so much consist in the quantity of crocks as in the manner they are put in : they should be put in carefully, and not merely thrown in any way, under the idea that if plenty are put in the drainage must be all right. Further, the crocks should be washed clean before using, and then what particles of soil may be washed down during the process of watering will be less likely to find a lodgmerit among them. Great care should also be taken to prevent worms from finding their way into the pots, as these soon choke up the drainage. Should any find their way in, however, the best way to get rid of them will be to fill up the hole in the bottom with clay, and then fill the pot up with clear lime-water. This can be easily made by putting a few hot shells in a tub of water, and letting it stand for twenty-four hours or so before using.
The clear water only should be used, and this will soon cause the worms to come to the surface, when they can be picked off. The pot may be allowed to stand for a few hours, when the clay should be removed and the water allowed to drain off. It will not harm the plant, but is certain death to the worms. The Genetyllis is a native of the Swan River. The soil best suited to its requirements consists of good peat and turfy loam, two-thirds of the former to one-third of the latter, and sufficient sand to keep all open. They are increased by cuttings of the half-ripened shoots, put in silver sand in the ordinary way under a bell-glass. Pot them off singly when rooted; pinch them when young to get them into shape, and the after-treatment will consist of shifting them when they require it, training them into the shape desired, and general watchfulness that they do not suffer for want of water, nor be afflicted by getting too much of it. J. G., W.