Lorraine Begonias

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These are the fibrous-row led. winter-flowering begonias and they are delightful plants. They arc more graceful than the tuberous begonias and lhe stems arc more wiry . A minimum temperature of 16 C. (60 F.J is needed to grow ihem welt Cuttings. To obtain young basal grow ths for cuttings the stems of the plants are cut hack to wiihin a few inches of their base afier flowering. Kepi in warm conditions new shoots soon develop and these can be removed in February as cuttings. A suitable rioting mixture consists of 1 part loam. 2 parts moisi peal and 3 parts coarse sand, well mixed together.

Each cutting is prepared by irimming the base jusi below a leaf joini with a sharp knife or razor blade. Several cuttings can be placed round the edge ofa 3-in. pot using a dibher. After a good watering the pots should be placed in a propagating frame with a temperature of 18 C. (65 F ). Pulling. The rooted cuttings are first put in 3-in pots using John Innes No. 1 Potting Com prist and firming the soil lightly. With a temperature of 16 to IS C. (60 to 65 F ) and a moist atmosphere, grow th is rapid. Shade must be given from strong sunshine in spring and summer. A further move into the 5-in. pots in which the plants will flower follows when ihis becomes necessary

Staking. The fragile stems must be supported by thin canes inserted in the pois. These are held loosely to the canes with fine pieces of rallia. This can be done in such a way that eventually the canes are hidden and the plant is a well-arranged mass of flowers and foliage.

For really large flowers, tuberous begonias should be disbudded Buds appear in threes, and the two outer ones are removed

Shrub Like Begonia
Supporting the large flowers of a tuberous begonia The canes and ties should be as unobtrusive as possible

Above left: The pink, bracts ana white flowers of Belaperone guiiaia Above right: Brunfe/sid catycina. an evergreen

Tuberous Begonia SaleHardy Shrub Long Red And White Bracts

B guttata shrub for the cool greenhouse Below: Neoregeha carolmae tricolor, a brightly coloured member of tne Ekomeliad family it is always a pleasure 10 come across a plain with a particularly appropriate common name. One such is Belaperone guttata. the Shrimp Plant, This name refers to the drooping spikes of salmon-red bracts and white flowers which do closely resemble the familiar shrimp.

Belaperone guttata is. of course, a popular house plant as well as a greenhouse subject. It will continue to flower the year through given favourable conditions. and a moderately heated greenhouse. conservatory or sun lounge is a natural choice. The flowers are likely to be borne especially prolifically in summer and autumn. In the home it can be a little tricky in w inter if the atmosphere becomes too cold or stuffy, but this is not a role for which we are considering it at the present time.

  1. Established plants should be repotled in spring, using the John Itines No. I Potting Compost. The\ will need quite a lot of water in spring and summer but less during the rest of the year. The best temperature is 16 to 18 C, (60 to 65 F.) but it can fall to 7 C. (45 F.) in winter if necessary.
  2. To increase the Shrimp Plant it is best to cut the established plant back in spring to encourage shoots to form from the base from w hich cuttings can be made. These can be rooted from April to August in a warm propagating frame. The cuttings will root much more easily if ireated with hormone rooting powder before insertion. Rooted cuttings are potted first into 3-in. pots, then into 41- or 5-in. pots and linally into 6- or 61-in. pots, using John Innes No. I Potting Compost.

Above left: The pink, bracts ana white flowers of Belaperone guiiaia Above right: Brunfe/sid catycina. an evergreen shrub for the cool greenhouse Below: Neoregeha carolmae tricolor, a brightly coloured member of tne Ekomeliad family

Beloperone Guttata

B guttata


Cyclamen, cinerarias. Primula obcomca and datf oct'ls combined with various foliage plants to give a beautiful springtime display

Cool Greenhouse Plants


Billbergia Nutans

The Bromeliads members of the family Bromeliaceae melude splendid greenhouse plants of real distinction.


The bromeliad most commonly and easily grown is Billhcrgiti nutans. It is almost hard) but warm, moist conditions are needed if one is to enjoy its drooping flowers of yellow, green, ret! and blue colouring borne on slender green stents. The distinctive rosette of narrow, toothed leaves, up to 21 ft. in length, is a permanent decorative feature.

Cultivation. Pot billbergias in early spring using John Innes No, I Potting Compost. In spring and summer when growth is active, water freely and keep the cup-like

Beloperone Plant

centre of the plant, formed by the rosette of leaves, filled with water. This will supply most of the needs of the plant during the winter and the compost need not be watered until almost bone dry. Good drainage is essentia!

Offsets. Billbergias are increased by offsets taken in spring or summer and rooted in a sandy, peaty mixture in a propagating frame healed to a temperature of 18 to 24 C. 165 to 75 "F.).

A related plant is Aechmeafasciata (syn. B^flbergia fasciata) which bears grey, silver-mottled leaves and fosy-pink bracts in August, provided it is given the warm, moist conditions ii likes. Indeed, ii should be treated in a similar way to BiUbergia nutans.

Suckors. Aechmeas are increased by suckers which are produced after flowering. They are rooted in moist, warm conditions, preferably with the temperature at 27 C. {80' F.). A lower temperature can be maintained but rooting will be a much slower process.

CRYPTANTH USHS Another group of bromeliads well worth considering for the greenhouse is Crvp-tanihus, a genus of dwarf plants which will prosper even in adverse conditions given an orchid-type compost based on peat. To give of their best, though, they need warm, moist conditions. The rosettes of often wavy leaves have a starfish-like appearance and attractive colouring. Decorative Uses. A popular way to grow these plants is on pieces of bark. Moss is

Potted Plant Pictures

wrapped around the root ball and the whole plant firmly secured to the bark with wire. The water requirements of the plants are then met by watering the moss as necessary. Also, they can be used for bottle gardens and for decorating the front of the greenhouse staging. The most showy cryptanthus is C. fosterianus for it has red and grey variegations. C. tricolor is also handsome with cream and green striped leaves and an overall pinkish tinge which is particularly marked in the centre. The flowers of cry ptanth uses are of no importance.

Offsets, Cryptanthuses arc increased by rooted offsets which are detached in March


Extremely handsome bromeliads are the vriesias, some with spectacular variegations and all forming large rosettes of long, stili leaves. Spikes of long, narrow flowers are in some cases surrounded by brightly coloured bracts. Perhaps the best for the average greenhouse is Vrtesta splendens with highly decorative 18-in. long leaves, green on the upper side and with transverse bands of reddish-brown on the under side. Its other attributes are the yellow flowers and red bracts. Cultivation. For this and other vriesias the temperature in winter must be kept to at least IO C. (50 F.). and the plants must also be kept drier at this time of year. Full sunshine is much appreciated with frequent overhead spraying and watering in summer. Drainage must be really efficient, and the compost should consist of coarse fibrous peat with some sphagnum moss and charcoal added. Increase is by seed sown in spring or by offsets removed at the same time.


Neoregelia is a somewhat unusual name many of us have become familiar with since house plants became so popular. (All the bromehads referred to here, incidentally, are good for growing in the house, at least tor reasonably extensive periods of time.) The one usually available is Neoregelia carolitiae tricolor with cream and green variegated, red-centred leaves arranged in a rosette, at the centre of which are borne the small violet flowers. The cup-like centre of this plant, too. is kept full of water and the cultural conditions needed are as for Billhergia nuum \ except that more water i<i needed in winter


Another bromeliad with certain novelty value as well as decorative qualities is the Pineapple. Ananas i-omosus. The wide-spreading, narrow, grey leaves form a rosette and in some forms have cream, yellow and pink stripes which add to their attractions. As these leaves can be up to 5 ft. long it goes without saying that space is necessary lo accommodate this plani. Fruil may he produced if a warm, humid atmosphere is provided but this w til certainly not occur under coot house conditions.

Propagation. An interesting exercise is to try to make a new plant from the spiky rosette which forms the top of ;i bought pineapple. This needs to be cut with a sharp knife and the flesh removed before placing it on a bed of sand in a propagating frame with a temperature of at least 2-1 ('. 175 F.). Increase can also be by suckers, seeds and stem cuttings, again with temperatures not less that 24 C. Cultivation. F.stablished plants need a winler temperature of 16 C. (60 F.), increasing to 24 C, (75 F.) or more in summer The atmosphere must be kept moist in spring and summer. A sttilahle compost consists of 2 parts fibrous loam. I part peat and I part sand. Good drainage is essential. Water freely in spring and summer when growth is active, but more moderately in winler. Fruiting Plants. As I have already inferred. fruits are unlikely to appear under typical greenhouse conditions, hut iflhcy do. the plants must be kept rather dry while the fruits arc ripening.

This is a popular cool greenhouse plant, although perhaps not quite so popular now as in the lime of my youth when it was much grown in the greenhouses or conservatories on large estates. To grow browaltias well, all that is needed is a frost-proof greenhouse and cultural attention as detailed below. There are both annual and perennial kinds

Britwalliadernissal&yn. H. efata) is a half-hardy annual with hright blue or while flowers which it bears from early summer until late autumn. It makes a plant of about H ft. in height and ts easily raised from seed sown in early spring. The rather taller B. speviasamajor, a perennial, bears blue or violet flowers tn summer and can also be raised from seed. It is extremely free flowering. Both can be brought into flower in winler by sowing seeds in July Seed Sowing. The seed should he sown thinly in boxes filled with seed compost and should be barely covered with fine compost. Germination lakes place in a temperature of 16 C. (60 F ). Seedlings. The seedlings are pricked out into 3-in. pots as soon as they are large enough lo handle and moved on into 5-in. pots as they develop further. John Innes No. ! Potting Compost suits them very well for both these stages Also, it is possible to grow three plants of B demiiM in a 6-in. pot to provide large specimen plants. Place the pots in a light position.

Stopping. Pinch out the tips of the shoots of B. speciosa major to ensure that they develop a bushy habii. This should be done when the plants arc .1 lo 4 in. high and the lateral branches are pinched out also after they have formed four or five leaves.


Brunfelsia Calycina

The brunfelsia has come to the fore in recent years as a house plant. It is an evergreen flowering shruh which does not last very long in the home, hui ii is an attractive plant for the conservatory, sun lounge or greenhouse, provided a minimum winter temperature of 7 to IOC. f45 to 50 F.) can be maintained

The species usually grown is Brunfelsia calycina which bears fragrant lavender-purple flowers intermittently throughout the year, though the main flowering period is in late winter and spring. This native of Brazil will make a specimen up lo 2 ft. tall when ii is grown in a 5- or 6-in. flower pot.

Cuttings. This plain is propagated by means of cuttings of fairly firm shoots taken in summer and rooted in a mixture of equal parts of peat and sand in a propagating frame wilh a temperature of IX C. (65 F.I. Cuttings can also be taken and rooted successfully in spring and autumn although I feel that summer is a more suitable time The cuttings should be 3 lo 4 in long When rooted they should be polled up singly, firsi imo 3-in. pots and then successively into 4-in, and 5- or 6-in pots. They need a mixture of lime-free soil, moist peal and coarse sand mixed in [he proportion of I 4:1 if ihey are to give of their best and should be repotted when the main flowering season is over. Cultivation. During summer they need warm, humid conditions with ventilation when the temperature rises to 2TC. (80"F.i. Weekly feeding with liquid fertiliser is beneficial once the plants have filled their pots wilh roots. Pruning. Any pruning necessary to keep the plants shapely should be done before they stari 10 make new growth.


Peeping Tom Liquid Sand
Narcissus Peeping Tom

I am considering under this heading the more popular kinds of bulbous flowers which arc invaluable for providing colour in winter and early spring.

DAFFODILS AND HYACINTHS Plenty of colour can be created in a cool greenhouse from Christmas until spring with daffodils i narcissi) and hyacinths. Narcissi must be chosen carefully to obtain the earliest flowers, good ones being Paper While and Grand Soleil d'Or, The graceful Roman hyacinths should not be forgotten as they flower earlier than the large-flowered hyacinths. Treated Bulbs. P re-coo led bulbs can be obtained which flower earlier than they would normally. Varieties of narcissus for Christmas flowering include Carlton. Cragford and Peeping Tom. the last a lovely cvclammeus hybrid. Treated hyacinths can also be obtained. Potting. Bulbs should be potted in September or October as soon as they can be obtained. If they arc being grown in pots

use John Innes No. I Potting Compost as a growing medium. The bulbs should be placed close together and be so positioned thai when potting is completed their tips are just above the surface of the compost. It is not wise to have hyacinths of mixed colours logeiher in the same container as they arc likely to come into flower at different times. Bulbs may ?lso be grown in bowls of hulb fibre but it is important to soak the fibre thoroughly with water before it is used. Do not pot too firmly or ihe roots may push the bulbs out of the compost.

Double-Layer Planting. An interesting way to grow daffodils is in a double layer. For this a bowl 8 or 9 in. deep and with a diameter of 7 or 8 in. is needed. Place a layer of fibre in the bottom, put the bulbs on this and cover with fibre, leaving jusl their noses showing. Firm the fibre lightly, then place a second layer of bulbs between the noses of the bulbs in the lower layer. More fibre is added and worked around the bulbs. In this way I have obtained up to 45 blooms from one bowl. Plunging. The pots and bowls must he stood in a cool place for R to 10 weeks after potting so that the bulbs can make good root systems. I find it best to stand ihe pots outside in a sheltered place and. after giving them a thorough watering, cover them with a layer of sand or weathered cinders.

  1. When the bulbs have made plenty of roots move them into a cold frame to gradually become acclimatised to warmer conditions and allow the shoots to lum green. Then, when the flower buds appear, take the bulbs at intervals into the greenhouse or a warm room. At first a temperature of TC. (45 F.| is adequate and the bulbs should only be subjected to higher tcmperalures gradually. Treated bulbs need slightly different temperatures but instructions are given with bulbs obtained from good bulb merchants. Watering. Keep the compost uniformly moist and if bulb fibre is used take care ii does not dry out. Do not allow water to collect inside the leaves of hyacinths or the buds may rot.
  2. It is wise to stake the heavy flowers of modem hyacinths, either with hooked pieces of wire or with canes and raffia ties. It is also advisable to support narcissi with raflia looped round their canes to enclose ihe foliage.


Large Dutch crocuses make splendid pot plants. Four corms should be potted in October in a 3-in. pot in John Innes No. 1

Planting Daffodils Pots
Hyacinths mav be grown m pots, bowls or glass jars Glass containers are interesting for children, as the roots can be seen
Bulbs Glass Container Without Soil

Planting daffodil bulbs in a double laver This method gives a really spectacular display of flowers

Staking narcissr with canes and raffia. This lob should be done well before the plants reach maturity

Plunging newly potted bulbs in a bed of sand This is important if a good root system is to develop

Planting daffodil bulbs in a double laver This method gives a really spectacular display of flowers

Staking narcissr with canes and raffia. This lob should be done well before the plants reach maturity

Plunging newly potted bulbs in a bed of sand This is important if a good root system is to develop

Potting Compost and covered to a depth of \ in. Plunge them under ashes out of doors until growth starts and then bring them into the greenhouse. They should not be forced before mid-January, when a temperature of 10°C. (50' F.) is sufficient.


Snowdrops { Golanthus nivalis) are a source of pleasure when grown in medium-sized pots or pans. Pot the bulbs in September in John Innes No. 1 Potting Compost, setting the bulbs I in. below the surface. Start into growth in a cold frame and then bring into the greenhouse,


Grape Hyacinths are delightful plants. A popular variety is AfuScari Heavenly Blue. I like to plant about 15 bulbs in a 5-in. pot and John Innes No. 1 Potting Compost is a suitable growing medium. This is done in September or October.

The bulbs should be set about I in. below the surface of the compost. Plunge the pots in a cold frame until growth is under way and then bring them into a cool greenhouse.

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  • caradas
    Do fibres begonias make good hanger plants?
    9 years ago
  • Aki-Petter
    Does brunfelsia calycina sucker?
    8 years ago
    How to plant a daffodil bulb in a pot?
    7 years ago

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