Acorn Trees: Victorian Parlour Ornaments
Acorn trees were used as ornaments in Victorian times. This is how their care
and propagation were described in the 'Dictionary of Daily Wants' (1859):
ACORN TREES Very pretty ornaments for the parlour may be
produced by setting acorns to germinate in hyacinth glasses, and placing them over the
Half fill with rain water a white glass, one of those usually employed
for bulbous roots. Take a ripe acorn, which has been for a day or two steeped in rain
water, or in damp moss or mould; with the aid of a piece of cork or cardboard suspend
the acorn about a quarter of an inch above the water. Let the cork or cardboard fit the
mouth of the glass tightly so as to exclude the air.
In a few weeks the acorn will begin to grow, and
the interesting process of the germination of one of our noblest trees may watched from
time to time.
When the leaves reach the cork another arrangement must be adopted: the
acorn must be raised, the leaves be pushed through the cork or cardboard, and the young
plant be suspended in the position shown in the engraving. Should the water become green
or turbid, it must be changed; and if any fungi appear upon the acorn, they must be
carefully brushed or wiped away.
The oak plants thus produced will, with attention,
flourish for two or three years - the most important points for their preservation
being the changing of the water, and the cleansing of the root when fungous plants
appear. When the acorns are first put to grow, nothing must be done to them except
removing the cup; the shell of the acorn must be uninjured.