Deutzia gracilis was a plant grown extensively for the flower markets of Victorian London. They were what Hibberd called “stolen plants” in that they tended to be grown between rows of other flowers, or in areas where nothing else would grow well. They were nonetheless a little tender, and needed some coaxing to combat the vicissitudes of an English spring.
The deutzia was generally purchased when in flower, and straight from the forcing house. Once home, it needed to be carefully comforted in the parlour or the greenhouse. They then needed to be hardened off before they could be placed in the garden, generally during May in a sheltered corner.
By late May the deutzias could be planted out … but not into rich soil. They needed the poorest and stoniest soil the gardener could find. They should be planted out, pruned slightly, watered moderately until they began to grow freely, and be sheltered at night with large pots if it threatened extreme cold or frost. At the end of September they could be lifted, pruned of ungainly rods, potted in fresh and gritty soil, and in as small a pot as the gardener could cram the roots.
Then they went into the greenhouse for winter.
Information and image taken from F. Edward Hulme and Shirley Hibberd, Familiar Garden Flowers (Cassell, Peter, Galpin and Co.: London: c. 1890), 5 vols.