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 dark green, glossy foliage and glorious flowers of these plants commands the admiration of all. They are more easily cultivated than is generally supposed. They should be potted in a soil composed of two parts sandy loam, one part peat, with a little leaf mould added. They should be syringed three or four times a week, except when in flower, and kept in a close, moist, place while growing. Water sparingly if plant is strong and robust, to cause a better bud setting. When this is done be careful not to allow them to become too dry. The plant flowers freely in temperature of fifty deg., in a moist atmosphere.
Azalias delight in a soil of two parts peat, one part loam, and considerable sand. In well drained soil, and not allowed to become too dry, they thrive in almost any situation, although preferring partial shade. Exposure to sun is better than too much shade. In summer months they must be plunged to the rim of the pots in the ground. No hard wooded plant requires so much watering as this.
Acacias are Australian plants of many varieties, with snowy yellow flowers, blooming from January to April. They should have a soil of two parts loam and one part each of sand and peat, a low temperature and abundance of water when flowering.
The Pelargonium is often erroneously called the Lady Washington Geranium. No plant is more beautiful than a well grown Pelargonium loaded with flowers, and none needs more care. In almost every collection we find it in a worthless condition. To propagate them take cuttings as early as possible in June, and put them in six inch pots in a close frame. In about a month they will be rooted, when they are to be carefully repotted in three inch pots, replaced in frame, admitting air mornings and evenings after they begin to grow. The tops should be pinched off to induce side shoots. When pots are well filled with roots, repot in six inch pots, giving air night and day, but guarding against heavy rains. September 1st shift to eight inch pots, replace in frames for two weeks, and then give no water except when they show signs of suffering. House them at approach of frost, keeping near the glass, giving air freely and watering once a week. As the days begin to lengthen, give a little more water. By middle of March put in ten inch pots, give plenty of water, and after showing bloom, give liquid manure three times a week until buds show color. Two inches of drainage with a little moss is used in potting.
The soil is equal parts loam and leaf mould, with a little sand and well rotted cow manure.
Fuchsias should be brought from the cellar or pit about the middle of February, if an early bloom is desired. Use the knife freely and give a temperature of 45°. Water sparingly until leaf buds break, then repot in small pots; shifting into larger pots as they grow, continuing this until it is wished to have them flower. This plan gives strong, stocky plants. They can be shaped as desired by cutting. The soil should be sandy loam and leaf mould. Water and light should be given freely while flowering, avoiding too strong heat.
Colla Etkiopka, if to flower in winter months, should be exposed to full sun in June, sheltered from rain and without water. At the last of August remove from pots, shaking off old soil and removing all decayed matter and young shoots. Put them in rich soil, sandy loam and leaf mould, exposing to full sun in open air. Water freely until they are housed at approach of frost. In the house give them a sunny place near the glass. The pots should be well drained and the plants freely watered while growing. The least frost will kill them. With air, light, moisture and a temperature of 50° they will flower freely. The plant deserves to be in every collection.
Scarlet Geraniums are easily grown. They require a light, rich soil, of loam, leaf mould, or rotted manure and sand. They root readily without glass or bottom heat. Take cuttings in autumn, put into well drained six inch pots, filled with sand. Place them in a cold frame, where they will root in a month or five weeks, when they should be put in three inch pots and watered occasionally until housed. During the winter they need little watering and only a low temperature. In March shift them to five inch pots. They can easily be grown without a greenhouse. When frost nips the foliage, put them into as small pots as possible, and put in dry pit or a cellar free from frost, and leave them dry until spring, when they should be cut back to four or five eyes, and they will flower better for the winter's rest.