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.
Those cultivators who have to grow large quantities of choice flowers either for the market or home decoration, should at once see about getting up a good stock of these valuable plants. They may be had in flower all the year round, and their delicately-perfumed blooms are much sought after, especially about this time of the year, for both "button-holes" and bouquets. They are admirable for mixing along with Orchids, Bouvardias, forced Rose-buds, and Lilacs, for all kinds of decorative purposes, and their successful culture is exceedingly simple. Some cultivators take cuttings and strike them in bottom-heat, say about 65°, about the latter end of February or March. An abundant supply of cuttings may readily be obtained by placing some of the old leggy plants in heat during the spring. The cuttings may be taken off and rooted in a close frame, care being taken to give a little air occasionally, to dry up superfluous moisture. Later in the season the plants may be set out of doors in a sunny sheltered position; and they should not be allowed to suffer for want of water. During the summer months, cuttings will root freely round the sides of the pots without any protection, but they must not be allowed to flag from lack of moisture.
After the cuttings are well rooted, they should be potted in small sixty pots in a compost of fresh turfy loam, leaf-mould, and coarse sand. It is well to drain the pots thoroughly, as I find tree Carnations soon turn yellow and sickly, becoming infested with insects, and subject to an attack of mildew if the compost gets sour and stagnant at their roots. When the latter pest appears, dust the foliage with powdered sulphur. Green-fly may be kept under by syringing occasionally with Fowler's Insecticide or tobacco-water. I have seen fine healthy blooming plants obtained by striking the cuttings early in the spring, and planting them out on a sheltered border in April: here they may be allowed to remain all the summer, keeping the soil stirred occasionally, and giving water when they require it in very dry weather. The growth should be secured to stakes to prevent damage from high winds.
These plants should be carefully lifted and potted in the above-named compost early in the autumn or before the nightly frosts appear, placing them in a little bottom-heat, and keeping the house or pit rather close until they become established, when they may be removed to a sunny position in the greenhouse to produce their flowers. The following list contains a dozen of the very best kinds in cultivation: -
La Belle, pure white perpetual.
Mont Blanc "
White Rival "
Boule de Feu, scarlet.
Prince of Orange, yellow edged with bright crimson. Oscar, yellow, fine flower.
F. W. B.