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Cactus Culture for Amateurs eBook

William Watson (poet)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 191 pages of information about Cactus Culture for Amateurs.

When grown on their own roots, Epiphyllums are useful for planting in wire baskets intended to hang near the glass; large and very handsome specimens form in a few years, if young rooted plants are placed rather thickly round the sides of the baskets, and grown in a warm house.  Epiphyllums are employed with good effect for covering walls, which are first covered with peaty soil by means of wire netting, and then cuttings of the Epiphyllums are stuck in at intervals of about 1 ft.  The effect of a wall of the drooping branches of these plants is attractive even when without their beautiful flowers; but when seen in winter, clothed with hundreds of sparkling blossoms, they present a most beautiful picture.  Large plants of Pereskia may be trained over pillars in conservatories and afterwards grafted with Epiphyllums; in fact, there are many ways in which these plants may be effectively employed in gardens.

Species.

E. truncatum (jagged); Bot.  Mag. 2562.—­Branchlets from 1 in. to 3 in. long, and 1 in. wide, with two or three distinct teeth along the edges, and a toothed or jagged apex (hence the specific name).  The flowers are 3 in. long, curved above and below, not unlike the letter S; the petals and sepals reflexed, and exposing the numerous yellow anthers, through which the club-headed stigma protrudes; colour, a deep rose-red, the base of the petals slightly paler.  The varieties differ in having colours which vary from almost pure white, with purplish tips, to a uniform rich purple, whilst such colours as salmon, rose, orange, and scarlet, are conspicuous among them.

[Illustration:  Fig. 9.—­Epiphyllum Russellianum.]

E. Russellianum (Russell’s); Fig. 9.—­This has smaller branchlets than the type plant (E. truncatum), and is thus easily distinguished; they do not exceed 1 in. in length and 1/2 in. in width, whilst the edges are irregularly and faintly notched, not distinctly toothed, as in E. truncatum.  The flowers are a little larger than in the older kind, and are not curved, whilst the petals are narrower; their colour is bright rosy-red.  This species flowers rather later in the year than E. truncatum, and may be had in blossom so late as the month of May or June.  There are several varieties of it which have either larger and darker, or smaller and variously tinted flowers.  Both the species will cross with each other, and probably many of the varieties enumerated by nurserymen have been obtained in this way.

Varieties.

The following is a selection of the best varieties, with a short description of the flowers of each: 

E. bicolor (two-coloured).—­Tube of flower white; petals purple, becoming almost white towards the base.

E. Bridgesii (Bridges’).—­Tube violet; petals dark purple.

E. coccineum (scarlet).—­Bright scarlet, paler at the base of the petals.

E. cruentum (bloody).—­Tube purplish-scarlet; petals bright scarlet.

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