WHILE the Rose is much more difficult to grow well in the living-room, than most other plants, women who love flowers will attempt its culture, because one fine blossom amply rewards them for a great deal of labor expended in securing it. Perhaps because of the difficulties which have to be overcome in its culture we appreciate it all the more.
Many failures are due to the selection of varieties entirely unsuited to culture in the house. There are but few adapted to the conditions which prevail there, and if we go outside this list we need not expect success.
One of the best Roses for the house is Agrip-pina, an old and standard variety. It is a rich dark crimson in color, not very large, but quite fragrant. Another is Queen's Scarlet, very similar to Agrippina in color, but of stronger habit. These are the only two dark Roses I would advise the amateur to make use of.
Hermosa is a clear, bright pink, quite double and a free bloomer. It has very little fragrance, but what it lacks in this respect it makes up for in the number of its flowers.
Clothilde Soupert is a member of the poly-aniha class of the family. I consider this really the best of all Roses for the living-room. It is strong in habit, producing a large number of branches, each of which often bears a dozen or more flowers. These are of a soft rose color, on first opening, deepening to bright carmine at the center. After a little the outside petals fade to almost white. The flower is not very large, but it is very double, and because of the plant's habit of blooming in clusters, it is very, effective. This variety will succeed where all others fail, and therefore I have no hesitancy in pronouncing it the Rose for the amateur.
There is but one of the hybrid teas that does even fairly well under average amateur treatment. That is La France. If two-year-old plants are procured in spring and grown on well during summer, in pots, they will be likely to give some fine flowers during the winter. Not many, perhaps, but so exquisitely beautiful is this Rose, so deliciously fragrant, that one good flower from it is worth a score of inferior ones.
To grow the Rose well give it a soil of rather heavy loam. It does not have many roots. These are quite large, and it likes to have the soil firm about them. Because of this it does not do well in a soil that is light and spongy. Pot a Rose loosely and it will live on indefinitely, but you will not be likely to get a blossom from it. The loam should be made rich by the addition of well-rotted cow-manure, or bone-meal. Not very large pots will be needed if fertilizers are to be used.
The Rose blooms only on new branches, and therefore such treatment must be given as will result in the production of these. Feed the plant generously to keep up constant growth. When all the buds on a branch have developed into flowers, cut it back to within an eye or two of the main stalk. Soon new branches will start from these points, and these will bear a crop of flowers. In this way, by sharp pruning and liberal feeding, we keep the plants making growth, and growth, as a general thing, means blossoms.
The Rose is subject to attacks of the aphis. The remedy is Nicotocide.
Red spider is also likely to take up its quarters on it. Remedy, dip-baths and frequent showerings.
It is sometimes attacked by mildew. Remedy, freedom from all cold drafts, and flowers of sulphur sprinkled over the plant while slightly damp.
In summer, encourage your plants to rest. Water moderately, and give no fertilizers. Cut away most of the old growth. In October or November give more water, and weak applications of fertilizer, increasing the amount as growth sets in.
The Rose must have a sunny window to grow in. It will surely disappoint you if kept in any other.