Cinerarias for Garden and Greenhouse
These plants belong to the daisy family and are really perennials but in gardens are invariably renewed each year from seed, which is sown in April, May or June. Often two sowings are made, one early to give flowers from November until about January and another late to carry on until April or May. There are several different types, all bushy plants but differing in size and flower character. The Grandiflora varieties, with flowers up to 10cm (4in) across, are the most popular but the Stellata varieties, with much smaller, more numerous flowers, are very attractive and the Multiflora varieties, with flowers of intermediate size, have the additional merit of being compact in habit, a characteristic even more marked in the Nana Multiflora varieties which are very suitable for small greenhouses. Colours in all these types are rich and varied, blue, violet, purple, crimson and red, often with a white zone around a dark central disk.
Cinerarias are almost hardy and require little artificial heat. Seed should be sown from April to June in a peat or-based seed in a temperature of 15-16°C (60°F). Seedlings are pricked out into trays of similar compost and later potted singly, as advised for primulas except that the largest plants may require 15cm (6in) pots and the final potting will be in September or October. Like primulas, cinerarias will be happier in a frame in summer and, even when returned to the greenhouse in late September, they should be given maximum light and as much ventilation as is compatible with a minimum temperature of 8°C (46°F). They need a fair amount of water in summer while growing fast, but in autumn and winter should be kept no more than moist and great care should be taken to keep water off the leaves and crowns which rot readily if constantly wet.