A member of the Geranium family whose flowers rival the Orchid in beauty of color. The late Peter Henderson used to say that this was the showiest plant he had any knowledge of, and that he would rather have it than any other for the spring decoration of the greenhouse and conservatory. Certainly it would be difficult to find anything more brilliant and rich in color. There are varieties of the purest white, others of dark crimson, scarlet, vermilion, and delicate rose. Nearly all the colored varieties are blotched and flaked and feathered with maroon or white on their upper petals. Some of the whites have markings of these colors, making them strikingly beautiful because of the strong contrast. Many varieties of recent introduction have broad petals with crimped and ruffled edges, giving the effect of a double flower.
The season of bloom is early spring. The flowers are borne in large clusters, and the entire plant will be covered with them for weeks.
I would advise the purchase of young plants in spring. Grow these during the summer for winter-flowering. Give the same kind of soil and the same treatment as advised for the Geranium. By frequently pinching them back they can be made to take on a bushy habit. You want all the branches you can get, for the more branches there are the more flowers you will have.
After the flowering season is over, cut back the plants till there is nothing left of them but a stubby stalk. Use the branches cut away to make cuttings. During the summer water very moderately, thus encouraging the plants to remain nearly dormant. Keep in a cool room when brought into the house in fall. They will generally begin to make vigorous growth by the holidays. As long as it is strong and healthy use no fertilizers. Hold them in reserve for the time when buds begin to show. Plants of very rapid growth often refuse to bloom, their strength being expended in the production of branches instead of flowers.
As a general thing young plants will be found more satisfactory than old ones.
If there is an aphis anywhere about the place he will be sure to locate himself on this plant. You will have to fight long and hard to rout him, but the liberal use of Nicotocide will do the work.
The popular name of this plant is Lady Washington Geranium.
A very desirable plant of easy culture.
Flowers pea-shaped, produced in spray-like clusters. Color pure white. A very florifer-ous plant, blooming throughout the greater part of the season. Of slender habit. Can be trained up about the window with fine effect.
Give it a soil half loam, half turfy matter. Water well. Cut back sharply after each period of bloom.