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.
Caladiums should now be generally at rest; if any late plants are still growing, withhold water to induce them to die down as soon as possible; it is a mistake to allow these plants to continue growing late in the winter, the bulbs are subject to rot, and if not, they start weak the following year; the pots can be set away in a place where the temperature does not fall below sixty, but not to be roasted in a perfect dry place or the bulbs sometimes decay with dry rot. Gloxineas and Achimenes will be generally at rest, and should be treated the same as Caladiums. Winter blooming Fuchsias should have a light, warm part of the house, and be occasionally watered with manure water.
Callus will have pots well filled with roots and be growing freely, will require abundance of water; if green fly appears, either fumigate with tobacco or sponge them off with some weak tobacco water; a few of the most forward should be placed at the warmest part of the house for early flowering.
Poinsettias must have a good light place in the warmest part of the house, but well ventilated until the weather becomes cold. These plants will flower well in a temperature of 55 to 60, but if large bracts are desired, a temperature of 65 is required; the plants can be removed to a more moderate heat free from draughts when fully developed, they will then last in full beauty much longer; we obtain heads of bloom from twenty inches to two feet in diameter by this treatment. Euphorbia Jacquiniaeflora requires the same treatment.
Aphelandra Roezli is a charming winter flowering plant, and can be flowered satisfactory in three-inch pots - its brilliant spikes of orange-scarlet flowers are very ornamental. We have not yet flowered niteae, which is said to be the same color, but the beautiful dark varnished foliage is wonderfully fine, and quite different from anything we have before seen; this species is at present scarce and dear, but when better known will be very extensively grown.
Alocasiae must be kept in the hottest part of the house. It must be recollected that these plants are evergreen, with the exception of Jenningsii and if allowed to lose the foliage like Caladiums, the plants will be much weakened and probably die. These plants are wonderful, telling at all times when well grown the large metallic leaves in some, such as Metallica, Veitchii, Intermedia, Lowii and Sedenii; the last we consider the best; it is a vigorous grower an makes a specimen in a short time. The beautiful mottled leaf stalk of Zebrina, and the spotted and marble leaves of Macrorrhisa variegata is very beautiful, and usually attracts the attention of the most ignorant observer, for it seems so strange to see some leaves spotted with white, others half white and the other half green, and again, other leaves pure white. This plant is subject to red spider, and requires frequent sponging to keep it free.
Eucharis Amazonian must be kept in the warmest part of the house, and not allowed to suffer for want of water. It must be remembered that this plant is a native of the hot, moist valleys near the equator, where plants are in full growth all the year. We have no doubt that many people are under the impression that, because it is a bulb it is necessary to keep it dry and lose the foliage; this, and want of heat, is, no doubt, the reason so many people complain that it is difficult to flower. We have them in flower all the year round, from plants in three-inch pots up to large tubs.
Gesneriae of the Zebrina class must be kept warm and be well supplied with water; the foliage of these plants is beautiful, independent of the flowers, which are various shades of orange and scarlet, and very showy,
Azaleas and Camellias should be placed in a cool part of the house, with the exception of young azaleas which are best in a temperature of 55 to 60 if convenient; they make much better plants in a shorter time then when placed in a cold house; watering must be carefully attended to, for although less is required at this season than when plants are in full growth, the plants require careful attention, or some will become dust dry and much injured if not killed.
Ferns and L,ycopodiums when grown with other plants, will, at this season, when less shade is used, be liable to become dry quicker than in the summer, and must be frequently, examined, more especially those grown in baskets, for sudden checks from heat to cold and drying atmosphere, will often bring on a full crop of insects which will take much trouble to destroy.
It is not too late to propagate verbenas of any varieties which may be scarce, but plants rooted last month will be best, and furnish most cuttings in the spring. Keep these plants as cool as possible; a few degrees of frost will do less harm than a hot, dry house. It is well to give a fumigating with tobacco once a week, as a preventive of insects.
Heliotrope for cut flowers and early cuttings require a warmer place than verbenas, for if not kept rather dry, the plants are apt to die during winter.
Coleus, Alternantheras Collosiae also require a temperature not below 50; if placed in a cold, damp house many will die, and the cuttings in the spring will be poor and scarce.
Tube Roses required to flower during the winter, must be kept in the hottest part of the house, and not allowed to become dry at the bottom, or the buds shrivel up without opening. We mention this because the plants are often placed over the pipes and will become very dry at the bottom where all the roots are, while the surface is quite wet.
The White Lilac is sold by the million in Paris, and is, next to the violet, the most popular flower. It is simply the common variety of lilac forced into bloom into the dark, and the blossoms are blanched perfectly pure white, Care is taken to avoid even ventilation, for one grower in Paris found when that was resorted to the flowers exhibited a tendency to assume their natural color. The houses are first quite cool, then the heat is gradually increased up to 80° and 100°. Abundance of moisture is supplied in the meantime, and not a gleam of light allowed to penetrate the glasses which are kept covered with straw mats. '
Hydrangea acuminata - A beautiful shrub with this name has just been introduced in Paris, and figured in a colored frontispiece of the Revue Horticole. It is a very hardy, vigorous growing and handsome species. The umbel bears on its outer margin, a single row of large sterile flowers, the petals of which are of a fine rose color, and are cut or scolloped on the anterior edge. The centre of the umbel contains a great number of very small fertile flowers, the color of which is of a much deeper rose. This species thrives well in the open sunshine.