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.
" What is the reason that my plants do not grow so well as Mrs. Jones'? I am sure I take a great deal more pains with them, and water, and nurse, and air them, but all will not do; they are weak, slender, sickly, and some of my best plants have died - while Mrs. Jones seems to take very little care of her's, and yet they grow and bloom beautifully !"
This appeal to us for aid and advice, which has just been made, is not the first complaint of this kind of ill success The truth is, some plants are actually nursed to death. Care and attention bestowed on plants, which they do not need, are worse than no care at all. It is know, ing just what to do, and doing that, and no more, that gives some persons their success. - Or, as a late writer remarked, there are two great points to be attended to, 1. Not to let your plants suffer by neglect; and 2. not to make them suffer by interference. We would class the requisites for good treatment, as follows: -
1. Plenty of light.
2. A due supply of water. 8. Proper temperature.
Fresh air, cleanliness, and good soil, are obviously of importance, but are less likely to be neglected than the three first named wants, and we shall therefore add a few additional remarks under these heads.
Plants cannot by any possibility have too much of this. The stand should therefore face the window, and be placed as near to it as practicable ; and the window should be broad, as little obstructed in its light by outside trees as the nature of the case win admit. But rapidly growing plants require most light; hence such should be placed more directly in front of the window.
This must be given according to circumstances. A plant in nearly a dormant state, needs very little - those in rapidly growing condition require considerable. Too much water will make the latter grow slender, but they will bear a greater supply if in a strong light. It must be remembered aa a standing rule, that dormant plants may remain comparalively in the dark, and with little water; and growing ones should have a good supply of wa ter and a full snpplyof light. But it must not be forgotten that green-house plants generally are nearly dormant during winter, and the soil must therefore be kept but moderately moist, as the plants in this condition do not pump any moisture from the soil, and little escapes directly by evaporation. Drainage, by filling one-flfth of each pot with charcoal, is of importance.