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.
Habrothamnus is a very beautiful greenhouse evergreen shrub, belonging to the natural order Solanaceae. It is a plant of free, vigorous growth, with liberal cultivation attaining a height of from five to six feet, having deternate ovate acuminate dark green leaves, and produces its deep rich crimson flowers in terminal panicles at the termination of the branches and branchlets. It flowers in the greatest profusion during the late winter and spring months, but if liberally treated and given a favorable situation will flower more or less throughout the year. It is a native of Mexico, where it is found growing on the mountain sides and is generally considered as one of the gayest productions of that country, from which it was introduced into Belgium in 1839, by M. Van Houtte. Mr. Hartweg, its fortunate discoverer, describes it as being one of the gayest plants of the Mexican flora, producing its flowers in such quantities as to give the branches the appearance of a crimson wreath.
The Habrothamnus is a plant easily cultivated, doing best in a compost of two-thirds well decayed sods and one-third well decomposed stable manure. Be careful to drain the pots well; this is a most essential point in the cultivation of this plant. In the winter season it should be given a light sunny situation and an average temperature of 500. Water should be given as often as necessary, and the plants syringed occasionally. A weekly application of liquid manure will be found beneficial when the pots are filled with roots. The plants can be placed in the open air about the middle of May, planting them in a rich deep border in a sunny situation; water if necessary during the summer, and take up and re-pot carefully early in September. In potting do not use too large a sized pot, yet if large specimens are desired liberal root room must be given.
Propagation is effected by cuttings, and if the young plants are liberally treated fine flowering specimens will soon be obtained. If it should be necessary to cut the plants back or into shape, do so when planting them out in May. The generic name is derived from "habros," gay, and "tham-nos," a branch,in allusion to the splendid inflorescence of its flowering branches, and the specific, in allusion to the manner in which its splendid flowers are produced. Queens, N. Y.