This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V18", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
To have Tuberoses in at Christmas, and on New Year's Day, the following course is pursued in the United States, where Tuberoses are admirably grown: - By the 20th of August they are potted into 4-inch pots, containing a composition of two-thirds strong loam and one-third old rotten manure. They are then planted out of doors in a frame, as close as they will stand until the end of September, when the centre-table of a span-roof house is bored with a number of holes to let up the warm air from underneath, and the Tuberoses are planted out on this. It is necessary to have three or four hot-water pipes underneath the table, and the compost ought to come, if possible, from an old pasture. To every two barrows, one barrow of old hot-bed manure is added, the whole being well mixed together, and then placed upon the table to a depth of 5 inches, and well pressed down with the feet to give solidity. The Tuberose does best on a heavy rich soil. The bulbs are then turned out of the pots, and planted in rows 6 inches apart, and 6 inches from plant to plant, and thoroughly watered with the hose. The plants are well syringed, and, on the first appearance of frost, a moderate night temperature of, say, 60° should be" maintained.
By the 6th of November, the plants will be well established, when the night temperature may be increased to 70°, and abundance of moisture used, the path of the house being flooded at night. Sulphur, worked into the consistency of thick paint, is put on one of the hot-water pipes, as a preventive against red spider, the great enemy of the Tuberose. If the plants have been managed properly, they will commence to flower by the middle of December. At Christmas, they command from £1 to £1 12s. per hundred florets, each plant or bulb producing from thirty to forty florets at these prices. The following practice is usually adopted, and is, I think, the most practicable for the spring crop: - A hot-bed, or better still, a pit, is prepared in a similar way to those for Melon and Cucumber growing in England. As soon as the rank steam is off, 3 inches of coal ashes are put on, and the bulbs potted as previously directed, selecting those that are thick at the neck. Some think a very large bulb is best; but I think those of medium size are preferable. First-class bulbs sell at £10 per thousand; those of second quality, £7 per thousand. The pots are plunged to the rim in the bed, and there is no danger of their rotting from the heat, which they will bear well.
Linings are added as soon as the surface heat declines, the night temperature being kept at 60° and the pit covered up well at night, mats and shutters being used; in a month or five weeks, they will have their pots well filled with roots, have dense foliage, and they are then ready' for the house. The first crops by this time are gone. Having planted out as before recommended, plenty of water must, as the spring advances, be given to the plants in the bed. Morning and evening a syringing must be given with the hose to prevent red spider. Should the plants come near the glass, they must be tied clown. Thus treated, they will in part commence to flower by the end of April. The florets sell from 12s. to 16s. per hundred, and, by June 1st, they are down to 8s. per hundred. Even at these prices I have known £200 made of the plants grown on the centre table of one house, the table measuring 88 feet long by 6 feet wide.- John Howatt, in Garden.