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.
IN the latitude of New York it is not safe to trust very tender plants out-of-doors after the third week in this month, for we frequently get a sharp frost tor a night or two about that time, and if the thermometer does not fall to freezing, there are usually a few nights cold enough to give hot-house plants a severe cheek; and although it does not continue cold but one or two nights, mischief may be done which cannot be easily repaired; for example, two years ago several growers had their Bouvardias caught by frost about that time, and although the plants were not killed, it spoiled the flowering. Some situations are more liable to early and late frost than others, and the necessary precautions must be taken in time to prevent damage. Such plants as Camellias and Azaleas with other hardy plants will do best outside until the end of the month, as it will give a longer season for the summer occupants of the house, for, by that time the beauty of many of the temporary plants will be past.
Poinsettias and Euphorbia Jacqui-niflora should be the first plants to place inside. These plants suffer easily from either low temperature or heavy soaking of rain, by making the leaves yellow; these fall off prematurely and the flowers are not so fine.
Bouvardias should be lifted from the open ground and either potted or planted in a warm part of the greenhouse; if the ground is very dry the plants should have a good soaking of water previous to lifting, but it is usually possible with a small number of plants to use the opportunity of a shower of rain for taking up these sorts of plants.
Carnations are best taken up before the end of the month, for although these plants are not tender, if they are expected to flower satisfactory, it is necessary to have them well established in winter quarters early in the eason, and we then can give abundance of air day and night until very cold weather commences; if these plants are grown in large quantities, it is best to plant them on the benches of the greenhouse, but the small number usually grown by amateurs, is most conveniently grown in seven or eight-inch pots; a good loam mixed with rotten manure is best for these plants. The soil in the neighborhood of Flatbush is specially good for carnation growing.
Tender Moses in pots intended to flower during winter should be placed in a frame; if necessary to give them larger pots it should be done at once, to obtain plenty of roots before winter, or they will not flower satisfactory. We find a good strong plant of Marshal Niel and one of Lamarque trained on roofs, give a large quantity of flowers during the winter and spring with a few at all times during the summer; with little attention we have generally flowers to cut at all seasons, but the largest number about Easter, when flowers are most in request.
Calla Lilies which have been at rest during the summer, should now be shaken entirely out of old soil and all offsets removed and potted into same sizes of pots again. We find seven and eight-inch pots the most useful sizes for these plants. They do best in a good strong loam with a portion of rotten manure, and should be potted very firm with the soil just covering the crown of plant, for the principal feeding roots are formed round the crown. After potting we stand the pots outside in full sun, and give water enough to keep the soil just moist, and remove to greenhouse on first risk of frost. Our plants commence to flower in November, and continue to bloom until they are removed outside in May, and are indispensable for church decoration.
Crassula Lactea must not be over-watered at this season, or the growth will be soft and few flowers obtained. Give the plant full sun and plenty of air.
Epiphyllums and Cactus generally will require less water at this season, but do not keep the plants dry enough to shrivel. The more sun and light these plants obtain, the better they flower. There appears to be a growing taste for these curious plants; this is not surprising, for many of them are very handsome, and the plants will bear more neglect than many others without suffering; in feet, neglect in giving water does less harm then giving too much, for in overwatering the roots often perish.