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.
This flower, in its present improved condition, is indispensable in every collection of greenhouse plants. Its season of flowering, which is the winter and early spring months, when there is a great scarcity of flowers and flowering plants, adds greatly to its value. Beside, it is very easily grown and managed, and easily hybridized, and therefore it recommends itself to amateurs who desire to stock their houses with such plants as do not require very great skill to treat them successfully. Turner's Florist for May gives a plate of four very beautiful new sorts, and accompanies it with the following article, which we transfer to our pages:
"We have this month given an illustration of four beautiful new varieties of this spring-flowering plant, and we feel assured they will become popular favorites, Mrs. Trulove is a striking and distinct flower; color, pure white ground, heavily tipped with dense crimson-purple, with dark purple disk. It was raised by Mr. Ivery, Nurseryman, Peckham. Optima and Lady Mary Labouchere were both raised by Mr. BOUSIE, gardener to the Right Hon. Henry Labouchere, Stoke Park, near Windsor. The former is a large, well-formed flower, clear white ground, with a medium belting.
"Where is there a plant, during the autumn, winter, and early spring months, so gay and beautiful as the Cineraria; or which is so useful for exhibition or decorative purposes, or for the embellishment of the flower-vase or boquet! By artificial light, the colors of some of the rose, crimson, and purple varieties are extremely brilliant; while the white varieties, mingled with the preceding colors, are matchless. Add to this, that many of the kinds are deliciously fragrant, and you have nearly all the qualities which constitute a good flower. In treating of the Cineraria as a plant for exhibition, or of its value for decorative purposes (and, in the early part of the season, the plants make a fine display), we can not refrain from stating that their cultivation should be much improved, and indeed must be before they will assume their wonted standing upon our exhibition tables. But a few years back Cinerarias were but a lot of poor, starry things, with narrow, flimsy petals, and flowers supported by tall, unsightly stems; but now, thanks to the desire for improvement, the best varieties are dwarf and compact, and, when properly grown, produce perfect trusses of stout, and, in some cases, of almost perfectly-formed flowers.
"When high cultivation is aimed at, peculiar treatment (which we shall presently describe) is required to produce stout, healthy cuttings, as from such the Cineraria can only be properly grown. As the plant is now in bloom, and. seedlings will be required, a few of the most esteemed varieties should be selected for that purpose, bearing in mind that those chosen must be of the best possible form, clear colors and marking, as much depends on this in producing new and first rate varieties. When this is done, some secluded place in the garden should be selected, to keep them entirely apart from any inferior varieties, from which the bees would fertilize them, and produce muddy, unsightly flowers, instead of clear and well-defined colors. When the seeds are ripe, sow immediately in some shady place; and as soon as large enough, prick off thinly into pans or wide pots, and keep close for a few days, until, they are properly established, when they may be removed to the open air until large; enough to place in single pots. Should large plants be required, they should be stopped when about two or three inches high. As soon as the seeds are gathered, the old plants should be cut down, or partly so, as in many instances the crowns of the plants rot if cut too close to the surface.
Now that they are cut down, remove them to some shady place (a north border being preferable), until they throw up young shoots, when they should be potted into larger pots, in a light compost, or planted out in the open ground in a light soil, where they will give strong cuttings, • and from these only can good specimens be obtained. When they have grown about an inch or two, remove the cuttings, and place them in a compost prepared for the in a growing and healthy condition, to which end they should he shifted every few weeks, until they receive their final potting, which should he about January. Every care should be taken that they do not get pot-bound in the small pots, as that will throw them into a blooming state immediately.
"The compost we would recommend for exhibition purposes, and for large plants generally, would be two parts of good turfy loam, and equal parts of well-decomposed cow dung and leaf mold, with an admixture of silver, or river sand. As the plants grow, take care to thin out all superfluous leaves, so as to admit the air freely and prevent mildew, which is a great pest, and which can only be removed by applying sulphur to the parts affected.
"The Cineraria should only be stopped once, as the second operation tends to produce weak growth. As soon as the shoots are long enough, tie out wide, keeping the outer branches as low as possible, and place them close to the glass, which will insure dwarf and compact plants, such as are represented in the accompanying illustration. We had nearly forgotten the drainage, which should be of rough leaf mold and potsherds mixed, which will keep the roots in a white and healthy state. Fumigate occasionally, to prevent the green fly; and water very sparingly through the winter months, increasing it as the spring advances, when weak liquid manure may occasionally be given.
"For the guidance of the amateur and those interested in the cultivation of this charming plant, we append a descriptive list of the best and most useful varieties yet sent out.
Astnodeus (Turner), bluish-purple self, fine habit Chartes Dickens (Henderson), purplish puce, fine habit, very dwarf Estelle (Henderson), white, light purple edge, dark disc, wery large. Electra (Ivery), violet, yellowish-white disc, free dwarf habit Formosa (Hendenson), dark violet self; light disc, very profuse. Kate Kearney (Hendemon), large white self, strong grower.
Lady Camoys (Sutton), white, blue edge, dwarf; and free. Lady Hume Campbell (Henderson), clear white, with shaded blue margin. Lord Stamford (Henderson), white, azure-blue edge. Loveliness (Henderson), bright rosy lake, fine habit. Mr. Sidney Herbert (Henderson), fine large violet-purple self. Mrs. Sidney Herbert (Henderson), white, rosy-carmine edge, fine habit Mrs. Charles Kean (Henderson), rosy-lilac, with a ring of white around the disc. Mrs. Beecher Stowe (Lochner), white, purple edge and disk, large trusses. Novelty (Henderson), azure-blue, with light disc. Orlando (Ivery), bluish-purple, with a ring of white around the disc. Picturat\a (Henderson), white, rosy-violet edge, good form and habit Prima Donna (Henderson), blue self, dwarf, good form. Prince Arthur (Henderson), scarlet-crimson self, very fine.
Rosalind (Henderson), in the way of Lady Hume Campbell, with a pink tinge in the margin. Rosy Morn (Henderson), white, broad rosy-crimson edge, large, and free. Scottish Chieftain (Sievewright), white, deep violet edge, fine. Teddington (Ivery), light purple self, dwarf and free.'