Houseplants and How to Grow Them

Jan 6, 2013 by

Houseplants and How to Grow Them by Parker Barnes was originally published in 1915 is a very cool old book all about, you guessed it – House Plants and How to Grow Them!  Lots of great ideas and hints to keep your plants happy and healthy year round.

A few paragraphs from the book to give you a feel for it:

“No window garden would be complete without some bulbous plants like amaryllis, calla, etc. The common calla (Richardia Africand) has been a favourite house plant for years, but, unfortunately, it has not always bloomed satisfactorily. The calla is a gross feeder, so needs rich soil. Let it contain, if possible, about one-third of well-rotted horse manure and the balance of rotted sod with enough sand to make good drainage. I believe it is the summer treatment of the bulbs which, to a large degree, determines whether the plants will flower or not. If water is withheld from them, the pots laid over on their sides in a dry, shaded place, so that the bulbs may rest, amateurs will have no trouble about non-flowering during the winter.

Start the bulbs into growth in September. At first give them one good watering (which will be sufficient until the roots have started growth), and place the pots in a warm window. Until the plants are in good growth, water sparingly; after that, copious amounts of water will be needed until late in the following spring or early summer, when the bulbs are to be dried off again. The Little Gem calla is a dwarf form — twelve to sixteen inches high — which is well worth cultivation in the window. There are several kinds of calla in the trade besides the common one. The best of these is the golden calla (Richardia Elliottiana), a summer blooming kind.

Keep the bulbs over winter in a cellar, or other convenient place, in a temperature of 45 degrees. In April pot into rich soil and give a watering. For the following week or two they can be left in any cool, dark place, such as in the cellar, or under a bench, until the roots have started. Having once started, the plants will make a rapid growth and come into bloom in ten or twelve weeks. The habit is the same as that of the common calla. The foliage is a rich.”


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