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 all the common purposes of plant cultivation, the Flower Pots in general use are all that can be desired; but there are many tribes and plants which do not thrive in our hands without difficulty; and others, again, which we desire to grow to greater perfection than usual, in which the structure of the pot is no mean question. The culture of the Heath, the Epacris, and other hard wooded plants, has so far not only baffled the majority of our cultivators, but also baffled them in this, that they can give no satisfactory explanation of the failure. They are supposed not to be able to endure the heats of our summers, yet the temperature of their places of natural growth often exceeds our own. Mr. Buist, in his valuable Catalogue of Select Greenhouse plants, just issued, says of the " Erica,'* " they delight in a very sandy, dark soil, and in an elevated northern climate, and to be protected from hot sans, and heavy rains." Such being our friend's experience, it is more than probable that the constant dryings and waterings which our hot suns entail on these delicate rooted plants, is one great cause of their failure; and equally probable that a peculiar form of flower pot would supply the defect Some years since, the English growers invented a pot with hollow sides, by which it could be filled with water when occasion required; but as we have heard nothing of it for some time past, it has probably been found in some respects objectionable.
Our friend Colonel D. S. Dewey, of Hartford, in a private letter, makes a suggestion which we think might be turned to good account in this connection. He says:
Dear Sir, - Judging from certain items in your monthly " Gossip," and also from sundry illustrations in the Horticulturist, passim - I have decided that ideas combining novelty and utility are always pleasing and interesting to yon. For this reason, I took the liberty of introducing to your notice, in December last, a description of my invention for postmarking letters, etc.; and now I propose to call your attention to another " crotchet" of mine, having reference to what I think may be an improvement in Flower Pots.
I propose to substitute any reasonable number of smaller holes, in place of the one hole in the bottom of each flower pot as now made. One object of this is, to insure more uniform drainage and aeration; and another is, to incline the rootlets or plants to a more natural and spreading growth.
I propose that flower pots for certain classes of plants should be made with a flange, of the same material, projecting a little from the outside edge of the bottom of the pot all around, and then turned up, say to half the height of the pot, and say an inch distant from it all the way; thus leaving the pot free, as to drainage, and port holes for roots, (through which to shoot,) but with a small reservoir of water in the deep saucer, the object of which is to supply the lower half, (more or less,) of the soil, etc, inside of the pot with moisture from the external surrounding of water; and, also, incidentally, to check evaporation, (which, by the way, is often of much more consequence than may be supposed by many.) In place of water in this lip, or saucer, wet moss, or some similar substance, may be placed for this last-mentioned purpose.
As a further illustration, place a flower pot six inches high, and with an average diameter of four inches, inside of another flower pot three inches high, and average diameter of six inches, and cement the bottoms closely together, making the drainage holes to correspond exactly.
Yours truly, D. S. Dewey.