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 Calceolaria, - its name comes from the Latin for shoe - the blossom resembles an ancient Roman slipper, - singularly beautiful with its heavy clusters of golden, crimson, maroon, or rose-colored flowers - sometimes plainly tinted, at others curiously mottled and flecked. It needs a sandy soil - garden earth and common sand in equal proportions ; should be kept rather warm, in an atmosphere of 60° to 65° by day, and 50° at night; and be sparingly watered. Give liquid manure once a week after the flower-buds start. Pot old plants in May, in the same manner as eupatoriums (see April No.), and keep them in a warm but shady place, out of doors, till September, with only water enough to prevent them from drooping. Before potting cut them in closely; and make new plants of those cuttings by rooting them in moist sand under a glass, in the sunshine; or plant the seed in a sunny and sheltered spot. In August pot them and tie carefully to a light trellis till they are two feet high, then trim off the most slender branches - in fact cut them in pretty close and let them stand alone. This is a delicate plant, but may be strengthened and hardened by this close trimming and a careful management of its supplies of heat and moisture.
It needs a good deal of air - does best when wide breathing space is allowed.
T. E. The seed may still be sown, but it would have been better, had you put it in a month ago or so.
This beautiful class of plants to much neglected. No one who has had the pleasure of seeing a good assortment would willingly be without them. They require a free, open soil, and no more water than will keep the soil regularly moist. Hybridize them to improve the varieties, and save the seed carefully as it ripens.
Bird of Paradise and Canariensis are the two best in cultivation, not only for effect, but for withstanding the various assaults to which calceolarias are subjected when planted out, especially drought. Some of our readers may remember an account we have somewhere given of an experiment with calceolarias. They were planted in a mixture of one half mellow loam and the other half thoroughly rotted manure. They grew luxuriantly and flowered superbly, and continued good till far into September. This was last year (1866), when there was a general failure of the plant, and many gardens were completely spoiled in respect of coloring by the loss of yellow. The following are also good: Aurea floribunda, dwarf and bright; Tom Thumb, gold yellow, very dwarf; Prince of Orange, brownish orange; Am-plexicaulis, tall and pale yellow. This last is of great value when skillfully used; if required to be dwarfed, it may be pegged down.