Dwarf plant

 Dwarf Plants

The following method of producing miniature trees is taken from an article on this subject in Gardening Illustrated .
"Take an orange, and having cut a hole in the peel about the size of a shilling, take out the juice and pulp. Fill the skin thus emptied with some cocoa-nut fibre, fine moss, and charcoal, just stiffened with a little loam, and then put an acorn or a date stone, or the seed or kernel of any tree that it is proposed to obtain in a dwarfed form in this mixture, just about the centre of the hollow orange peel. Place the orange peel in a tumbler or vase in a window, and occasionally moisten the contents with a little water through the hole in the peel, and sprinkle the surface apparent through the hole with some fine woodashes. In due time the tree will push up its stem through the compost and the roots will push through the orange peel. The roots must then be cut off flush with the peel, and this process must be repeated at frequent intervals for about two years and a half. The stem of the tree will attain the height of four or five inches and then assume a stunted gnarled appearance, giving it the appearance of an old tree. When the ends of the roots are cut for the last time, the orange peel, which, curiously enough, does not rot, must be painted black and varnished."
The writer of the article saw this process carried out by a Chinaman that he had in his service, and the trees thrived and presented a healthy appearance for eight years, when the Chinaman left his employ and took the trees with him. He tried the plan which has been described but failed, but he was successful with an acorn and a datestone which were planted each in a thumb-pot in a mixture of peat and loam. The dwarfing was effected by turning the plants out of the pots at intervals of six weeks and pinching off the ends of the roots that showed themselves behind the compost. This shows that the production of dwarf plants is chiefly due to a constant and systematic checking of the root growth.