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 gracefully pretty plant, so very liable to get injured by late frost in spring in most parts of Scotland and northern England, is a very good subject for room and table decoration. It may be very successfully forced, if not hurried too much or started too early. The present is a good time for lifting and potting it, but an early start is desirable, and I would advise lifting early in October, and the general treatment recommended for Lily of the Valley. The soil may be lighter, but equally firm potting is necessary; and manure of any kind, except liquid manure, is objectionable, causing, when applied to the majority of herbaceous plants that are forced, too much leaf-growth, while the flowers are benefited little or nothing by the application. A little peat, however, is a very good addition to the compost for this plant. I would advise giving this a fortnight of bottom-heat, either in the open air or in a freely-aired pit or frame, before putting it in a higher atmospheric temperature, such as that of a forcing house or pit; and in other respects the treatment should be the same as for Lily of the Valley. W. S.
A more generally useful and more easily grown flower cannot well be mentioned. At one time it was the fashion to purchase imported clumps; now, however, they are being pretty generally home-grown, and with better results. Supposing, at the present time, we had only a dozen strong plants that had been recently flowered in pots, we should at once prepare part of either a south or west border for them. Should the soil be light and poor, it would be freely manured and deeply dug; if heavy and strong, a quantity of leaf or other light soil would be worked in, or otherwise the plants will not so readily establish. The same remarks apply to the preparation of the ground for other plants. The Hoteias would be turned out of their pots, split in halves with a plunging fork, the halves rounded off, saving the corners, and the whole planted; the large round patches growing in rows about 2 feet apart and 1 foot asunder in the rows, and the smaller pieces somewhat closer. They require to be planted firmly, and should the soil be at all dry, be watered in, and receive occasional waterings till established. The whole of the strong clumps, however little fresh top-growth they may have made, may be forced the next season; but if allowed to remain till the second season, will give much better results.
In this case they will require to be potted into 10-inch pots, the smaller clumps by that time being suitable for 6-inch pots. There is no necessity to lift the whole in the autumn, but batches may be taken up at any time, provided the ground is not frozen, which, of course, can be prevented with the help of litter. The clumps when lifted may be freely disrooted, and when potted may be forced at once.