Gardening Articles


A number of the vines make very excellent house plants, though one seldom sees them. This seems rather strange when one takes into consideration the facts that they are easily grown and can be used for decorative effects impossible with any other plants. If

there is one particular caution to be given in regard to caring for plants in the house, it is to keep the foliage clean. Naturally a vine that runs up the window trim, and maybe halfway across the wall to a picture frame, cannot well be sprinkled or syringed; but the leaves can be occasionally wiped off with a moist, soft cloth. Keep the pores open; they have to breathe. Cissus discolor--This altogether too little known vine has the most beautiful foliage of any. The leaves are a velvety green veined with silver, the under surfaces being reddish and the stems red. It is a rapid grower and readily managed if kept on the warm side. New plants may be had from cuttings at almost any season. C. antarctica is better known and easily grown. Clematis--This popular outdoor vine is sometimes successfully used as a house plant, and has the advantage of doing well in a low temperature. Cuttings rooted in June and grown on will make good plants, but the best way will be to get at the florist's two or three plants of the splendid new varieties now to be had. Coboea scandens--The Coboea is sometimes called the cup-and-saucer flower. It is very energetic, growing under good conditions to a length of twenty to thirty feet. The flowers, which are frequently two inches across, are purplish in color and very pretty. They are borne quite freely. The coboea is easily managed if kept properly trained. As the plant in proportion to the pot room is very large, liquid manures or fertilizers are desirable. Either seeds or cuttings will furnish new plants. The former should be placed edge down, one in a two-inch pot and pressed in level with the surface. They will soon need repotting, and must be shifted frequently until they are put in six-or eight-inch pots. Coboea scandens variegata is a very handsome form and should without fail be tried. Hoya carnosa--This is commonly known as the wax plant on account of its thick leaves and wax-like flowers, which are a delicate pink and borne in large pendulous umbels. It is easily cared for; give full sun in summer and keep moderately dry in winter. Leave the old flower stalks on the plant. Cuttings may be rooted in early spring in pots, plunged in bottom heat. The Ivys--The ivys are the most graceful of all the vines, and with them the most artistic effects in decoration may be produced. I have always wondered why they are not more frequently used, for they are in many respects ideal as house plants; they produce more growth to a given size pot than any other plants, they thrive in the shade, they withstand the uncongenial conditions usually found in the house, and are among the hardiest of plants suitable for house culture. And yet how many women will fret and fume over a Lorraine begonia or some other refractory plant, not adapted at all to growing indoors, when half the amount of care spent on a few ivys would grace their windows with frames of living green, giving a setting to all their other plants which would enhance their beauty a hundred percent. The English ivy (Hedera helix) is the best for house culture. A form with small leaves, H. Donerailensis, is better for many purposes. And then there is a variegated form, which is very beautiful. Large cuttings, rooted in the fall, will make good plants. Hedera helix arborescens is known as the Irish ivy and is a very rapid grower. The German ivy (Senecio scandens) has leaves the shape of the English ivy, and is a wonderfully rapid grower and a great climber. It lacks, however, the substance and coloring of the real ivy. It is, nevertheless, valuable for temporary uses, and a plant or two should always be kept. Cuttings root freely and grow at any time. Manettia--This is a cheery, free flowering little vine, especially good for covering a small trellis in a pot. The brilliant little flowers, white, blue or red and yellow, are very welcome winter visitors. Cuttings root easily in summer and the plants are very easily cared for, being particularly free from insect pests. Give partial shade in summer. Mimosa moschatus--This is the common Musk Plant which, according to one's taste, is pleasant--or the opposite. It is of creeping habit and has very pretty foliage. There are a number of varieties. That described above is covered with small yellow flowers. M. m. Harrisonii has larger flowers. M. cardinalis, red flowers and is dwarf in habit. M. glutinosus is erect in habit, with salmon colored flowers, very pretty. Moneywort (Lysimachia Nummularia)--This is a favorite basket plant, as it is a rapid grower and not particular about its surroundings, so long as it has enough water. While the flowers are pretty, being a cheery yellow, the plant is grown for its foliage. New plants may be had by dividing old clumps. Morning-Glory--This beautiful flower is seldom seen in the house, but will do well there if plenty of light can be given. Neither vines nor flowers grow as large as they do out-of-doors, but they make very pretty plants. Nasturtium--Another common summer flower that makes a very pretty plant in the house. Start seeds in August and shift on to five-or-six-inch pots. There is also a dwarf form and other sorts with variegated ivy leaves that make splendid pot plants. Of the tall sorts some of the new named varieties, like Sunlight and Moonlight, give beautiful and very harmonious effects. They will be a very pleasant surprise to those familiar only with the old bright mixed colors. Othonna crassifolia--This pretty little yellow flowered trailing plant, sometimes known as "little Pickles" is quite a favorite for boxes, or as a hanging or bracket plant. It should be given the full sun but little water in winter. When too long, it it may be cut back freely. Root cuttings, or the small tufts along the trailing stems, in spring. Smilax--In some ways this is the most airily beautiful and graceful of all the decorative vines. And it is valuable not only for its own beauty, but for its usefulness in setting off the beauty of other flowers. It is very easily grown if kept on the warm side, and given plenty of root room. Care should be taken to provide green colored strings for the vines to climb up, as they make a very rapid growth when once started. The best way to provide plants is to get a few from the florist late in the spring, or start from seed in February. New plants do better than those kept two seasons. Sweet Peas--Of late years a great deal has been done with sweet peas in winter, and where one can give them plenty of light, they will do well inside. Plenty of air and a temperature a little on the cool side, with rich soil, will suit them. Start seed in very early fall, or in winter, according as you want bloom early or late. There are now a number of varieties grown especially for winter work such as Christmas Pink, Christmas White, etc. Five or six varieties will give a very satisfactory collection. The fragrant, beautiful blossoms are always welcome, but doubly so in winter. Do not let the flowers fade on the vines, as it increases the number of flowers to have them taken off. Thunbergia--The Thunbergia, sometimes called the "butterfly plant," is the best all-round flowering vine for the house. The flowers are freely produced, average an inch to an inch-and-a-half across, and cover a wide range of colors, including white, blue, purple, yellow and shades and combinations of these. Its requirements are not special: keep growing on during summer into a somewhat bushy form, as the vines will grow rapidly when allowed to run in the house. It can be grown from seed but cuttings make the best plants. Root early in spring, and by having a succession of rooted cuttings blossoms may be had all winter. Thunbergia laurifolia has flowers of white and blue; T. fragrans, pure white; and T. Mysorensis, purple and yellow.

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