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.
In many gardens this precious species of the Rubiaceae is treated as a stove plant exclusively. The result of it, however, in most instances, is not satisfactory; the blossoms appear but scanty, and as it is subject in a great measure to those various insects - general nuisances of hot-houses - the gardener soon abandons the idea of cultivating it, having no time to attend to the regular cleaning of it. Though a native of the East Indies, the Lucullia gratissima does not require the same high degree of heat as other tropical plants, and I have generally cultivated in a temperature of from three to six degrees Reaumur, amongst Camelias and New Holland plants; the result of this treatment is quite different. Its beautiful bright rosy blossoms, however, a little later are perfect, and the plant is not molested with its destructive enemy, the black fly. The month of April, the time when its dormant state is over and its growth commences, is the proper season for repotting. It likes a rich soil, and thrives best in a mixture of one-third old rotten cow dung, one-third peat, and one-third loam, with a proportional addition of river sand. A good drainage is a great matter, and the pots should be filled one-fourth with crocks and peat crumbs.
After repotting, the plant should be placed as near as possible to the light. Another important matter is the pruning. The proper time for that operation is soon after the repotting, when the plant shows signs of the young roots having spread. The pruning done at an improper time, for instance immediately after the blooming, or perhaps at the time of the repotting, proves generally fatal. The middle of June is about the time when it should be taken into the open air; however, this depends on the season. There forced to gather new strength, it is necessary to apply a gentle bottom-head, and as soon as sufficiently accustomed to the open air, mild rains and sun may have free access. In hot weather it is advisable to syringe in the morning and evening. As soon as nature obliges us to bring our tender wards back to their winter quarters, it should be made a point to give the Lncullia gratissima a place as free as possible, and near to the light, in a house similar to the one recommended above. In a short time after, the blossoms will make their appearance, and special care should be taken never to let nourishment be wanting.
Not seldom will it be observed that the blossoms wither and drop off before opening, but a careful examination will show that it always is the consequence of some want of either light or nourishment. After it is done flowering the plant requires rest for some time, and should be supplied but very seldom with water until April, when the culture as above described should be recommenced. Its propagation is easy by cuttings of half ripened wood under hand bells. It is altogether a plant that well deserves a place in our affections, its culture being easy, and its beautiful fragrant flowers for weeks a precious ornament to our green-houses at a season when flowers are generally scarce.