J. C. (John Claudius) Loudon.

The different modes of cultivating the pine-apple, from its first introduction into Europe to the late improvements of T. A. Knight, esq online

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Online LibraryJ. C. (John Claudius) LoudonThe different modes of cultivating the pine-apple, from its first introduction into Europe to the late improvements of T. A. Knight, esq → online text (page 8 of 12)
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one pound ; tobacco, half a pound ; mix vomica,
an ounce ; which boil all together in four English
gallons of soft water to three, and set it aside to
cool. In this liquor immerse the whole plant,
after the roots and leaves are trimmed for potting ;
and this is the whole matter. Plants in any other
state, and which are placed in the bark-bed, may
safely be watered over head with this liquor ; and


as the bug harbours most in the angles of the leaves,
it stands the better chance of being effectual, on
account that it will also there remain longest, and
there its sediment will settle. In using it in this
latter way, however, if repeated waterings be ne-
cessary, the liquor should be reduced in strength
by the addition of a third or a fourth part water.

" The brown scaly insect, also a coccus, is often
found on the Pine, and other stove plants j but I
never could perceive that it does any other injury
than dirty them, and so is of less importance than
the other species, which eats or corrodes the leaves,
in so far as it leaves them full of brown specks or
blotches. The above liquor, however, is a remedy
for either, and indeed for most insects, on account
of its strength, and glutinous nature.

" Ants are also to be found in the Pinery ; but I
never could observe that they do the plants any
harm, though they are generally to be found in the
pots, and among the bark. They are most fre-
quently to be met with there, if the coccus be pre-
sent ; and seem to feed on its larvae, or perhaps on
its faeces."

Fruit produced. He does not state any deter-
minate object as to this subject ; if the object be
to have large fruit, he says, all suckers of the root
and stem must be twisted off; and to retard the
progress of fruit that is shown too early, he re-
commends re-potting the plants in February. He
says, " If Pine Apples be not cut soon after they
begin to colour, that is, just when the fruit is of a

H 4


greenish yellow, or straw colour, they fall greatly
off in flavour and richness ; and that sharp lus-
cious taste so much admired, becomes insipid.


Culture of the Pine Apple, by Mr. William Griffin, Gardener
to J.C. Girardot, Esq. at Kelham r in Nottinghamshire, and now
to Samuel Smith, Esq. of Woodhall, in Hertfordshire.

MR. GRIFFIN has been a most successful culti-
vator of the Pine Apple ; perhaps more so for the
limited means which he possessed at Kelham, than
either M'Phail or Baldwin.

Form of House. This is so nearly that of
Speechly, that we do not consider it necessary to
give the details.

Soil. Mr. Griffin laughs at those who prescribe
" many different strange ingredients for composts ;"
adding, that, " after numerous experiments made
with mixtures of deers', sheeps', pigeons', hens',
and rotten stable-dung, with soot, and other ma-
nures, in various proportions and combinations with
fresh soil of different qualities from pastures and
waste lands, I can venture with confidence to re-
commend the following : Procure from a pasture,
or waste land, a quantity of brown, rich, loamy
earth, if of a reddish colour the better, but of a fat-
tish mouldy temperature ; that by squeezing a
handful of it together, and opening your hand, it
will readily fall apart again : be cautious not to go



deeper than you find it of that pliable texture;
likewise procure, if possible, a quantity of deers'-
dung : if none can be conveniently got, sheeps'-dung
will do, and a quantity of swines'-dung. Let the
above three sorts be brought to some convenient
place, and laid up in three different heaps ridge-
ways, for at least six months ; and then mix them
in the following manner, covering the dung with a
little soil before it is mixed : four wheelbarrows of
the above earth ; one barrow of sheep's-dung, and
two barrows of swine's-dung. This composition,"
he adds, " if carefully and properly prepared, will
answer every purpose for the growth of Pine-plants
of every age and kind. It is necessary that it should
remain a year before applied to use, that it may
receive the advantage of the summer's sun and
winter's frost ; and it need not be screened or sifted
before using, but only well broken with the hands
and spade, as when finely sifted it becomes too com-
pact for the roots of the plants."

General management. In rearing the young
plants, he generally plants the crowns in the bark till
they have struck root ; but the suckers he pots at
once, unless they are small and green at bottom,
when he treats them like the crowns. The pots he
uses for both crowns and suckers are five inches
diameter, and four inches deep, unless the suckers
are very strong, when he puts them in pots seven
inches and a quarter wide, by six and a half inches
deep. The plants are shifted in the March follow-
ing into pots nine inches in diameter, by eight inches


deep, " turning each singly out of its present pot,
with a ball of earth entire around its roots, unless
any appear unhealthy or any ways defective, when
it is eligible to shake the earth from the roots, and
trim off all the parts that appear not alive. He
plunges them in the bark (refreshed as at each
shifting) eighteen inches from plant to plant in the
row, and twenty inches distance row from row."

Mr. Griffin shifts for the last time in the October
of the year preceding them in which the fruit is ex-
pected ; the pots he uses are twelve inches in
diameter, and ten inches deep. He plunges them
in the bark-bed, about twenty inches plant from
plant, and two feet distance from row to row. He
says, " place the first row eighteen inches from the
kirb, angling them in the rows as you go on."

It is of some consequence to remark, that Grif-
fin's practice in not divesting the plants at any one
shifting of their balls of earth, differs from that of
Speechly, Nicol, and most other practitioners, ex-
cepting Baldwin. It appears highly probable, that
by not disturbing the balls of healthy plants, they
will produce their fruit both earlier and of a larger
size ; for the cutting off the roots must produce a
check in the growth of the plant, and their renewal
must occupy its chief energies for some time, and
thus lessen the vigour of the leaves; since the
leaves and roots of all plants assist each other al-
ternately as occasion requires.

Those who advocate the practice of shaking off
the balls of earth, and cutting off the roots of


Pines in the second year's spring shifting, say, that
though, at first sight, it has an unnatural appear-
ance, yet, on more minute enquiry, it will be
found congenial to nature. In the first place, they
say that they only cut away the lower decaying
roots, and preserve all the others, unless they are
bruised by the shaking off the ball ; or injured by
disease, or otherwise. In the next place, they
state, that on attentively examining the Pine-
plant, it will be found, that, in its mode of
rooting, it may be classed with the strawberry,
vine, and crowfoot, which throw out fresh roots
every year, in part among, but chiefly above, the
old ones. This done, the old ones become torpid
and decay, and to cut them clear away, if it could
be done in all plants of this habit, would, it is said,
be assisting nature, and contribute to the growth
of the new roots. At the same time, it is to be ob-
served, that encouraging, in any extraordinary de-
gree, the production of roots, though it will ulti-
mately increase the vigour of the herb and fruit,
will retard their progress to maturity.

Speechly has the following judicious observations
in allusion to those who recommend always shift-
ing with the balls entire.

" First, It is observable, that the Pine-plant be-
gins to make its roots at the very bottom of the
stem, and as the plant increases in size, fresh roots
are produced from the stem, still higher and high-
er; and the bottom -roots die in proportion: so


that, if a plant in the greatest vigour be turned
out of its pot as soon as the fruit is cut, there will
be found at the bottom a part of the stem, several
inches in length, naked, destitute of roots, and
smooth : now, according to the above method, the
whole of the roots which the plant produces being
permitted to remain on the stem to the last, the
old roots decay and turn mouldy, to the great de-
triment of those afterwards produced.

" Secondly, The first ball which remains with
the plant full two years, by length of time will be-
come hard, cloddy, and exhausted of its nourish-
ment, and must, therefore, prevent the roots after-
wards produced from growing with that freedom
and vigour, which they would do in fresher and
better mould.

" Thirdly, The old ball continually remaining
after the frequent shiftings, it will be too large
when put into the fruiting-pot, to admit of a suf-
ficient quantity of fresh mould to support the plant
till its fruit becomes ripe, which is generally a
whole year from the last time of shifting."

In giving air and water, Mr. Griffin differs no-
thing from Nicol ; he waters moderately in winter,
and more liberally in the growing season, from
March till October ; want of water to keep the
plants moist, he considers one of the reasons of
their showing fruit prematurely. He never waters
over the leaves in any stage, nor gives much at the
roots in damp weather.


With respect to temperature, this author differs
from most others who have written on the Pine,
but not from many very successful practitioners.
He recommends 60 as the heat proper for the
Pine in every stage, not exceeding five or six de-
grees over or under. The bottom heat, which he
considers proper, is from 90 to 100. Treatise on
the Pine Apple, p. 60. and 66.

Insects. After many trials and experiments, he
found the following the most effectual wash for
destroying insects on Pines :

" To one gallon of soft rain-water, add eight
ounces of soft green soap, one ounce of tobacco,
and three table spoonfuls of turpentine ; stir and
mix them well together in a watering-pot, and let
them stand for a day or two. When you are going
to use this mixture, stir and^mix it well again, then
strain it through a thin cloth. If the fruit only is
infested, dash the mixture over .the crown and
fruit, with a squirt, until all is fairly wet ; and what
runs down the stem of the fruit will kill all the in-
sects that are amongst the bottom of the leaves.
When young plants are infested, take them out of
their pots, and shaking all the earth from the roots,
(tying the leaves of the largest plants together,)
and plunge them into the above mixture, keeping
every part covered for the space of five minutes ;.
then take them out, and set them on a clean place,
with their tops declining downwards, for the mix-
ture to drain out of their centre. When the plants


are dry, put them into smaller pots than before,
and plunge them into the bark-bed."

Fruit produced. Mr. Griffin's object seems to have
been to produce large fruit in the proper season.
In the year 1802, when gardener to J. C. Girardot,
Esq. at Kelham, near Nottingham, he cut twenty
Queen Pines, which weighed together eighty-seven
pounds seven ounces. In 1803, one weighing five
pounds three ounces. In July, 1804, one of the
New Providence kind, weighing seven pounds two
ounces. In August, 1804, one of the same kind,
weighing nine pounds three ounces. And in 1805,
he cut twenty-two Queen Pines, which weighed
together one hundred and eighteen pounds three


Culture of the Pine Apple, by Mr. Thomas Baldwin, Gardener
to the Marquis of Hertford, at Ragley, in Warwickshire, from
1805 to the present time.

MR. BALDWIN is reputed the first Pine cultivator
in England ; he has given some account of his
practice in a tract of a few pages, which, being sold
much above the usual price of printed books, never
obtained so much circulation as manuscript copies
of it, which were handed about among the principal
Pine-growers near London.


Form of House. The succes-
sion, or nursing pits, according
to Mr. Baldwin's plan (fig. 11.), in
which the young plants are to re-
main both winter and summer, should be con-
structed of timber, seven feet wide, and seven
feet three inches high at the back, the front being
in the same proportion. The method of prepar-
ing the bed is as follows : " Sink your pit (2.)
three feet three inches deep, as long as you re-
quire, and sufficiently broad to admit of linings on
each side (1,1.); make a good drain at the bottom
of the pit to keep it dry ; then set posts, about the
dimensions of six inches square, in the pit, at con-
venient distances, (say about the width of the top
lights,) and case it round with one inch and a
half deal wrought boards, above the surface, and
below with any inferior boards or planks. The
dimensions of my succession-bed or frame, are
thirty-nine feet long, and seven feet wide; contain-
ing two hundred and seventy-three square feet,
which will hold three hundred and fifty suckers,
from the end of September till the seventh of

Soil. ' From old pasture or meadow ground
strip off the turf, and dig to the depth of six or
eight inches, according to the goodness of the soil ;
draw the whole together to some convenient place,
and mix it with one-half of good rotten dung ; fre-
quently turn it over for twelve months, and it will


be fit for use. This is the only compost dung for
young and old plants."

General management. The general practice
of Mr. Baldwin is to take the suckers from the
fruiting plants about the end of September, and
lay them in a warm place for about three days ;
he then pulls off a few of their bottom leaves,
which makes them ready for planting. " In mak-
ing your bed, he says, lay three-fourths of new tan
at the bottom of the pit, and lay old tan upon that,
to reach within three inches of the top ; on the
surface of this sift old tan to the thickness of three
inches, beating it down well with the spade, then
plant the suckers in the tan about four or five
inches apart, according to the size of the plants,
placing the tallest in the backside of the frame,
and the shortest in the front. In this situation let
them remain till the month of April following ;
then take up the plants out of the tan-bed, and di-
vest them of all their root ; and remember that at
any future transplanting the roots must not be
taken off. Plant them in pots of five, six, and
seven inches diameter, according to the size of the
plants, but before planting let the pots be filled
with the prepared compost already mentioned.
About the middle of June following, when the pots
are beginning to be filled with roots, take out the
plants with their balls whole, and plant them in
pots about nine inches in diameter, being filled
with the same rich compost, replanting them into
the bed, and let them remain there till the end of


September. Be careful at each transplanting,
while the plants are out of the beds, to have the
beds put into a proper state by the addition of
fresh tan, &c.

" When the plants are out of the stoves in the
month of September, prepare the pits in the same
manner as directed for the succession-beds, with
three-fourths of new tan at the bottom, &c. ; then
shift the plants into pots about fourteen inches dia-
meter at the top, and plant them at suitable dis-
tances for fruiting ; plunge the pots at first half-
way into the tan, till the heat diminishes to a safe
temperature, then fill up the interstices between
the pots with tan, and as the plants are now sta-
tioned, let them so remain till they are fruited off
for the table. The plants, young and old, had
best be near the glass, and small stoves are to be
preferred, because they require less fire. The glass
should be closely puttied, to keep out the cold
air, and to retain the warm.

" The fruiting-house during the winter should be
kept at about seventy of Fahrenheit's scale. It
may be left in the evening about seventy-five, and
it will be found in the morning about sixty-five, so
that no attendance during the night will be neces-

" There should be no water given to the young
suckers from September till April, while they re-
main in the tan without pots. After they are potted
they require to be watered two or three times a
week during the summer, according as the temper-



ature may be. When they are removed into the
f'ruiting-house in September, they should be wa-
tered cautiously till towards February, and as the
spring advances they will require a large supply.
Never water the plants in the common broad-cast
method, over their heads and leaves.

" Give air in the stoves and frames, both in sum-
mer and winter, when the weather will permit, from
the back and ends, but not from the roof.

" Expeditious cultivation. The New Providence,
Black Antigua, Jamaica, and Enville, and the other
large sorts of Ananas, will require the cultivation
of three years to bring them to perfection, but the
Old Queen and the Ripley's New Queen may be
brought to perfection in fifteen months. To effect
this, it must be observed, that some of the plants
will fruit in February, or the beginning of March,
and consequently that the suckers may be taken
off in June* or the beginning of July ; make then
a good bed of tan with linings of litter round the
outside to keep in the tan ; make the bed to fit a
large melon frame ; put the suckers into pots of
about nine inches diameter, filled with the com-
post ; plunge them into the bed prepared in regular
order, and throw a mat over them in hot weather
for shade till they have taken root ; let them re-
main till the end of September, and then shift them
into pots of about twelve inches diameter, and
plunge them in the fruiting-house." He has had
fine crops of Pines raised from these suckers, many
of them four pounds each, from plants only fifteen



months old. " This method, in point both of time
and expence, has greatly the advantage of the
common plan of raising Pines in three years by
fires, when the fruit at last is frequently small and

" It is a peculiar recommendation of this plan,
that the plants reared in frames without fire, the first
year seldom or never run to fruit ; whereas, on the
contrary, when stoves are used first for a nursery
for young plants, and next for succession plants,
and lastly, for plants for the fruiting-house, it
is seldom that one-third of the plants come to
the forcing-house, because so many of them
have run to fruit; and even those that stand
are necessarily dried and stunted, being subject-
ed to the attacks of various insects ; not to men-
tion the enormous care and expence attendant
upon a three years' cultivation. The above ap-
pears to me to be the most easy and economical
plan to raise Pines ; one-third of the coals are suf-
ficient, and less than one-half of the labour and
buildings required for that purpose." Culture of the
Ananas, p. 28.

Insects. After, as usual, many fruitless attempts,
he at last discovered the following method : " Take
horse-dung from the stable, the fresher the better,
sufficient to make a hot-bed three feet high, to
receive a melon frame three feet deep at the back ;
put on the frame and lights immediately, and
cover the whole with mats to bring up the heat.
When the bed is at the strongest heat, take some


faggots, open them, and spread the sticks over
the surface of the bed on the dung, so as to keep
the plants from being scorched ; set the plants or
suckers bottom uppermost on the sticks ; shut
down your lights quite close, and cover them over
well with double mats, to keep in the steam. Let
the plants remain in this state one hour, then take
out the plants and wash them in cold water previ-
ously brought to the side of your bed, set them in
a dry place with their tops downwards to drain,
and afterwards plant them. This treatment is sure
to kill every insect. You will observe likewise, that
if your suckers are kept in the frames all the win-
ter, stuck in the tan without soil or fire, the effluvia
from the linings are sure to kill all the bugs." Cul-
ture of the Ananas, p. 33.

Fruit Produced. The general crop is produced
in the usual season, viz. from June to September,
or October ; but some are produced every month in
the year. The large sorts, as the New Providence,
&c. require three years to bring them to perfection,
but the Old Queen, and Ripley's New Queen, may
be brought to perfection in three months ; though
from the circumstances requisite to render this practi-
cable, viz. plants fruiting in February, or the be-
ginning of March, it must be considered more a
matter of accident or curiosity than of any real ad-
vantage. It is evident, at all events, that it can
never become general ; for certainly no gardener
would desire all his plants to come into fruit in
February or March. Mr. Baldwin grows his fruit


to a very considerable size even when produced in
so short a period. " At a meeting of the Horticul-
tural Society of London, held in October, 1817,
T. Baldwin, gardener to the Marquis of Hertford,
at Ragley, presented a Queen Pine of great beauty
and superior flavor. It measured sixteen inches in
circumference, seven inches in lengh, and weighed
four pounds. The plant on which it was produced
was little more than fifteen months old." Hort. Tr.
vol. iii. p. 118.

Remarks. The following judicious remarks on
Mr. Baldwin's plan are by Mr. M'Phail. " Mr.
Baldwin's method," he says, " appears to differ no-
thing in principle from the methods I practised ;
but we differ a little in practice, that is, in the
manner of the application of the elements neces-
sary to make the plants grow fast and vigorous, and
to produce fine fruit ; and likewise in the mode of
disrooting and planting, which difference I conceive
to be of little consequence. He grows his plants
in good earth, enriched with plenty of well-rotted
manure. He keeps the plants in a strong heat, and
gives their roots plenty of water. He sets his fruit-
ing plants in a bed of tan in the month of Septem-
ber, and there it appears they are stationed till the
fruit be ripened the following summer. Now, I
think, a bed made up in September, is not able to
retain a sufficient heat for the growth of the Pine
Apple plant for so long a period of time.

" Once, by way of experiment, in a small hot-
house, I made up a bed in the pit of it in the month

i 3


of October, and laid upon the surface of the bed
one foot thick of good earth, and turned out of
their pots fine Pine Apple plants, intended to fruit
the succeeding year, and I set the plants into the
earth on the surface of the bed with the balls of
earth about their roots undisturbed. In this situa-
tion they grew exceedingly well, and shewed fruit
very strong, but the heat in the bed under them
became too faint in the month of April : and with
all the atmospherical heat that I could give them,
the fruit did not ripen well for want of heat to the
roots of the plants ; and I was not able to contrive
any method to recruit it, which required to be done
in the month of March or April.

" According to the foregoing account, this cele-
brated and experienced gardener plants the suckers
of the Pine Apple in the latter end of September,
and he divests them of all their roots in the month
of April. In this method of process I must differ
from him, because the young plants have only six
months (being the slowest growing months of the
year) to make roots, and then these roots are en-
tirely cut off, which considerably retards the plants
in their growth. And, according to his method,
and mine also, the queen and some other sorts of
the Pine, ripen their fruit in a shorter period of
time than two years after planting. He says, he
never waters his Pine plants in the broad-cast way
over their heads and leaves. In this I also differ
with him, for I think, giving the plants water all
over their leaves occasionally, especially in hot


weather, is of service to them, and which indeed is
only imitating nature.

" I say not that Pine Apple plants will not do well
without giving them water all over their leaves, for

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Online LibraryJ. C. (John Claudius) LoudonThe different modes of cultivating the pine-apple, from its first introduction into Europe to the late improvements of T. A. Knight, esq → online text (page 8 of 12)