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MANETTIA

Tender, evergreen climbing plants with attractive flowers. They belong to the family Rubiaceae and are natives of Brazil, The shoots attain a length of from 10 - 15 ft., have ovate or lanceolate pointed leaves and tubular flowers, 1-2 in. long, with four spreading petal tips; they are white yellowr or red, and in some kinds the tips of the petals are yellow. The name Manettia commemorates Xavier Manetti, of the Botanic Gardens, Florence.

Showy Climbing Plants. These twining plants are trained to wires or a trellis fixed to the wall or roof of the greenhouse or grown in large pots and the shoots trained to a tripod of stakes. A winter temperature of 50 degrees is required. The best potting compost consists of equal parts of loam and fibrous peat, with crushed charcoal and sand added freely. Plants grown in pots should be repotted in March, They may be planted outdoors in summer. In the far South they may be grown permanently outdoors.

Details of Management. Well-drained pots must be used, as a waterlogged condition of the soil is harmful. The plants are knocked out of the pots, the crocks and a little of the loose soil being removed, and they are then set in pots two sizes larger. Alter potting, they must be frequently syringed and shaded from sunlight until established. Plants which are trained to the roof or wall of the greenhouse should be planted in a prepared bed of compost. A hole 2 1/2 ft. deep is taken out and (1 in. of broken brick or rubble is placed in the bottom. On this a 3-in.-thick layer of rough leaves or turf is laid, and the remainder of the space is filled writh the same compost as advised lor potting.

Plants, well-rooted in 5-in. pots, are then set in position; they must be frequently syringed until the roots have established themselves in the new soil. Pruning is done as soon as the flowers have faded, when the shoots are slightly shortened.

Propagation by Cuttings. Small side shoots, 2 or 3 in. in length, are inserted in a propagating case in a 60-70-degree temperature. The case is kept closed to maintain a humid atmosphere, which prevents the cuttings from wilting. When rooted, they are removed from the propagating case and set on the open benches of the greenhouse. After a week or ten days each plant is then potted in a 3-in. pot and subsequently into a 5-in. pot, from which it is set in its permanent position.                                                       j

During the summer months water must be applied freely to the soil and the atmosphere kept moist by frequently damping the floor and benches. During the winter the soil is only moistened when it becomes quite dry, and less syringing is required, although it must not be discontinued altogether, as in a dry atmosphere red spider mites are liable to infest the plants.

The chief kinds are M. bicolor, scarlet and orange, spring and summer; M. coccinea, pink and red; and M. glabra, 10-15 ft., crimson-scarlet, winter and spring.

 



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