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.
As the days lengthen, and the sun increases in power, the utmost vigilance will be necessary in this department. Most of the winter flowering plants will have commenced growth. Camellias and Azaleas that have bloomed should now be repotted if they require it. Use plenty of porous matters in the soil, especially for the latter. To have these plants in flower early next winter, forcing must be commenced now; encourage an early growth, that the wood may be matured, and flower-buds formed early in' summer. Epacrises should be pruned down after flowering; they are easily managed and beautiful flowering plants. The same may be said of Heaths. All New Holland plants - such as boronias, hoveas, correas, polygalas, acacias, beaufortias, chorozemas, daviesias, croweas, dillwynias, diosmas, prostrantheras, pimelias, eutaxias, aphelexes, helichrysums, erioste-mons, and leschenaultias, require the same general treatment. They should be repotted this month, that they may have a good supply of roots before next winter; when growing, they like a moist temperature, frequent syringing, and to be kept rather dose than otherwise.
All newly potted plants should be sparingly watered, they will require less than before the operation, because the additional soil will longer retain moisture.
Leschenaultia formosa is frequently in collections, but generally sickly. It requires a warm, moist, close atmosphere while growing, and constant attention to picking off flower-buds when young. It needs a light fibry soil, and the drainage must be thorough.
Calceolarias, geraniums, and cinnerarias should have their flower-stems secured to stakes, these supports should be kept as much concealed as possible; they cannot be dispensed with under present modes of culture, but it is a mistake to suppose that their tasteful arrangement is more meritorious than keeping a plant in good health.
Chinese primroses are indispensable winter flowers; select a few of the best for seeding, and pinch out all the flowers for the present, that they may bloom stronger when wanted.
Clerodendrons and fuchsias may now be brought out of their winter quarters, prune closely, and shake away all the soil from their roots, repot in small-sized pots, and water sparingly until they root afresh. Of course, this does not apply to young fuchsias which have been kept growing all winter; these should be repotted as they require it, and trained into a pyramidal form by frequent pinchings of the points; some varieties assume a pretty form without this assistance.
Ixoras, stephanotis, eschynanthus, ardisia, begonias, pleromas, marantas, justioias, centra-denias, francisceas, euphorbias, clerodendrons, cyrtooeras, and many others, usually termed hothouse plants, succeed as well, and, in many oases, much better under greenhouse treatment. Even orchids, so much dreaded by amateurs, have been produced in the best perfection without a stove heat. They are easier to manage than hard-wooded greenhouse plants. It is worthy of remark that, in proportion as the cultivator becomes conversant with the physiology of vegetation, he becomes more liberal in his views; less particular about keeping up a certain temperature at all hours; not so fastidious about mixing homoeopathical portions of soils and manures; in short, he studies Nature more, and systems less.
Achemenes tubers should now be planted; place them near the surface of the soil, and in the warmest part of the house. Gesnera aebrina, than which there is not a more beautiful plant, should be similarly treated. Gloxinia tubers, planted in small-sized pots, barely admitting the roots, and seed sown for plants to flower in autumn. Orange and lemon-trees, that have been kept dry and dormant all winter, may now be repotted; do not give them much water at the root, but wash the leaves and bark, and syringe them often to encourage shoots from the old stems; they are generally unhealthy, leggy, unsightly looking objects, although easily kept in beautiful condition. Pysidium cattleyanum (the guava) is not so plentiful as it should be; it is a beautiful evergreen, fruit-bearing, greenhouse plant.
Very little artificial heat will now be requisite; be cautious in giving air in cold windy weather; rather allow the temperature to rise to 85 or 90 degrees during the heat of the day. Use the syringe freely in the early portion of the day over every part of the house, and on plants not in flower, and have no fear of the sun burning the leaves while the latter are wet. Burning proceeds from bad glass, combined with aridity in the atmosphere. Pick off all dead and decaying leaves, or withered flowers, and arrange the plants in groups, keeping those in flower on the lower shelves, with irregular masses of varied foliaged plants for a background. Nothing can be more monotonous than an even surface of plants, all seen at the first glance. It requires as much taste to arrange a greenhouse as to plant a lawn.