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.
Of all the winter and spring-flowering plants, the Cineraria deserves to be placed in the foremost rank, whether we consider it as the adopted inhabitant of the conservatory of the wealthy citizen, or the more humble companion of the Scarlet Geranium, which is so often to be seen in the cottage window of the hard-working artizan. For bouquets it is unrivalled, the colors being so varied, which, when nicely arranged, make such handsome ornaments for the parlor table or boudoir that they suit all tastes, that even the most fastidious of Eve's fair daughters can scarce fail to recognize in them a "hobby" far superior to pet cats and poodle dogs, and certainly requiring lees care and giving less trouble. We have them in every shade of color from white to dark blue and from white to crimson. Then there are white with crimson, and others with blue tips, in every shade. And when we take into consideration the showy character of a few well-grown plants, with the little room they take, and the simplicity of their culture, it is rather surprising that they are not more generally grown and to be met with in every green-house, however small, as they certainly deserve to be; then the first outlay being so trifling that a small packet of seed is all that is required for any person, with a little care and attention, to have them in bloom from November till May. Dame Nature is always lavish of her gifts to her votaries, whether they be a Duke of Devonshire or the no less enthusiastic mechanic who prides himself on the few plants in his cottage window.
The pleasurable feeling enjoyed by the lovers of Nature, felt by none else, in watching daily the expanding buds of the plants that they themselves have raised with their own hands, makes this a plant well calculated for the fostering care of the lady gardeners of this country, who could thus watch Nature in its onward progress - in its various changes - from the tiny seedling to the full-grown blooming plant, with the pride every lover of plants (and ladies in particular) would feel in showing their friends native seedlings raised and named by themselves in honor of some favorite hero or in memory of some dear friend, and equal to any ever raised in any country. These considerations collectively make this a plant that should be grown by everybody, - in fact, a plant for "the million".
The seed should be sown, one portion the second week in June, and the other the first week in July, in wide-mouthed pots or pans, well drained, in good light soil - two parts leaf-mold, one part good turfy loam, and one part good sharp sand. Fill the pots to within half an inch of the top with the compost, sow the seed evenly all over, and barely cover the seed with the same compost; then give a gentle watering to settle the whole, and place the pots in a frame on the north side of a wall or fence, and by frequent sprinklings of water in the middle of the day they will be fit to pot off in the course of three weeks or a month. Half-pint pots should be used for the first potting, putting four plants in each pot.
As soon as you have potted as many as you require, place them in the frame again, and by paying a little attention to watering and ventilating to prevent them from drawing up weak, they will be large enough to pot singly in another three weeks. You must then use a compost of three parts good turfy loam, two parts leaf-mold, one part good decomposed manure, and one part good sharp sand, the whole well mixed with the spade, but not sifted. Half-pint pots will be large enough for this potting. As soon as potted, place them in a frame in a more open part of the garden, where they will get the morning and evening sun, shading them when very hot Frequent watering overhead is necessary to check the Red Spider, and smoking with tobacco to keep down the Green Fly, both of which are deadly enemies of the Cineraria. They should be frequently repotted as they progress, as nothing gives them a greater check than to be pot-bound. They require a liberal supply of water, using weak manure water once a week.
When they begin showing flower early in October, remove them to the front platform of the green-house, and in November they will commence flowering, and continue till the middle of May.