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MAURANDIA

Tender climbing perennial plants which are free flowering and suitable for growing in pots in the greenhouse, or for planting out of doors. They are closely related to the Snapdragon (Antirrhinum), to whose family, Scrophulariaceae, they belong.

These plants, which are from Mexico, have slender stems up to f> ft. in length and climb by means of their leafstalks, which twist around available supports. They have halberdshaped leaves, 2-3 in. wide, and tubular flowers 3 in. in length, which are violet, purple, or rose in color. The name Maurandia commemorates Cartagena Pancratia Maurandy, a student of botany at Cartagena, Spain.

Climbing Plants for a Greenhouse. These plants require a minimum winter temperature of 45 degrees, and the most suitable potting compost consists of equal parts of loam and either peat moss or leaf mold, with sand added freely. The plants are grown in pots, the shoots being trained to stakes, or allowed to trail; or they may be trained to wires or a trellis fixed inside the greenhouse. They also are very effective when growing in hanging baskets.

Sowing Seeds. Plants are obtained by sowing seeds or taking cuttings. Seeds arc sown in welldrained pots of sandy soil in March. The compost is moistened by immersing the seed pot in water, and, after the surplus water has drained away, the seeds are scattered thinly on the surface and covered very lightly with fine soil, which is damped with a fine spray. A pane of glass is laid on the pot, which is placed in a temperature of 45-55 degrees. When the seedlings appear above the soil, the glass is removed and they are set in a light position. As soon as they are 2 in. in height, they arc potted separately in 3-in. pots, and subsequently are repotted in larger pots; finally they are transferred to pots 10 or 12 in. in diameter.

Suitable for Hanging Baskets. For growing in hanging baskets, young plants well rooted in 3-in, pots are removed from them and planted in baskets lined with moss and filled with a compost of loam and leaf mold in equal parts. They are well watered, shaded, and syringed until established, and are then placed in a light, wellventilated position. Well-rooted plants require abundance of water and occasional applications of liquid fertilzer. Plants in large pots may be kept growing vigorously for several years by topdressing with fresh compost in spring, a little of the topsoil being first removed.

Quick-growing Plants. Maurandias are such quick-growing plants, flowering freely in the first year, that it is usual to raise fresh plants annually. If the old plants are retained, however, they are carefully watered in the winter, sufficient water only being given to prevent the leaves from shriveling. From plants which have been kept through the winter, cuttings are obtained to provide new plants.

Taking Cuttings. Young shoots, 2 in. in length, are inserted in a propagating case which is kept close until roots have formed. The cuttings are then potted separately in 3-in. pots and afterwards treated as advised for the seedlings.

Planting Out of Doors. Small seedlings or cuttings well rooted in 3-in. pots may be transplanted out of doors in the North early in June, and set in a sunny position, where the shoots can be trained to wires or trellis. During the summer the soil is kept moist by frequent waterings in dry weather. In autumn the plants may be lifted and placed in large pots so that they can be wintered in the greenhouse and planted out in the garden in the following summer. In mild climates, such as that of California, they may be grown outdoors as permanent perennials.

The chief kinds are M. Barclaiana, violetpurple; M. scandens (Lophospermum scandens), purple and violet; and M. erubescens, rose and white.

 



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