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How To Grow Carnations

These are divided into three classes, but they are all said originally to come from the clove: (1) Flakes, which are striped with one colour and white; (2) Bizarres, those streaked with two colours and white; (3) Picotees, which have each petal margined with colour on a white or yellow ground, or dotted with small spots.

For pot culture, put two roots in an 11-in. pot, filled with light, turfy loam, well drained (too much moisture being injurious), pressing the earth firmly round the roots. Stand them on a bed of ashes in a sheltered position, and when the flower-stems appear, stake and tie up carefully. As the buds swell thin out the weakly ones. To prevent them bursting unevenly put an india-rubber ring round the bud, or tie it with raffia.

They will flourish in the open borders even in towns if planted in light loam, and may be propagated by layers. Choose for this purpose fine outside shoots, not those which have borne flowers. Cut off all the lower leaves, leaving half a dozen near the top untouched. Make incisions on the under sides of the layers, just below the third joint.

Peg down, and cover the stems with equal quantities of leaf-mould and light loam. Do not water them till the following day. The young plants may be separated and potted off as soon as they have taken root. They may also be increased by pipings. Fill the pots nearly to the top with light, rich mould and fill up with silver sand. Break off the pipings at the third joint, then in each piping cut a little upward slit, plant them pretty thickly in the sand, and place the pot on a gentle hotbed, or on a bed of sifted coal ashes.

Put on the sashes, and keep the plants shaded from the sun till they have taken root, then harden off gradually, and place each of the young plants separately in a small pot. Carnations may also be grown from seed sown in spring. When the seedlings have made six or eight leaves, prick them out into pots or beds. They will flower the following year. The beds must be well drained, as stagnant wet is very injurious to them.