This section is from the book "The Gardener V3", 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.
1. Polystichum mucronatum; 2. Pteris tremula. The other Ferns we cannot recognise, being young fronds, and very much shrunk up in the carriage. 3. Too small a morsel to make out what it is, especially without a flower. 4. A Mesembryauthemum, but without a flower cannot say which. 5. Begonia rosiflora. 6. Coronilla glauca. 2. Begonia carminata. 3. A Begonia which we do not know. You seem to have confused the numbers.
3, Adiantum cuneatnm; 4, Cyperus alternifolius; 5, Selaginella Martensii; 6, Panicum variegatum; 7, Selaginella denticulata; 8, Isolepis gracilis. The other two Ferns we cannot make out from the morsels sent. As to the Begonias, it is impossible to name them. They are varieties of the Rex type, of which there are scores very much alike. Besides, your leaves were not nearly fully developed. We cannot tell you how to treat your Pancratium, unless you let us know which one it is. Pancratium fragrans, for instance, is a stove plant; while P. illyricum and P. maritimum are hardy herbaceous plants. Nearly the same applies to Hemerocallis, some of which are hardy, and some - H. disticha, for instance - greenhouse plants. We do not know any plant by the name of Martiminium.
Many plants will have finished blooming here for the season. They may now be rested by having less water, and be kept cooler. Ges-nerias, Gloxinias, and Achimenes may be put into pots or pans to be started. As the month advances, some of the pot-bound plants to be grown larger may be potted in preference to starving for want of root-room; others may have their drainage put right, and be fresh surfaced. Look to Caladiums, and see that they are not getting dust-dry, or suffering from damp and cold. Thrips, scale, and bug must be stamped out. Temperatures may be 55° to 60°. M. T.
For the plants in this department a good stock of peat and loam is indispensable. The days being longer, and the sun expected to be more powerful, it is a favourable period to get all the inmates of stoves examined as to the condition of their roots. When it is necessary to increase the plant to the size of a specimen, any inert soil may be cleared away and the ball planted firmly into a pot one size larger than its former one. The soil and roots should be moist when they are transferred to the larger shift; firm potting is in most cases desirable. Some mutilate the ball by cutting it severely with the view of allowing the roots to be free to run into the new soil at once; but it often takes them much longer to recover from the "chopping-off" method than the taking to the fresh soil by the "pot-bound" ball of roots, and the check is immensely greater. All plants require some help at this time; but to pot all and sundry, whether they require it or not, is mischief which will show itself in due time. Where roots may be scarce, use a minimum size of pots, and the soil more sandy than for vigorous healthy roots. Peat, sand, turfy loam, with some charcoal added, suits most stove-plants. Fleshy, strong-rooted kinds require little in the way of peat to grow in.
When potting is done, cleaning the structure in every part should have attention. Where there is no separate structure in which plants are to flower, there is a difficulty in making the one structure answer all purposes. The syringe must be used cautiously among flowering subjects. Amaryllis, Eranthemums, Epiphyllums, Eucharis, Euphorbias, Jasminum, Sam-bac, Pancratiums, Poinsettias, Begonias in great variety, Plumbago rosea, Gesnerias, Stephanotis, Gardenias, Scutellarias, Thyrsocanthus, Libonias, may either be in flower or going out. While under the latter condition they may be kept on the dry side for a short time, trimmed in in some cases, then started into growth; and cuttings may be had from the young growths of many of them. A young stock of the shrubby kinds is raised yearly, and the old ones thrown away. Temperatures after potting a stock of plants must be kept higher, and moisture given proportionately. 60° to 65° by fire-heat may be a fair temperature, but where no potting has yet been done less will do.
Gesnerias, Gloxinias, Caladiums, and Achimenes may be started forthwith. A portion of the house which can be used for bottom-heat is exceedingly useful for starting plants into growth; but the continuous plunging of plants is seldom practised now. Shading must now be put in order, and used only when sun is bright. The state of the weather is the only guide in such matters.
Now is a favourable time to get up a stock of Ferns. They divide well, and will root readily into the fresh soil. Some of the kinds take much more loam than others. Loam and peat suit most kinds.
Plants which have flowered must now be cared for to supply next season's flowers. Pot all plants requiring it in this structure; drain freely, and use well-broken turfy soil, whether loam or peat. It should not lie in solid lumps, which in course of time become sour and sodden. Sand and charcoal, mixed with turfy loam and peat, more or less of each, suit most of the ordinary stove-plants. Lycopods, Dracaenas, Cyperus, Palms of species, etc, should be grown on in quantity where such things are required for rooms. Achimenes, Gloxinias, Begonias, Gesnerias, and similar summer-flowering kinds, should be on the way. A free-growing temperature of about 60° to 65° at night, and the structures shut up during the day with sun-heat 10° or 15° higher, will do what is necessary. Water sprinkled about the paths and over the plants must be done judiciously. M. T.
If the stock of plants in this structure have been overhauled, roots placed in healthy soil, and well drained, they should now be in free growth. Abundance of atmospheric moisture and increased heat will cause a healthy leafage; and those which are to flower will be in condition to do their part well: starvelings never give satisfaction. Baskets with air plants must have the syringe well applied; shade judiciously, but overdoing it is a slow system of destruction. Achimenes, Gesnerias, Gloxinas, and Begonias, for summer and autumn blooming, may be on the way. Where means are plentiful, these can be had in flower long before this. A pit separate from the stove to bring such things forward is very essential; indeed, where all have to be huddled into one structure, justice to the large bulk of the plants is impossible. Fine-foliaged plants must not be syringed with dirty water. In districts where lime abounds, it is almost impossible to get clean handsome specimens. Clean rain-water is best for all purposes, and should be used of the same temperature as the plants are growing in.
Fire-heat, about 65° at night, 70° by day; and when sun is bright the heat may rise to 80° with safety. Shut up in good time in the afternoon, dewing all over : a chink of air on at night when structures are close is advantageous. Crowding is a general evil, and where such is the case, one may say farewell to handsome specimens.