This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V26", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
The crenulate-leaved Ardisia, Ardisia crenulata, is a very handsome evergreen stove or warm greenhouse plant, growing from two to six feet in height, and belonging to the natural order Myrsin-aceae. It is a native of the West Indies, from whence it was introduced as early as 1809. It is a plant much esteemed for the beauty of its dark green lanceolate ovate crenate leaves and pale pinkish white colored star-like flowers, which are freely produced in terminal panicles early in the spring, and which are succeeded by small corallike, round, vermilion-red berries, that remain on the plant for a long time; indeed, if the plant is properly cared for, they will remain on the plant j until others are produced the following year, thus rendering it a very desirable and useful ornamental plant, suitable alike for the decoration of the greenhouse or window garden. The Ardisia is a plant easily cultivated, doing best in a compost of two-thirds well-rotted sods, one third well-decayed manure, with the addition of a little sharp sand; mix thoroughly, and use the compost rough. In potting, use porous or soft-baked pots, and let them be proportionate to the size of the plants. Be careful to drain them well, and give an average winter temperature of 550 and a light, sunny situation.
They should be given liquid manure-water once a week, and sponge the leaves off occasionally, to remove dust, dirt, etc., as well as to guard against insect pests. They do best when planted out during the summer season in a deep, well-enriched border, in a partially-shaded situation, care being taken to keep them well supplied with water. They should be carefully taken up and potted early in September.
The plants are occasionally troubled by the scale and mealy bug. So, to guard against these pests, it is advisable to thoroughly sponge the leaves and stems several times during the year with clean water, in which a little whale oil soap has been dissolved.
Propagation is effected by seeds which should be sown as soon as possible after being gathered; but, as they have a hard covering, it often takes them a considerable time to vegetate; then again, they generally germinate unevenly, but if the soil is kept moist and a little care exercised, all will germinate after awhile. Sow the seed thinly in a well-drained pot or pan of light, loamy soil, and place it in a warm, moist situation, giving if possible a little bottom heat, and as soon as all the young plants are well up and strong enough to handle, pot off into three-inch pots. Keep them in as warm and moist a situation as possible, repot as often as necessary, and use every means to induce as rapid a growth as possible, until they attain the desired size. The plants, if well cared for, will fruit when a year old.
The generic name is derived from "Ardis," a spear head, in reference to the sharp pointed divisions of the flower; and the specific, in allusion to the finer indentations on the margins of the glossy, dark green leaves. Queens, N. Y.
[We cannot resist adding a word of praise of this plant. It is one of the best that we know of for rooms, and if a hundred thousand plants were in as many households, what an untold wealth of pleasure would not flow from them. - Ed. G. M].