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.
Flowering from Christmas to June, and forming handsome specimens for decorative purposes at a comparatively small expense, both as regards attention and accommodation, and also furnishing a profusion of finely-shaped many-colored flowers for boquets (which the Cineraria does), it well deserves to be, as it is, one of the most popular flowers of the day. It is of easy culture, and in most cases is well managed; but, nevertheless, in some instances (where ample means exist, and also doubtless a desire to produce respectable specimens) it exhibits effects of the worst possible treatment The following hints may enable such growers to produce creditable examples of this extremely useful plant The ordinary method of propagating the Cineraria is by root suckers, which are produced abundantly by plants after blooming, when placed in a shady situation and properly attended to with water. The old plants should be broken up as early in August as suckers can be had strong enough; the latter should be potted singly in 4-inch pots, and placed in a shady part of a cold frame till well established, which will be is less than a fortnight The plants should then be placed near the glass, and receive abundance of air, with a view to secure "stocky" growth, During autumn, and until severe weather occurs, a cold frame will form the most suitable situation for promoting rapid growth; but some attention will be necessary not to wet the foliage any more than can be helped, and also to avoid cold currents of air, which turn the leaves foxy, and greatly injure the plants.
At the same time, however, admit sufficient air to prevent weakly growth. Water should be applied early in the day when necessary, giving a good soaking, and air admitted on the sheltered side of the frame, to dry the atmosphere and foliage. During autumn and winter, the Cineraria is somewhat liable to mildew, especially some varieties; keep, therefore, a sharp out-look for this enemy, and apply sulphur the moment it appears to the parts affected. Mildew is greatly encouraged by a confined over-moist atmosphere, which is also very congenial to aphides, which will be sure to maks their appearance under such circumstances. As soon as they are perceived, apply tobacco smoke, but if the plants are kept in good health, neither evil will be very troublesome. As soon as frost is likely to occur the glass should be protected every night with straw screens, or some efficient covering; for remember the Cineraria will not stand much frost, and neglect in covering may do irreparable damage, With respect to potting, the plants should be allowed plenty of root room, until near their period of flowering, and they ought never to be pot-bound during the growing season. liberal shifts may be given to healthy thriving plants, but weak varieties should not be over-potted. Specimens may have 10-inch pots at the second shift, which will be sufficiently large for the winter, and in March they may be moved into 12 or 15-inch pots, according to the sized specimens desired.
The plants should be removed to the front of the greenhouse, or to some light airy situation, where they will be secure from frost and damp. As before stated, keep them free from insects and mildew, and remove any decaying leaves as they appear. When the flower stems begin to elongate, they should be pegged or tied out, so as to keep the specimens open for the admission of light and air, and manure water will be highly beneficial at this stage. When the plants are in flower they should occupy an airy place, where they will receive abundance of light without alter the tun becomes powerful in spring. Those blooming in winter like full exposure to the little sunshine and light which can then be afforded them. Where specimens are wished to flower in winter, cuttings should be selected about April, planted in light sandy soil, placed in a temperature of about 65°, and grown as freely as possible during the summer and autumn, and allowed to become pot-bound towards November, when, if placed in a temperature of about 50°, they will be found to flower freely, and will be exceedingly useful for furnishing cut flowers. Seeds sown in April produce useful plants for winter flowering, as they grow more rigorously during the summer.
When the beauty of the specimens is over, remove the flower stems, unless seed is wanted, and then only a few spikes need be left. Place the plants in a shady situation and keep them clear of insects and properly supplied with water until a supply of suckers is obtained, when the old plants may be thrown away. Good fresh turfy loam, in the proportion of two parts to one of two-years-old cowdong, well intermixed with a quantity of clean, sharp sand, according to the nature of the loam, to insure eflicient drainage, forms an excellent compofft for the Cineraria. For small plants leaf-soil or sandy peat may be substituted for the cowdung. - A., in Gardeners' Chronicle.
These are beautiful winter plants for a green-house, and may be made much more ornamental if they are grown in large pots, and the flower stems of those that are slight enough to admit of it, are gradually pulled and pegged down to the surface of the pot. In that way, we have seen complete domes of bloom not six inches high, but from eighteen to twenty-four inches across. This is the time to begin them.