Like the, this is another plant to suffer from lack of popularity in recent years, until it is now generally believed to be a plant quite beyond the scope of the modern gardener. Nothing could be further from the truth but for an early summer , it is necessary to start the tubers in heat in the very early spring, March if possible, and at that period the heated greenhouse is generally being used for more important crops. If the plants are to be had in bloom through late summer, then they may be started in a cold-house in late April, but in a cold-house even at that time, growth will be slow.
Propagation is by several methods, all equally successful. They are:
(a) By division of the tubers as for Begonias.
(b) Byin a compost made up of equal parts of peat, sand and fibrous turf loam. The tiny are just pressed into the compost and not covered. A pan is the most suitable utensil, and after the seed should be watered, covered with a sheet of glass and stood in a temperature of 70° F. In an unheated house sowing should take place in June or July.
(c) Byremoved when 2-3 in. long and placed in 24 in. containing a mixture of peat and sand and placed in a temperature of about 70 F.
(d) Bycuttings. The are carefully removed and the veins are cut with a sharp knife before placing them flat, underside down, on to a compost similar to that used for seed sowing.
Again, a temperature of around 70° F. is required for rooting to take place quickly.
With their compact habit, vivid colouring and freedom of flowering the following are excellent varieties:
- Bacchus. Rich wine red.
- Duke of York. Vivid scarlet, edged white.
- King of the Reds. Rich crimson-red self.
- Princess Elizabeth. Lovely clear blue, with a white throat. Purity. Glistening pure white.
- The Duchess. Deep purple, edged white.