One of the showiest of greenhouse bench plants, with 4-inch or larger flowers of delicate creamy white through apricot to dark orange, produced over a 6-month period. Heat-resistant types bloom freely on long straight stems, furnishing long-lasting cut flowers well into summer.
Sow seed (germination 10 days) toward end of July for January flowers, in October for February and March bloom, and in November for flowers through June. Mulch with peatmoss to prevent damp-off, and remove some of the lower leaves to allow free circulation of air and avoid stem rot. A soil mix containing well-rotted manure and superphosphate produces superior flowers. Set plants 10 to 12 inches apart in bench to give room for branching. Pinch out terminal bud to produce more flowers on new growth.
For large exhibition blooms, remove all but one bud from each stem. Water plants freely and give plenty of sunshine. Discard plants when flowering season ends.
Art Shades, 2-feet tall plants with apricot, cream, orange, lemon flowers in mixture; 'Flame', 2-feet tall, clear brilliant orange heat-resistant flowers up to 5-inch across.