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TENDER BULBS FOR INDOOR CULTURE

Tender bulbs comprise a large and diversified group. Here are to be found the most interesting and colorful bulbous plants for the house, conservatory, and greenhouse. The scope is wide now, yet each succeeding year finds enterprising dealers offering more of these exotic immigrants.

We are made increasingly aware of what a gigantic botanical storehouse Africa is, for many of the plants acknowledge tropical and South Africa as their home. Not content with harboring the world's most bizarre fauna, -the huge deltoid continent must also number among its flora the extremes in beauty and unparalleled form.

Not all of the desirable tender bulbs come from Africa by any means. Some fasten their roots in palm-peppered Malaysian islands-growing within hearing of the Pacific's ceaseless thump as it stretches groping saline fingers towards the headlands. Others are shadowed by South America's stark Cordilleras, or they star the pampas with their bright petals. Mexico mothers some of them, as do India and Asia Minor and Australia. Indeed, it is a most cosmopolitan group that is open to you for selection-an exhibit teeming with horticultural and geographical interest. The difficulty lies in knowing what to choose, because the temptation to try them all is hard to resist. Perhaps you will grow them all; there is no telling where the impetus of a collecting phobia may lead!

Growing tender bulbous plants in the conservatory or house is, in most instances, easier than growing the hardy types. With few exceptions, the species listed do not demand a preliminary rooting period; their roots and -tops start into growth at the same time. After they are potted it is advisable to start them off slowly, i.e. at a lower temperature than later requirements call for. Water vary sparingly at this time. When this class of bulbs has finished flowering, the leaves-in varying lengths of time-will begin to lose their healthy green and acquire a jaundiced appearance. When this takes place, reduce the watering until the leaves brown; then place the container of bulbs in a dry, dark place for a rest. Some bulbs need yearly re-potting. Others-members of the Amaryllis family in particular-may be left in the same pot for several years. The above information is only general. Specific instructions will be found under each group or species in the following list.


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