The Horticulturist, and journal of rural art and rural taste. 24: 349 (1869)

Effects of Charcoal on Flowers.

Charcoal, already well known to be of inestimable value as an absorbent or disinfectant, and likewise containing abundance of nutritious food for growing plants, has also a remarkable influence on the color of flowers. This fact is too well known to gardeners to require much repetition.

A few years since, a New-Haven gardener tried the experiment of the use of charcoal on the health of plants in pots in his greenhouse, and said that he could not possibly see the advantage of continuing under the old system without it.

"The result of my experience is, that, when not using charcoal in growing roses, they have been more or less subject to mildew, and the roots of the plants more apt to be injured by fungus, whereas with the free use ofthat material they arc not liable at all to be attacked.

"And besides, when treated in this way the plants arc remarkable for their freshness and beauty; the flowers are so much improved that they seem as though they had been

'Dipped in Color's native well.'’

We observe that the subject is again being discussed with practical interest in France, and we quote a paragraph from the Revue Horticole, of appropriate effect.

"A correspondent of that journal says that not long ago he made a bargain for a rose-bush of magnificent growth and full of buds. He waited for them to blow, and expected roses worthy of such a noble plant and of the praises bestowed on it by the vender; but when it bloomed, all his hopes were blasted. The flowers were of a faded hue, and he discovered that he had only a middling multiflora, stale colored enough. He therefore resolved to sacrifice it to some experiments which he had in view. His attention had been directed to the effects of charcoal, as stated in some English publications. He then covered the earth in the pot in which it was, about half an inch deep, with pulverized charcoal. Some days after, he was astonished to see those which bloomed of as fine a lively rose-color as he could wish. He determined to repeat the experiment, and therefore, when the rose-bush had done flowering, he took off the charcoal and put fresh earth about the roots, and waited for the next spring impatiently, to see the result of this experiment. When it bloomed, the roses were at first pale and discolored, but, by applying the charcoal as before, they soon assumed their rosy-red color. He then tried the powdered charcoal in large quantities upon petunias, and found that both the white and violet-colored flowers were equally sensitive to its action. It always gave great vigor to the red or violet colors of the flowers, and the white petunias become veined with red or violet tints; the violets became covered with irregular spots of a bluish or almost black tint. Many persons who admired them thought they were choice new varieties. Charcoal has no effect on yellow flowers."

It is not stated whether the effects are permanent, or whether they fail after a single season.