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.
For purposes of general out-door decoration, or for planting round or near fountains or other ornamental water, the Humea Elegans stands unrivalled.. Its gracefully drooping tresses of silky brownish-orange colored flowers, which glitter in the sun when moved by the breeze, give it a charm beyond description. It is not, therefore, to be wondered at that it should find favor with the many, or that inquiry should be made as to the best mode of growing it.
Although introduced from New South Wales nearly sixty years ago, it is only of late that this fine biennial has been employed to any great extent for out-door decoration. Whether, however, as forming a background to long flower borders, as a single specimen let into the lawn, or occupying the centre of a bed or vase, it is most charming; and not one of the least of its qualifications is that it may be had in beauty from May till November.
In the month of June, sow the seed in a pan of light soil, and place it in a warm frame until the plants are in rough leaf; then remove them to a cool frame where they can have plenty of air, and slight shading during hot sunshine for a fortnight, when they will be ready to pot off singly into thumb pots, using light rich soil, and plunging the pots to the rim in sand or sawdust, in a cool frame. Keep them close and shaded until sufficiently established, when they may be gradually exposed to sun and air; after that they will only require to be covered with a sash during cold or wet weather. Shift into larger pots throughout the autumn and following spring, as they require it, taking care never to let them become pot-bound, as their beauty is much lessened by being in any way stinted, either in pot room, moisture, or richness of soil. By means of liberal treatment, they will retain their foliage in a healthy green state until finally destroyed by frost. During winter, a low temperature, plenty of air, and being kept near the glass, suits those intended for planting out better than heat and a close atmosphere.
Give plenty of water before turning, them out of the pots., and also for a week or two after planting, until they are fairly established in the soil, which should be turfy loam mixed will well-decayed manure or leaf soil.
When kept under glass to flower in pots for in-door decoration, they are no half so beautiful as when exposed to the open air; their color in doors being a kind of greenish-pink, gives the plants a sickly appearance. Slightly fumigating them during the spring months, will keep them free from insects, which are apt to infest them, especially the under sides of their leaves. - M., in Gardeners' Chronicle.