PERPETUAL FLOWERING CARNATIONS

These demand some care to grow really well, although they only need sufficient heat to keep out winter frosts. They may be bought as plants in 6 in. pots which are, of course, relatively expensive as they will be almost in flower. It is, however, usually possibly to take cuttings fairly soon after receiving the plants.

Plants from 3 in. pots are much cheaper and are ready to pot on into flowering size pots. Rooted and unrooted cuttings are naturally cheaper still, but should only be bought where the gardener is quite clear how to ‘carry on’.

Cultivation can be best explained by beginning with the ‘striking’ of cuttings, as practised by nurseries and market growers. Cuttings are taken from October to early March, preferably 3 in. long and from non-flowering side shoots. They may be struck in a mixture of half John Innes Compost and half sand. They root in 2—3 weeks at a temperature of 60—65 degrees F. (a rooting hormone is unnecessary). Cuttings are then potted into 3 or 3 ½ inch pots and planted in borders in February. Alternatively they can be potted on until by July they reach the 6 in. pots in which they will flower.

Stopping may be carried out just before planting when the plants have 6—8 leaves. A second stopping is not really necessary. Stopping consists of breaking out the topmost bud of a shoot to encourage a more bushy habit. Water as necessary throughout spring and summer — in winter the plants may go 2 or 3 weeks without watering. John Innes Composts can be used for both pot grown perpetuals and those planted in the greenhouse borders.

Pests and Diseases. Aphids and thrips may be tackled by gamma-BHC smoke generators. Red spider injury is denoted by the greyish, motded leaves. A hot, dry atmosphere encourages these pests. Derris sprays give some control but it is advisable to consult an insecticide manufacturer’s literature to learn the most up-to-date remedy as research continues to find better means of tackling this ubiquitous pest.

Rust and mildew can be prevented by spraying with a thiram fungicide. Stem rot or ‘wilt’ disease may be caused by two fungi, Verticillium and Fusarium. Once the plants are attacked, the only remedy is to burn them, change or sterilise the soil and replant. Ring spot or fairy ring is denoted by rounded pale brown spots which turn a darker colour with varying shades of brown in rings, hence the name. Damp conditions appear to encourage this trouble which can be arrested by picking off infected foliage and spraying with thiram.

Pink. (Most varieties in this colour tend to fade in bright sunshine, and should be shaded as necessary. They do, however, include some of the finest of present-day perpetuals.)

Ashington Pink: soft pink.

Edward Allwood: rosy-cerise. Long, firm stems. Very fragrant.

May time: light pink. Very lasting when cut.

Montf s Pale Rose: name describes the colour. Very fragrant. Resistant to disease.

Monty’s Pink: salmon-pink. Very free-flowering and highly fragrant. Resistant to disease.

Royal Fragrance: large salmon-pink with exceptionally strong fragrance, the blooms coming on firm stems. Short habit of growth. Tauntonian: rose-pink. Very lasting when cut.

Yellow and Apricot:

Allwood’s Market Apricot: pale apricot. Very free-flowering.

Monty’s Sundown: orange with scarlet markings. Very free-flowering and lasting when cut.

Resistant to disease.

Royal Yellow: medium yellow. Very large flowers.

Mauve and allied colours:

Allwood’s Heather Pink: mauve.

Doris Allwood: salmon-rose and smoky-grey. Very fragrant and unsurpassed for cutting. Eastern Wonder: Heliotrope and cerise-pink.

White:

George Allwood: immense, high-centred pure white flowers with a very strong scent.

Red:

Allwood’s Market Crimson: short-growing. Ideal for buttonholes and very free-flowering.

Robert Allwood: very large bright scarlet flowers.

Royal Crimson: very large, highly fragrant flowers. Resistant to disease.

William Sim: bright scarlet. Very popular with market growers.

Fancies:

Allwood’s Golden Gleam: yellow with scarlet markings.

Dainty Maid: Picotee-type perpetual with a pure white ground and very small old rose edgings to the petals.

Dainty Princess: cream with scarlet picotee edgings to the petals.

Fair Maid: white with cherry-pink markings.

Helena Allwood: white with strawberry markings. Very large flowers borne on firm stems.

Wivelsjield Fancy: cattleya-mauve with crimson markings.

Amateur Carnations:

These are a comparatively new development comprising a hardier, shorter-growing type of perpetual. They are particularly useful for pot culture in cool or cold greenhouses. Where frost can be kept out of the greenhouse, they will flower more or less the whole year round. Good varieties include:

Amateur’s Flake: cherry-red and maroon.

Amateur’s Flame: apricot and flame.

Amateur’s Heliotrope: has smooth petal edges like the border carnation.

Amateur’s Joyful: apricot and brown.

Amateur’s Rapture: heliotrope and blush-pink.

MALMAISON CARNATIONS. These are very little grown today. They are of stiff habit with very large fully double flowers produced chiefly in early summer. The calyx is short and liable to burst, and most varieties produce very little seed. A new race of perpetual flowering Malmaisons is being developed. This retains the strong fragrance and size of flower of the older varieties but flowering continues throughout the year. The Queen Mother is vivid scarlet and Apricot Queen, apricot with flame-red markings.

ANNUAL AND BIENNIAL CARNATIONS. These have been considerably improved in recent years and are very useful for cutting, although inferior to the border and perpetual groups. They come true from seed and may be obtained in separate colours or mixed strains. Seed is sown in a heated greenhouse in February, preferably in John Innes Compost, and the seedlings pricked out into seed boxes in the same way as asters, etc. They are planted out in mid-May. Most types flower in 5—6 months after sowing, continuing until checked by frost. They will bloom for several months longer if potted up in the greenhouse. Stopping is unnecessary.

Giant Chabaud mixed, Giant of Nice mixed, Sutton’s Improved Marguerite and Vanguard are good strains. Orange Sherbet is a named Chabaud variety with orange and apricot flowers flushed scarlet.

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