Half Hardy Perennial
Shades of yellow and brown. Flowers June to October.
The Calceolarias which are available for the
open border belong to the shrubby Bedding or Rugosa
section, and must be distinguished from the race
with gorgeous spotted and marbled flowers in many
colours, which is called Herbaceous or Hybrid,
and is only suitable for culture under glass.
The shrubby Calceolaria are very nearly hardy
on dry soil and in a moderate winter, but there
is no need to risk one’s stock thus, as
cuttings made in September will come safely through
the hard weather with the protection of a frame,
if the lights be covered with mats during severe
frost. Slips of side-growth and tops that have
not flowered should be taken off, and dibbled
in boxes of sandy soil, a fair amount of water
may be given at first, but during the winter the
boxes should be require no moisture.
In February or March the cuttings should be potted
singly in “thumbs”, and finally planted
out in the open early in May, as their constitution
enables them to make light of a degree or two
of spring frost.
They are best grown together in masses or beds,
and the soil should be good and not too light;
too much sun and a dry-root run will hit them
hard; they like a moist bottom and will do well
in partial shade. Once established in congenial
quarters they should require little attention
all the summer beyond the removal of dead flower-heads;
no sticks or tying are necessary for Calceolarias.
Reproduction by cuttings – with an occasional
importation of a fresh strain to prevent deterioration
– is the best way to maintain a stock of
plants; but those who prefer to raise Calceolarias
from seed can easily do it with the help of a
moderate hotbed. Sow the seed (which is very fine,
and needs delicate handling) in boxes or pots
of fine rich soil at the end of February, and
raise like other half-hardy things in a temperature
between 70° and 55°. Follow the ordinary
routine of pricking off, re-potting if necessary,
and planting out when hardened.
The shrubby Calceolarias most generally grown
are of a strong buttercup yellow, but there are
also strains with light sulphur and with dark
chestnut or sienna brown flowers.
See also Slipperwort