This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V24", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
"B." says: "Can you or some of your readers inform me what treatment is required to make Ageratums bloom freely? I have three fine varieties, Blanche, Lady Jane and John Douglas, and they grow very vigor©usly but produce very few flowers. How long does it take seedling Geraniums to flower? I have some twenty which I raised from seed last winter, and most of them are over one foot in height but only one shows any signs of flowering".
In the February number of the Gardener's Monthly, page 47, "B." asks, "How long does it take seedling Geraniums to flower?"
For several years I have grown them from seed thus: In the spring I group closely in a bed many of the best varieties in foliage, character, colors, double, semi-double and single of old plants. The seeds drop during the summer and fall, many taking root. These in October being from one to two inches high, showing two or three leaves, are taken up and potted in very small pots, using equal parts rich compost and sand. They are shaded for a few days, then placed close to the glass. In about six to eight weeks the pots are well filled with roots. The plants are re-potted in four inch crocks, using rich, coarse compost, with one fifth or sixth sand and plunged in a well-spent hot bed, not exceeding eight to ten inches below the glass; the tops are pinched back to make the plants symmetrical by May or June.
They being well grown and thoroughly "pot-bound," commence blooming, but not abundantly. As soon as they show the color and character of bloom, I take cuttings from choice plants and strike them. These make much finer blooms than the original plant. From this hybridization I get specimens of dwarf, medium and strong growing plants, foliage of various colors, from the plain leaf to very deep and distinct zoned bi and tri-colored. Those flowers that prove true to original plants, in many instances are larger and brighter, whilst in others they are smaller.
Have raised many plants with markings and inflorescence entirely distinct from any of the plants originally set out. One of last year's plants, a seedling of 1880, gives a large fine single bloom with pure white throat, centre of the petals dark rose, margined pure white. I have others of very interesting and distinct characteristics.
These experiments were made solely for pleasure and not for pecuniary profit. I have no plants to sell.