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.
A careful examination of plants showed that they fully occupied the pots; that is, if they were designed to grow any longer, new pots would be required. But they are not intended to grow. One full crop of flowers is all that is expected. The flowers fade and the plant is thrown away. This is entirely opposed to the bedding plant system, where a plant is bought for culture. These are for " furnishing " a decoration. When they have done that they are abandoned. This is certainly quite different from our method. Here it is understood that the plant will not outlast its one crop, and is so treated. The price admits of this. If one can buy six new plants, in the course of the summer, for the price of one that will last two months, the gain is in the favor of the transient and fading plants. For instance, a pot of mignonette can be bought for three pence. It is in full bloom, and will last three weeks. Another three-penny piece will get a new one. At the end of the season it is found the six plants have cost less than one cultivated all the time.
All of these plants are in small pots. The mignonette is sown in the pot it is to bloom in. When about an inch high, it is thinned to eight plants. These are grown slowly, in a moderate temperature, in frames. Each plant throws up one spike, and as soon as it shows signs of opening, is ready for sale. Lobelia and other small seedlings are treated in the same way. Roses, geraniums, stocks, etc., one in a pot. Very little repotting is done, I was told, and all the pelargoniums and some of the other plants are carefully trained out on sticks. The pots ranged from four to six inches. I saw many plants of verbenas and heliotrope, three in a pot, and showing a fine bloom. It is plain that all these plants are fit for this one purpose, window decoration, and nothing else.