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.
The Balsam, or Lady's Slipper, as it is sometimes called, is well known, occupying a place in almost every garden. It is a native of the East Indies, China, and Japan. It has succulent stems, and beautiful showy flowers. Too much of the seed sold in our seed stores is carelessly saved from improperly grown plants, and the result to the planter is poor single flowers, and sore disappointment The flowers to be considered good should be large, round, and double. The plant should branch down to the surface of the ground, the flowers completely encircling the stem on all sides. Last season we obtained seed from Vil-iiorin, of Paris, and we were not only satisfied but delighted with the result Mons. V. has a variety which he names the Camellia Balsam, exceedingly double and fine in every respect It is from one of these our engraving is taken (fig. 1). Much, however, depends on cultivation.
The Balsam requires a deep, rich, warm soil. Seed may be planted in this latitude about the 1st of May in the open ground; but to secure early flowers, it is better to plant in a hot-bed of moderate heat, or in a cold frame, merely making a box, and covering with glass. Seed in this way may be planted about the 1st of April, and by the 1st of May will be ready to transplant into the open ground.