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Rare Flowers From Seed

RARE FLOWERS FROM SEED. 



part. "Man by selection," says Darwin, in the 
"Origin of Species," "can adapt organic beings 
to his own uses through tlie accumulation of slight 
but useful variations given to him by the hand of 
Nature." 

In the pregnant formulary of Science we perceive 
a great axiomatic principle of evolution, a self-evi- 
dent truth, which the stock breeder, the horticulturist, 
and even the lover of rare flowering plants cannot 
afford to ignore. All improvements in floral struc- 
tures, whatever be their nature, must be assigned to 
the operations of this fundamental natural law, and 
under its influence, in a measure, plants become plas- 
tic in the hands of man. To take advantage of 
every valuable variation, to improve by selection and 
careful breeding, to sift out the bad from the good, 
and to perpetuate that which is best, is the true 
province of the seedsman, and to this work he must 
bring broad experience, profound knowledge, sound 
judgment, and rare professional skill. If, therefore, 
we are to attain the greatest success in planting, we 
must have the purest types of seed, and these must 
have suitable conditions of soil and environment. 
Hence, if we wish to succeed with the rare flowers 
which are the subject of this little book, we must 
begin right. We must get fresh seed of the finest 
strain of the type to be grown, remembering that it 
is no more trouble to raise the finest strains of flowers 
than the poorer ones. 

The difference in first cost between the best and 
inferior strains is generally very slight, and is many 
times repaid by the increased size and greater beauty 
of the flowers. 

Having selected the best strains of the best varie- 



RARE FLOWERS FROM SEED. 5 

ties, next provide a suitable soil. To have the best 
results with these rare flowers the soil must be 
specially prepared to meet their requirements. 

Take one- third good friable loam, one- third leaf- 
mould, or the rich, dark surface earth from woods, 
— or if rotted peat from the swamp can be had it is 
better still,— and one-third sharp sand, all nearly 
dry, thoroughly mixed and. sifted. For sifting the 
soil an ordinary ash-sieve with about nine meshes to 
the square inch is just right. 

This admixture of earths is necessary to secure 
a light, porous soil that will easily drain off any 
surplus moisture, just retaining enough to be con- 
stantly damp, but neither wet nor dry. It must be 
loose and not liable to become packed or hard, that 
the fine, delicate roots may spread rapidly through 
the pot or box. By friable soil is meant a good loam, 
well stocked with decaying vegetable matter. Where 
a regularly built and frequently turned compost heap 
is not at hand, the best way to secure a suitable soil 
is to cut sods, three or four inches in thickness, from 
an old fence row or meadow where the grass is 
luxuriant. Turn the sods upside down and with a 
large knife or sharp spade shave off the under soil 
nearly to the surface ; this will be full of fine roots, 
which, if piled in a heap, will soon decay and furnish 
food for the young plants. The woods dirt, if no 
fibrous peat is at hand, can be found in any neighbor- 
ing woods, — in a damp hollow or ravine, where the 
trees stand closely together and the leaves lie thick- 
est, the best woods earth will be found. Scrape 
aside the leaves and gather the loose, decaying mixt- 
ture of leaf mould, fine roots, and soil, which is 
usually from one to several inches in depth. In the 



RARE FLOWERS FROM SEED. 



depths of old forests this accumulation of leaf mould 
is often a foot or more in depth. Pick out the larger 
roots and sticks and break up any lumps which will 
not go through the coal sieve. From the roadside 
or the banks of a stream gather a quantity of fme, 
clean, gritty sand. With these three ingredients, 
carefully and thoroughly mixed in equal parts, we 
have a soil suitable for use. 

For seed boxes we suggest 
small, empty boxes 
from twelve to 
fifteen inches 
long, such as 
may be had 
from the grocer. 
Saw them 
through the mid- 
>/ die lengthwise so 
that the bottom and 
top of each will 
form two shal- 
soLFERiNo ^{IjillWf ^ow boxes or flats with sides 
CINERARIA, f [1111/ about four inches in height. To 
ill secure good drainage, bore five 
or six holes in the bottom with a half-inch auger. 

Having secured the seed, soil, and seed boxes, we 
are now ready for the sowing. In this latitude (Phil- 
adelphia) the last of February or the first of March- 
that is, when the days begin to get warm, bright, 
and sunshiny — is the proper time for seed sowing. 
The directions will be given for the sitting-room 
windows, as but few flower growers have conser- 
vatories or greenhouses ; the general treatment is the 
same, though the atmosphere of the greenhouse is 




RARE FLOWERS FROM SEED. 



more favorable for rapid growth ; but with a little 
care these beautiful flowers can be started in the 
house, and when the warm summer days come may 
be grown on a stand under a large, leafy tree or on a 
cool and shady veranda. We have in mind a lady 
who lives near us, whose flower stand is brilliant 
every summer with these beautiful flowers, and 
whose sitting-room window in winter is always 
bright with many blooms of Chinese Primrose and 
kindred plants,— the room being heated with an 
ordinary coal stove. 

The seeds to be sown at this time are those 
wanted for summer blooming, such as Tuberous Be- 
gonias, Calceolarias, Gloxinias, Coleus, Achimenes, 
etc. Seeds of Chinese Primroses and Cinerarias 
for winter blooming should be sown the latter part 
of April ; the general culture is the same. Cover 
with pieces of broken pottery or small, flat stones the 
holes in the bottom of the seed boxes, which for 
convenience we will call by the florist's technical 
name of flats. This will permit the surplus water to 
pass off without washing out the soil. Fill the flat 
to a depth of two and a half inches with coarsely 
sifted prepared soil, jar the box to settle the earth 
evenly throughout, scrape level with a small piece of 
lath or flat stick, scatter the seed evenly and thinly 
over the surface, and give the soil a good sprinkling 
of water. The seed is so small that even a light 
covering is too deep for good germination. This we 
have repeatedly proved at Fordhook. 

Subsequent watering must be done at the right 
time and with great care, this being the most impor- 
tant point in the culture of this class of plants. Do 
not let the seed box get really dry, nor must you wet 



8 RARE FLOWERS FROM SEED. 

it very much at one time, little and often is the rule ; 
at first once in two or three days will be sufficient, 
but this must be increased as the weather becomes 
warmer, until the plants are well advanced, when 
twice a day on hot days is not too often. The water 
should be tepid or have the chill taken off; water 
which has stood for half an hour or more in the room 
where the plants are growing will be all right. It 
must be applied gently, so as not to wash the small 
seeds or plants out of the soil ; if a watering-pot is 
used it must have a much finer sprinkler than is ordi- 
narily in use ; if you have no such sprinkler, an old 
hairbrush or whisk may be dipped in the water and 
gently shaken over the surface of the soil. Do not 
water the seed box or very small plants with a cup, 
as it will wash the surface, making it too wet in 
places, and is also apt to cause a crust to form on the 
surface, which will retard germination. The temper- 
ature of the room where the seed box is placed should 
not go below sixty degrees at night and should be 
from seventy to seventy-five degrees on bright, sunny 
days. This is the main reason for waiting until the 
early spring days before sowing the seed. 

The seed flats should be in a bright, sunny win- 
dow, and as the air of a stove or furnace- heated 
room is apt to be dry, cover the flat with a pane or 
panes of glass, which should be an inch or more 
above the surface of the soil in a four-inch-deep seed 
flat. The glass retains the moisture and converts the 
flat into a miniature greenhouse. When heavy drops 
of water form on the under side of the glass the box 
is too wet; in such cases remove the glass for a 
little while and allow the soil to slightly dry. In the 
hottest part of very warm days cover the box with 



RARE FLOWERS FROM SEED. 



a single thickness of newspaper. Tliis will prevent 
too much drying, or the young plants from being 
burned by the hot sun. Remove the shade as soon 
as the hottest part of the day has passed, that the 
seedlings may have the benefit of the light. On dull 
days do not water, or if necessary water as little as 
possible until the sunshine comes again. Small, 
green moss starting to grow before the seed has 
started is a sure indication of too much moisture. 
After the plants have made three or more leaves 
more water must be given, and the appearance of 
moss then will do no harm. 

When the young plants have made from two to 
four leaves prepare a second box in the same manner 
as the seed box, water well, and drain ; then carefully 
transplant the young seedlings, setting them an 
inch apart each way. Water with care until they 
are well established. For transplanting seedlings, 
take two small sticks the size of a lead-pencil, make 
a sharp point on one to make the holes with, and 
shave the other down thin and flat at one end, 
making a small notch in the flattened end ; slide this 
notch under the leaves and around the stem ; then 
with the pointed stick dig the plant out, lifting it and 
the dirt attached to the roots carefully into the hole 
prepared in the new box, and gently pack the soil 
around it with one of the sticks. 

The plants will grow more rapidly in this second 
box than in the seed flat, and can be allowed to 
stand until the leaves begin to crowd each other, 
when they are ready for potting. 

For the first potting use small pots, two or two 
and a half inches in diameter. Use the same sifted 
soil, placing a small pebble over the hole in the 



lO 



RARE FLOWERS FROM SEED. 



bottom of the pot to prevent the soil washing out. 
After the plants start to grow well, water more 
frequently and more plentifully except on dull days 
or in the evening, when water should be withheld. 
The plants should remain in these pots until they 
are well filled with roots but should not be over- 
crowded ; by the time the leaves cover the surface the 
soil is full of roots, and sucli as are to be grown in 
pots should be transplanted to larger ones (four 

inches in diameter), 
into the bottom of 
which place about an 
inch of broken pot- 
tery or small pebbles. 
When the surface is 
again hidden by the 
growth of leaves, re- 
plant to pots six 
inches in diameter, 
using slightly coarser 
soil. 

Some of the smaller 
plants, such as Glox- 
inias, Fuchsias, Tu- 
berous and Rex Be- 
gonias, and Primula 
Obconica will bloom somewhat earlier in the four- 
inch pots, but to secure a large amount of the finest 
bloom larger pots are necessary. Plants lil<e Coleus, 
Calceolarias, Begonia Vernon, Tuberous Begonias, 
and Linaria Cymbalaria can be planted out from the 
small pots as soon as the weather is warm enough, 
taking care to have the soil loose and rich and to 
keep the plants sufficiently supplied with moisture. 




BEGONIA kEX. 



PART II 



FOR SUMMER BLOOMING. 

BEGONIAS.— Sow the seed, as directed in the 
foregoing pages, tlie last of February or early in 
March. Keep the young plants growing rapidly until 
large enough to begin blooming. Any check suffered 
in growth will have an injurious effect both in the 
size and number of flowers produced. 

A check or stoppage of growth may result from 
too much moisture, causing the young roots and 
leaves to partially rot or to make a soft, unhealthy 
growth. More frequently a check in growth is caused 
by allowing too long a period to pass without supply- 
ing water ; both foliage and roots become hardened 
or woody in character and the plant does not fespond 
in rapid growth when more moisture or fresh soil is 
furnished. Stunting is also due to permitting the 
plants to remain too long in pots without replanting 
to larger ones ; in such cases the growth becomes 
hardened and the plants come prematurely into flower 
without having attained full development. They 
remain small and stunted, though blooming pro- 
fusely, but the flowers will be much smaller than in 
well-developed plants. 

Granted that our young plants are well grown, 

how shall we care for them while blooming? Both 

the tuberous-rooted sorts and Begonia Vernon make 

excellent displays as bedding plants. The beds should 

II 



RARE FLOWERS FROM SEED. 



be well dug and heavily manured with well-rotted 
compost or with equally well- rotted manure, which 
will serve the double purpose of keeping the soil light 
and loose and furnishing abundant food for the 
growing and blooming plants. It is well to have the 




FORDHOOK GIGANTIC TUBEROUS-ROOTED BEGONIA. 



beds slightly rounded above the surface of the lawn, 
so that any surplus moisture from heavy rains may 
readily run off, and also to give the plants in the 
center of the bed more prominence. 



RARE FLOWERS FROM SEED. 13 

To insure a constant and more even degree of 
moisture after setting the plants out in the beds, it is 
well to lightly mulch the soil. The rakings after 
mowing the lawn are excellent for this purpose ; being 
quite short, they will cover the soil evenly and 




A SINGLE PLANT OF BEGONIA VERNON. 

smoothly without heavily packing the surface of the 
bed. To beds thus mulched water may be applied 
freely in the evenings without baking the soil even 
during a term of dry weather; nor will so much 
water be required, nor need it be so often applied. 



14 RARE FLOWERS FROM SEED. 

Early in the fall, as soon as the edges of the 
leaves and the flowers become slightly blackened or 
blighted by cool nights, the plants should be dug, the 
tops and some of the roots cut off the tuberous-rooted 
varieties, and the bulbs carefully dried for winter 
storage ; they must not be dried too quickly, or the 
bulbs will shrivel up and lose their vitality. Some of 
the soil may be left on the plants when first dug, and 
if placed in a cool, airy shed they will dry gradually. 
When well dried and cleaned, wrap in cotton wadding 
to prevent moisture and place in a dark closet where 
there is not enough warmth to cause them to shrivel. 

In spring the bulbs may be planted about the 
same time seed was sown the previous year. Plant 
in four-inch pots, using soil such as we have de- 
scribed ; place in a warm, sunny window, where they 
will soon start into growth, and with careful atten- 
tion and regular repotting as growth continues they 
will make fine plants. Plants of Tuberous Begonias 
that have been flowered in pots throughout the sum- 
mer can be dried in the pots if kept in a cool, dry 
place and not watered. It may be well to water 
them at first to prevent a too rapid drying, when 
store away as before. 

BEGONIA VERNON, unlike the above, has no 
tuberous roots. For winter blooming the plant may 
be dug up in the fall, the tops cut back one-half or 
two-thirds, and the plant potted in something large 
enough to contain the roots without crowding. It 
will bloom freely in a warm, sunny window. 

THE REX BEGONIAS are not suitable for 
general bedding, as they do not stand exposure to 



RARE FLOWERS FROM SEED. 



the sun well ; but in a moist, shady bed under a 
large tree, or in rock work around a fountain not 
exposed to strong sunlight, they are most excellent. 
But such favorable situations are not at the com- 
mand of the majority of flower growers, nor are 
they necessary to grow the plant. The finest plants 
can be grown in a shaded conservatory or on a 
plant stand under the veranda. If the plants are 
frequently repotted and kept properly. supplied with 
moisture, very large and handsomely zoned leaves 
may be obtained, and the plants will produce a fine, 
ornamental effect. To keep them through the win- 
ter a warm room or conservatory will be necessary ; 
very little growth will be made during the winter 
months unless kept quite warm. A pot six or seven 
inches in diameter is needed for the largest plants, 
but one four or five inches in diameter will be large 
enough for the majority of plants. 

GLOXINIAS.— These are essentially pot plants 
and have generally been considered purely green- 
house flowers, but while they are very ornamental 
in summer in the conservatory, they can be grown 
with equal success in our warm summer climate on 
a plant stand under a shady porch or tree, or in the 
sitting-room window ; but to grow well and bloom 
freely they must have plenty of heat and moisture. 

General directions for growing the young plants 
have been given in Part I (see page 7). When 
the plants begin to show bloom-buds in the center 
we must stop repotting*, as they will grow no longer 
for the season. By this time they should be in pots 
from four to five inches in diameter. Keep the plants 
well supplied with moisture ; if too much of a tax to 



i6 



RARE FLOWERS. FROM SEED. 



water so frequently, stand the pots in shallow dishes 
or flower-pot saucers, which keep filled with water ; 
the plant will then draw up a supply of moisture as 
needed. This is an excellent plan for all plants re- 
quiring constant moisture, and avoids spotting the 
ornamental leaves of such plants as Rex Begonias, 




GLOXINIA,— LARGE-FLOWERING HYBRID. 
From a Photograph, as grow^i at Fordhook Farm. 



etc. As the blooms fade cut them off, that the 
strength of the plant may be thrown into succeeding 
blossoms and not diverted fo forming seed, which 
produces exhaustion and, consequently, materially 
shortens the period of bloom. 

When done blooming, gradually withhold water 



RARE FLOWERS FROM SEED. 17 



from the plants until they are dried, then clean the 
bulbs and store away in cotton as directed for Tuber- 
ous Begonias ; in spring pot up again and start into 
growth in the same manner. 

PRIMULA OBCONICA.— This pretty little plant 
is very useful both for summer and winter, begin- 
ning to bloom when quite small and constantly 
producing a profusion of beautiful flowers. Sow 
the seed and pot the plants as directed in Part I 
(page 7). While the young plants can be set out 
in a moist and shady bed during the summer months 
and will bloom quite freely, they will succeed best as 
pot plants in summer and as window plants during 
winter. They will grow and bloom freely in a room 
which is too cool for many other plants. 

The young plants will begin to bloom in the 
small two-inch pots in which they are first potted, 
growing and blooming .at the same time, but the 
best results are obtained by potting into larger pots 
with increasing growth ; this may be continued 
until the plant is in a pot six or seven inches in 
diameter, when it will produce a grand mass of 
bloom, the spikes being formed of three or four 
distinct whorls of blossoms. 

The leaves of this plant are covered with minute 
spines or prickles which are quite poisonous to some 
skins, and we therefore recommend that gloves be 
worn when repotting is necessary. The poisoning 
is not dangerous, but is frequently painful for several 
days after handling the leaves. 

PETUNIAS.— While the culture of the ordinary 
type is simple and well known, the superb flowers of 



t8 



RARE FLOWERS FROM SEED. 



the Superbissima and large double-flowered types 
will amply repay us for the greater care required in 
their culture. The main object of this increased care 
is to get a fine, large, vigorous plant to set out in the 
bed ; seedsmen have devoted great care and much 
expensive labor to provide seed that will produce 




DOUBLE PETUNIA. 



flowers of the largest size, superb in form, and richly 
beautiful in colorings and markings. 

Sow the seed rather thinly, transplant the seed- 
lings as soon as possible, and repot as frequently as 
is necessary. The stems and leaves of these vari- 



Rare flowers from seed. tg 



eties are strong, thick, and of good substance, very 
different from the slender growth of the older types. 
One of the main points in the culture of these plants 
is never to let them get crowded or stunted, as this 
will produce a drawn, slender stem and small, in- 
ferior flowers. The flower bed must be made rich 
with well-rotted manure and plenty of room allowed 
for each plant. Set about one and a half feet apart 
each way. In our fields at Fordhook we plant two 
by four feet apart, and by midsummer the ground is 
covered ; in beds they may be planted one foot apart 
each way, and as the plants increase in size every 
other one may be pulled out to keep up the large size 
of the flowers ; the remaining plants will soon cover 
the bed. This refers more particularly to the large 
single-flowered types, as the double-flowered ones 
grow more compactly and do not spread over the 
ground like the former. 

Very fine flowers can be grown on plants in five- 
and six-inch pots during spring and early summer, 
but Petunias are strong growers and gross feeders, 
and as the soil in the pots is impoverished, growth 
becomes spindling, with much smaller flowers of a 
very ordinary type of coloring. 

COLEUS.— Many flower lovers who have ad- 
mired the dazzling display of this bright foliage plant 
in public parks or on extensive private lawns have no 
doubt thought it impossible to have them without 
greenhouses, except by purchasing in quantity from 
the florists. Many of our friends are far from florist 
establishments where such plants can be had, and it 
is for their benefit that these directions are given. 
Not only can the plants be grown easily from seed, 



20 RARE FLOWERS FROM SEED. 



but the variety of coloring is greater, and, from a 
good strain of seed, fully as rich and brilliant as can 
be obtained from florists. To our mind a bed planted 
with varied-hued seedlings without regard to geomet- 
rical design is more artistic and naturally beautiful 
than straight or curved lines of sheared, stiff form. 
Sow the seed and raise the young plants as directed 
in the general instructions for this class of plants, 
except that after the first potting you may leave the 
peat or woods dirt out of the soil, of which make 
two parts loam and one part sharp sand. The 
Coleus is a rank grower and strong feeder, and must 
have a rich soil. 

Give the young plants plenty of sunlight and 
keep them quite warm, and when planting-out time 
comes they will begin to show their brilliant coloring, 
enabling one to arrange them in the bed to suit the 
individual fancy. If all light sorts are wanted, raise 
a number of plants and pot only those that are richly 
colored, but we think the dark, self-colored varieties, 
when intermingled with the flaming ones, add greatly 
to the richness of the bed. 

Do not set the plants out until the thermometer 
stands during the night above sixty degrees Fahren- 
heit ; the least chill will dull the coloring and blight 
the leaves. Plant from nine inches to a foot apart 
each way and have the soil as rich as possible, so as 
to promote the growth of fine, large leaves ; the heat 
of the sun will bring out the brilliant coloring. To 
secure the finest effect, cut off the tip of the plant as 
soon as the flowering spike appears, which will pro- 
mote the growth of the side branches ; the flowers 
are small and insignificant and only detract from the 
beauty of the plant. 



RARE FLOWERS FROM SEED. 21 



LIN ARIA CYMBALARIA, OR KENIL= 
WORTH IVY. -We have included this old garden 
favorite in this list, as we do not think it is nearly so 
well known as its merits deserve, and because many 
flower growers fail when trying to start it in the open 
ground. Sown in the house where the moisture is 
well regulated and an even degree of heat maintained, 
the seed germinates very readily. When the young 
plants are large enough they may be potted into 
small pots in a soil composed of two parts friable 
loam and one part sharp sand. The plants will grow 
very nicely in these until planting-out time. 

For planting on a bank, at the top of a stone 
wall, for rock work or edging flower boxes, vases, 
etc., wherever they have a chance to run or trail, 
nothing can be prettier than this delicate and grace- 
ful creeper. It is entirely hardy, and in spring is 
densely covered with small, pearly flowers. 

CALCEOLARIAS, like Gloxinias, are essentially 
pot plants, but are very easily grown ; free flowering 
and of brilliant coloring. The seed, is sown and 
the young plants are grown under the general cul- 
tural directions as for others of this class. Owing 
to the stifl'er and more shrubby growth of Calceo- 
larias we advise planting after the first potting in 
rich soil composed of two parts loam and one part 
sharp sand. 

Keep the young plants growing rapidly until they 
are in pots from four to five inches in diameter, when 
they should be ready to bloom. These plants do 
not require quite so much heat to produce flowers as 
do the Gloxinias, but both plants will do very well 
together on the porch or flower stand. The foliage 



22 RARE PLOWERS FROM SEED. 

is rather low and compact and is surmounted by 
flower-stems bearing large clusters of large, pocket- 
shaped flowers of yellow, crimson, and maroon, 
spotted and blotched with rich, deep hues. They are 
very profuse bloomers and quite useful for bouquets, 
etc. 




BYWA.B.WO. 
A SINGLE FLOWER OF CALCEOLARIA HYBRIDA. 



RAISING GERANIUMS FROM SEED.-Most 
varieties of Geraniums grow from seed as readily as 
Verbenas ; indeed, we may say that the seed ger- 
minates more quickly and.readily than does that of the 
Verbena. Some few of the fancy varieties, such as 
the Apple-scented and gold and bronze Zonale varie- 
ties, are of weaker constitution and vitality ; the latter 
varieties will require a slightly warmer place and more 
careful attention. Do not water too freely. The 



RARE FLOWERS FROM SEED. 



23 



ordinary flowering varieties are strong and robust, 
and, if well fed and treated to lots of sunshine, will 
grow very strongly when once started, and when 
they have attained sufficient size will furnish an abun- 
dance of bloom. The ordi- 
nary purchaser of a Gera- 
nium plant probably over- 
looks the fact that all the 
finest varieties have been 
originally raised from 
seed, and that florists are 
constantly raising seed- 
lings to secure choice new 
varieties. With our fine 
hybridized seed you have 
an equal chance with the 
florist to secure something 
new and distinct at but 
little cost, outside of your 
own labor, while raising a fine lot of blooming plants 
for lawn or house decoration. 

To start the young seedlings, prepare a seed box 
or pot as directed in the first chapter, using the same 
prepared soil ; the light woods dirt may be dispensed 
with if you have loose, loamy soil, but it will be 
better to use the woods earth if at hand. Sow the 
seed as early in the spring as convenient,— say early 
in February or March, — cover lightly and press the 
soil down quite firmly ; this will greatly aid germina- 
tion and insure a larger percentage of seedlings. Keep 
in a warm, sunny window until the young seedlings 
have three or four good leaves; then transplant to 
other boxes or to small pots, and transplant to larger 
ones as the small pots become well filled with roots. 




SINGLE GERANIUM. 



24 RARE FLOWERS FROM SEED. 



Do not let the young plants get cramped or stunted 
in the pots, as it will make them small and poor. 
Keep all growing vigorously; especially nurse the 
more delicate ones, for these will give you the 
fmest and most delicately shaded flowers. The 
strong and vigorous plants are nearly always bright 
scarlet, the natural color of a geranium. As soon 
as the weather will permit, that is, when the trees 
are well out in leaf, set out the young plants in the 
garden or bed, where they should come into bloom 
in a short time. The earlier the start is made the 
sooner will blooms appear. In the fall, just before 
frost, take up the most desirable plants, cut them 
back one-half, and plant in good, rich soil for winter 
blooming. However, plants lifted from the flower 
beds rarely give much bloom before January. 

THE ZANZIBAR WATER LILY.— This beau- 
tiful Water Lily readily blooms the first year from 
seed, requires no great amount of care and but a 
small expenditure for seed. 

Sow the seed, if possible, early in January in 
saucers or small pans about two inches in depth, 
half filled with loamy soil ; scatter the seed thinly on 
the surface. After sowing, cover the soil with an 
inch of water, adding more as it evaporates. Place 
the saucers where they will get all the sunlight 
possible and keep the temperature at from seventy 
to eighty degrees Fahrenheit ; if impossible to have 
this temperature, defer the sowing until the latter 
part of spring. You can still get plants to bloom 
freely the same season. 

In four weeks' time the young seedlings should 
be ready to prick out or transplant. Have pans two 



RARE FLOWERS FROM SEED. 



25 



and a half to three inches in depth, in which there is 
an inch to an inch and a half of prepared soil. The 
soil should be composed of one-half loam and one- 
half fme, clean gravel ; cover this with one inch of 
water and set the young plants out in the pan one 




inch apart each way, or even farther if they are of 
good size. Take only one plant at a time out of the 
seed saucer and put it at once into the water in the 
pan into which you are transplanting ; this must 
be done quickly, as they soon wilt if kept out of 



26 RARE FLOWERS FROM SEED. 



the water. Keep the water at least an inch deep in 
the pan at ajl times. 

In April the young plants will be ready to trans- 
plant to the flowering-tubs ; these can readily be made 
by sawing strong, water-tight barrels in half ; fill 
these five or six inches in depth with rich loam and 
fine gravel, and set the young plants, being careful, 
as before, to have them out of the water as short a 
time as possible. Six or more plants may be set in 
a tub together and covered with water to a depth of 
four to six'inches. 

Well-grown plants may be planted out in shallow 
ponds about the middle of May. It is a good plan 
to pot the plant in a six- or seven-inch pot and sink 
the pot in a pond or fountain twelve to twenty 
inches in depth, as it can then be taken up and put 
in a tub of moist earth for the winter. Where no 
pond is at hand the tubs in which the young plants 
are grown may be set outdoors in the sunshine early 
in May, or after danger of frosty nights is past. 
Keep well supplied with water, which should be from 
four to six inches deep, or even deeper. In the fall 
the tubs and plants should be taken into the con- 
servatory or greenhouse before there is danger of 
frost, and stored under the benches until March, 
when they can be again started into growth. 

If no facilities are at hand for wintering plants, 
very good success may be had from seed each sea- 
son.- Plants making a good growth should flower 
in from one hundred and ten to one hundred and 
twenty days from seed. The tubs of plants may 
also be wintered in a warm, light cellar, where there 
is no danger of frost, or where rats and mice cannot 
eat the bulbous roots. By pouring off the water and 



RARE FLOWERS FROM SEED. 27 



storing the roots away in the soil, which should be 
moistened occasionally, the plants may be started 
into growth in March or early April, and will begin 
to flower early in May. One plant will be amply 
sufficient in each tub the second season, as they 
will grow stronger and make much larger blossoms. 



F^ART III. 



FOR WINTER BLOOMING. 

PRIMULA SINENSIS, OR CHINESE PRIM= 
ROSE. — This well-known favorite, which can be 
grown at home with very little trouble, is one of the 
most satisfactory and constant bloomers for window 
culture. It requires a rather cool location, and can 
be grown in north windows or in much cooler rooms 
than are required for ordinary flowering plants. The 
seed should be sown the latter part of March or in 
April, and the plants grown as rapidly as possible in 
a cool, shady location. If you have no suitable 
plant stand a smooth bed of ashes in a shady corner 
of the garden or lawn is a good place to stand the 
pots during the summer. Place the pots a little dis- 
tance apart from each other that there may be a free 
circulation of air at all times. When well started 
the young plants grow rapidly, and by September or 
October should be in pots four or five inches in 
diameter and r^ady for blooming. The young 
plants are quite brittle and break off easily, so great 
care must be exercised in repotting. They should 
be set at just the same depth in transplanting, not 
allowing the soil to cover the leaf stems or crowns 
of the plants. If there is shown a tendency to droop 
after potting, support the plant by inserting several 
match- sticks or toothpicks in the soil close to the 



RARE FLOWERS FROM SEED. 29 

stems, which will hold them erect until again estab- 
lished. 

Seed of Primula Obconica can be sown at the 
same time and raised in the same way, but as it is an 
all the year round bloomer it has been treated under 
the head of summer-flowering plants. Of Chinese 
Primroses it is especially true that the finest strains 




PRIMULA SINENSIS— SINGLE CHINESE PRIMROSE. 

are the best ones to grow ; they flower as freely, and 
are much finer in form, foliage, and coloring than 
the older varieties. 

FUCHSIAS. — Though in some parts of the 
United States these beautiful plants are hardy and 
are trained on trellises covering an ordinary two- 
story dwelling, with us they are pot-plants for house 
and stand culture, being unable to withstand the hot 



30 . RARE FLOWERS FROM SEED. 



sun of our summer months. Sown indoors the seed 
germinates very rapidly, and on a cool, shady stand 
you may have fine plants full of bloom by midsum- 
mer. Up to this time the plants may be in from 
four- to five-inch pots, if repotted into six-inch pots 
they will continue to grow and bloom through the 




THE TRAILING FUCHSIA IN A BASKET. 

winter. After the plants get a good start they are 
very little trouble to grow, if frequently repotted and 
kept supplied with sufficient moisture. 

The Fuchsias rarely flower well the second sum- 
mer, but can be kept alive during this time in a cool, 
moist, shady place and repotted in the fall, when 



RARE FLOWERS FROM SEED. 31 



they will again grow and bloom ; but young plants 
freshly raised from seed are by far the most satis- 
factory. 

CINERARIAS.— The time for sowing and the 
mode of culture for these grand blooming plants is the 




CINERARIA HYBRIDA— LARGE-FLOWERING. A Single Plant. 

same as for the Chinese Primrose ; but as Cinerarias 
are very liable to rot, great care must bef taken not to 
give them too much water at one time ; excessive 
dampness can be prevented by allowing, between 



RARE FLOWERS FROM SEED. 



each pot a space of two inches, which permits of a 
free circulation of air and enables the plants to throw 
off any surplus moisture. 

These plants grow more rankly than the Prim- 
rose and do not need the peat in the potting soil after 
being shifted from the first small pots. By fall they 
should be in five-, six-, or even seven-inch pots, and 
when they begin to flower should be kept constantly 
supplied with moisture ; this can be readily done by 
keeping a saucer of water under them. 

They should be kept in a rather cool, airy room, — 
a temperature of forty-five to fifty degrees Fahrenheit 
at night is plenty warm enough for them. Cin- 
erarias are liable to become infested with green fly or 
aphis, which, if neglected, will soon destroy the 
plant. Fine tobacco dust sprinkled over the pots 
and on the under sides of the leaves destroys the 
insects. To apply this insecticide, turn the plant 
upside down and dust the underside of the leaves. 
But the best cure in this as in all other cases is the 
ounce of prevention ; each_time you water the plants 
watch for the first green fly and kill it at once, either 
with the fingers or an old, soft toothbrush. Carna- 
tions, when grown in the house, are also infested by 
this insect, but the pest is more easily observed and 
killed than on Cinerarias. The best results are ob- 
tained by sowing the large single-flowered varieties, 
though the dwarf and the double-flowered varieties 
are very fine when well grown. After blooms ap- 
pear be very careful not to wet the flowers and they 
will last much longer. Pick off the single flowers 
as they fade, that seed may have no opportunity 
to form, and the plant will remain beautiful a long 
time. 



RARE FLOWERS FROM SEED. 



33 



CYCLAMEN PERSICUM.— To obtain the 
largest plants and finest flowers the seed should be 
started in November, but very fine plants can be 
grown from seed sown in February and March. 
Sow the seed as directed in Part I and grow the 




CYCLAMEN PERSICUM. 



plants along as rapidly as possible until fall. They 
are not as rapid growers as some of the varieties 
previously described, but by fall should be in four- 
inch pots, possibly some of the earliest and largest 
in six-inch pots. When the seedling has made two 
or three leaves and is ready to transplant a small 



34 RARE FLOWERS FROM SEED. 

bulb will be observed from which the leaves spring ; 
this must be carefully watched during transplanting 
or repotting ; it should be about half buried in the 
soil, the upper side from which the leaves and blossoms 
spring being entirely exposed. As the seeds of the 
Cyclamen are larger than some of the foregoing 
varieties, they should have a light covering of soil, 
or you may take a pointed pencil and push each seed 
slightly under the surface before watering. While 
growing and blooming in the window the plants are 
best watered through the saucer in which they stand, 
watering the pot itself freely as the spring advances. 
Pick off all flowers as they fade ; if permitted to form 
seed the period of blooming will soon end. 

When done blooming in the spring gradually 
withhold water from the plants until the leaves have 
died off ; then store the pots in a cool, dry place until 
September, when they are to be shaken out clean, 
repotted in fresh soil, and watered sparingly until 
growth begins. 

These plants are apt to be infested with a small 
brown scale on the under side of the leaves and on 
the stems ; these insects can be easily crushed with a 
small, sharp-pointed stick. The Cyclamen is among 
the most beautiful winter-flowering plants ; the 
blooms are very odd in form and exceedingly beau- 
tiful in coloring ; the self colors range through bright 
shades, — pink, crimson, and pure white, — the latter 
frequently spotted with rich splashes of color. 

CARNATIONS FOR WINTER BLOOMING.— 

The new Marguerites and florists' varieties are the 
only ones suited for this purpose. Sow the seed 
early and plant in the open ground one foot apart 



RARE FLOWERS FROM SEED. 35 

early in the spring. Many of tiiese, especially the 
Marguerites, will bloom during the latter part of 
summer. About the middle of September lift and 
pot them carefully, cutting off any flower stems; 
keep shady and cool for a few days, and then grow 




MARGUERITE CARNATIOi' 



them the same as the Chinese Primrose, watching 
carefully for the green fly. If allowed to get a foot- 
hold this pest will soon destroy the plant. Carna- 
tions need very little water in winter— just enough 



36 



RARE FLOWERS FROM SEED. 



to keep them moist, but never wet. It is much better 
to err on the dry side, especially during dull weather. 
These plants need slight stakes to support them ; 
place three or four slender stakes around the outer 
edge of the pot and run the strings from one stick 
to another. 



MUSA ENSETE FROM SEED.— Soak the 
hard, dry seeds in tepid water for twenty-four hours 
before sowing, then clean off the decaying crust 
found adhering to the seed. Take a fairly deep 
saucer or tin dish, in which place a layer of ab- 
sorbent material like moss, or if you can get no 
moss use cotton wadding ; lay the seeds on the 
layer of absorbent mate- 



W^ 



rial with the eye or ger- 
minating point near the 
top and cover with an- 
other layer of moss or 
cotton ; then fill up the 
saucer with tepid water 
until the upper layer is 
covered, and set in a 
warm, sunny window or 
corner of the greenhouse. 
Renew the water every 
three days, being careful 
that the fresh water is slightly warmed before being 
poured into the saucer. Cold water will check the 
development of the germ ; nor should the water be 
hot, as it would kill the plant, — about milk-warm 
is the right temperature. In two weeks the seeds 
should be well sprouted. Lift them out carefully 
and pick off the moss or cotton ; in doing this, care 



^im 



RARE FLOWERS FROM SEED. 37 

must be exercised not to break the young shoots. 
Plant in quite small pots in a mixture of leaf-mould 
and clean sand ; set back in the sunny window and 
water freely, using slightly warmed water. In four 
weeks' time the seedlings will be ready for four-inch 
pots. Prepare the soil by taking two parts good 
loam, one part dry cow manure broken fine, and one 
part sharp sand. Transplant and keep in the warm 
sunlight, which will insure rapid growth. From these 
pots the seedlings may generally be transplanted to 
the open ground, but this should not be done until 
the weather has become quite warm. If the plants 
fill the pots before planting-out time, give them 
larger pots, using the same mixture of soil. If well 
fed and well provided with sunlight, grand plants 
will be had the first season ; but to secure the finest 
effect, take up the plants before danger of frost and 
plant in good-sized boxes or small tubs and keep 
over winter, planting out in a rich bed the following 
spring. In its native climate Musa Ensete frequently 
attains a height of eighteen feet, and the large leaves 
produce a magnificent tropical effect. We would 
advise all lovers of fine plants to try to raise a few 
specimens of this grandest of all foliage plants. The 
fruit of this variety is not edible, the edible variety 
being smaller in growth and by far less ornamental ; 
it can only be grown from offshoots of the parent 
plant, as is also the case with the Pineapple. 



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