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.
For table decoration, few if any class of plants are so useful and effective as many of the Palms, when in a young state. Being entirely devoid of anything that approaches to what may be characterised as lumpy or ungainly, and possessing almost every feature that is calculated to please the eye, when viewed either as isolated objects or mingling their sprayey fronds with other plants or works of art, they occupy the very front rank of foliaged plants for decorative purposes. They are, moreover, easy of cultivation, and can be reared to very suitable sizes for table-work in small pots, and the texture of their foliage enables them to stand tear and wear better than most stove-plants.
Fig. 7. - Areca Verschaffeltii.
Areca Verschaffeltii, Fig. 7, is one of the most useful and ornamental of its genera. Its leaflets are of a lively-green colour, with pale-buff midribs; and as a semi-drooping plant, it has few equals for furnishing generally, and for the dinner-table in particular. Our figure is engraved from a photograph of a suitable sized plant for our present purpose, in a 4-inch pot. It thrives well in two parts loam and one part leaf-mould in the moist stove, where it can be freely syringed. A. aurea, *A. lutescens, *A. sapida, A. rubra, and A. nobilis are all most useful for the same purposes. Those marked * are more hardy than the others, and thrive in an intermediate temperature.
Fig. 8. - Daemonorops Melanochaetes.
Daemonorops Melanochaetes, Fig. 8, also taken from a photograph of a plant in a 5-inch pot, represents one of the finest, if not the finest, table Palms with which we are acquainted. It can scarcely be excelled for beauty of effect. It thrives under the same treatment as the stove Arecas. It is scarcely so free in growth; and when its tender fronds are opening from the centre of the plant it requires partial shade, and at all times an abundant supply of moisture. D. plumosus resembles the subject of our figure, and it, as well as the following, are excellent decorative plants: D. oblongus, D. draco, D. Jenkonsianis. From the vigorous roots that Palms make, and the way in which they coil themselves in the pot, they can be easily turned out of their pots for an occasion without suffering, but they can be kept healthy for a long time in small pots if well supplied with water.