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Plants Online - Stock

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42

STOCK

Family CRUCEFERAE
Matthiola species
Biennial/Annual

Native to the Mediterranean region.

Matthiola incana of the Levant is the parent of the Brompton and Wallflower-leaved Stocks, a biennial of sturdy erect habit, with flowers varying in colour from white to blush, yellow, purple and red of delightful fragrance.
Matthiola annua (syn. Incana annua) is the parent of Ten-week and Intermediate Stocks, with an equally varied colour range.
From crosses made between Matthiola sinuata and other species has originated the East Lothian Stocks.
Matthiola bicornis, from Greece, is the Night Scented Stock. Of dwarf habit, this annual produces masses of small lilac-purple flowers.

The seed of Matthiola incana is sown in the open in June or July, and the plants placed in their permanent positions about Michaelmas.
Matthiola annua and Matthiola Sinuata should be raised from seed sown under glass early in the year, pricked off into boxes and planted out in May.

Propagation is from seed.

The flowering season of Matthiola incana is from April to July, Matthiola annua from July to October, and Matthiola sinuata August and September.

Stock
Half Hardy Annual and Half Hardy Bulb.
One to two feet.
Flowers of many colours, May to August.

For ordinary garden purposes, leaving out pot-flowers and greenhouse work, there are two main divisions of Stocks, the Brompton, or Spring-flowering, sown in summer to flower the following May, and the Ten-Week, or annual, sown on heat in March, or on a warm border in May, to flower in July and August of the same year.

The Brompton Stocks should be sown in boxes in July, and helped with shade and water as may be necessary.
Plant them out on a piece of sound clean ground, without fresh manure; in October put in their final quarters.
A little shelter from trees or walls may help them through the winter; they are not quite hardy, and unless the soil and climate are favourable the gardener must be prepared for losses.
A well-grown Brompton Stock has a strong woody stem, and a broad tuft of leaves, from which rises a spike of double flowers, crimson-purple, light crimson, or white.

Brompton Stocks are of those things which appear to thrive better in cottage gardens than in more elaborate domains.
The Ten-Week Stocks should be sown in large shallow boxes about the end of March, and put in a temperature of about 55° to 60°.
The seed should be sown thinly, as if the plants are too close, they are apt to damp off. Prick out when large enough to handle on a bed of light, rich soil, still in a temperature of about 60°.
Give plenty of ventilation, and keep the seedlings as near as is practicable to the glass of the frame.
Harden by judicious admission of air, and plant out on beds of rich, well-manured soil about the end of May, a foot apart, taking up the plants carefully with a trowel, and keeping as much mould on the roots as you can.
During the growing season hoe constantly to kill weeds and open the soil; give copious waterings in drought; it may be needful to tie each plant unobtrusively to a small stick.

On light, warm soils, and in southern climes, Stocks may be sown in the open about the first of May.
Make up a nice fine seed-bed, working in some sand and old potting soil; sow thinly in drills about half an inch deep, and cover the bed with netting or black cotton stretched on sticks.
The seedlings must be thinned out, and the survivors allowed to flower where they were sown.

There are several different strains of Ten-Week Stock, such as Dwarfs, Miniatures, Bouquet and Tall kinds.
The dwarf kinds are compact, but dumpy; the tall are the handsomest, but are inclined to straggle.
The colours include white, crimson, pink, carmine, creamy yellow, peach, purple, buff, bluish mauve, coopery.

It should be remembered that in the best of seed one is lucky to get 80 per cent of double flowers; the singles are extremely poor things, and spoil the look of a bed lamentably.
There is no means of judging of the flowers before they blow, and the only resource is to buy the best seed and be philosophic.
All ground Stocks should be heavily manured, and have sufficient moisture.

 

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