Impatiens Balsamina. Half-hardy annual The older methods of growing Balsams prescribed a false system, comprising disbudding, stopping, and other interferences with the natural growth of the plant. The rule of pinching back the leader to promote the growth of side shoots, and removing the

flower buds to increase the size of the plants, was altogether vicious, because the natural growth is more elegant and effective. The finest flowers are produced on the main stem, and these are completely sacrificed by disbudding. It is desirable to make two or three sowings of Balsam, say from the middle of March to the middle of May, the earlier sowings to be put on a sweet hot-bed, although March sowings will soon germinate in a frame, and the May sowing may be made in the open ground on a prepared bed. The soil at every stage should be rich and light, but not rank in any degree. Prick out the plants from the seed-pans directly the first rough leaves show, and soon after shift them again to encourage a stout dwarf habit. A sunny position should be chosen for the bed, in which they may be planted out about the first week of June, or earlier if the weather is particularly favourable. Heat, moisture, and a strong light favour a fine bloom, and, therefore, water must be given whenever dry weather prevails for any length of time. If kept sturdy while under glass, they will need no support of any kind, and although they are peculiarly fleshy in texture, it is seldom they are injured, even by a gale. When grown in pots throughout, the chief points are to shift them often in the early stages, to promote free growth in every reasonable way, and to cease shifting when they are in pots sufficiently large to sustain the strength of the plants. Generally speaking, eight-inch pots will suffice for very fine Balsams, but ten-inch pots may be used for plants from an early sowing. They will probably not show a flower-bud while increased pot room is allowed them; but as soon as their roots touch the sides of the pots the bloom will appear. It is occasionally the practice to lift plants from beds when pot Balsams are wanted. This method has the advantage of being the least troublesome, and as the plants need not be lifted until the flowers show, favourite colours can be chosen.

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