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Cytisus (Leafy Broom)

Cytisus (Leafy Broom)

Cytisus racemosus was a Victorian greenhouse favourite. As a pot plant for the greenhouse it was one of the easiest to manage, and thus admirably suited to the amateur gardener. It could grow in any light, loamy soil, with just enough heat to protect against frost. During the summer it needed to be kept out of doors, and well supplied with water. In his own garden Hibberd would pot this on into larger pots year after year, until the plant became too large to be useful, when it was discarded.

The simplest method of propagating was via seed. The seeds could be sown in pans filled with a sandy loam and kept in a shady spot until plants appeared – only a very little moisture was needed to make them germinate. The plants could then be potted on into single pots, called ‘thumbs’, in a light sandy compost. They needed plentiful light and air. Once the thumbs were full of roots the plants could be moved onto the next size, “sixties”, pots which were three inches in diameter.

The Cytisus could also be propagated by cuttings taken from new growth with a heel.

Information and image taken from F. Edward Hulme and Shirley Hibberd, Familiar Garden Flowers (Cassell, Peter, Galpin and Co.: London: c. 1890), 5 vols

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