This section is from "The Horticulturist, And Journal Of Rural Art And Rural Taste", by P. Barry, A. J. Downing, J. Jay Smith, Peter B. Mead, F. W. Woodward, Henry T. Williams. Also available from Amazon: Horticulturist and Journal of Rural Art and Rural Taste.
Now, Mr. Editor, I have asked the same question of old florists and gardeners, and have received the same answer, in substance. No trouble in rooting the Carnation, they tell me. Just cut off the tops of the young shoots, and put them in the sand of the cutting bench, and a very large per cent of them strike root. I did so, and after they had remained there long enough, they turned yellow and died. At last I made the acquaintance of a gentleman who had retired from the florist's trade, and I asked him if he could tell me how to root the Carnation. Said he, I could show you better than I can tell you, had I a cutting. I brought him a cutting from the nearest greenhouse, and he proceeded as follows:
Be careful not to have the cutting too soft,' nor yet too hard; there is a medium between the two that is just right. Cut the stalk from an eighth to a quarter of an inch below the joint; then take hold of the leaves, one at a time, that are nearest the out, and pull them off - being careful, in doing so, that the bark is removed from the joint. If the leaf breaks, without removing the bark, take a sharp knife and peel it.
It is not necessary that both leaves shall be pulled of. If the cutting is small, it would be better to peel only one side.
After I received the above information, we put in 2,600 cuttings, and a large per cent of them rooted. The bark of the Carnation is impervious to moisture, and as the roots seldom start, except at the joints, it becomes necessary to remove the outside cutting/ Splitting the cutting through the joint has the same effect; also, out-ting the stalk diagonally through the joint. If the cutting is small, I think the best way is to peel one side; if large, either of the above will prove satisfactory.
Now this is all simple enough to the initiated; but such information as is given by Mr. Cochrane, is throwing darkness rather than light. If "Propagator "has tried the above methods, and failed, I think the failure due to the "peculiar combination in the elements in which his cuttings are placed."
Northboro, Mass. John F. Johnson.