This section is from the book "Commercial Gardening Vol2", by John Weathers (the Editor). Also available from Amazon: Commercial Gardening, A Practical & Scientific Treatise For Market Gardeners.
There are many species of Asparagus, but the most valuable for market purposes are the feathery A. plumosus and its flat variety nanus; A. Sprengeri and A. medeoloides. The latter is far better known in the florist trade as "Smilax" - a quite distinct genus.
A. plumosus and its variety nanus are both climbing South African plants, with graceful needle - like foliage, highly valued by florists for mixing with floral emblems of every description. Both kinds should be grown in a warm greenhouse or stove in loamy soil with a little sand and leaf mould. For market work large airy houses are best, and wires or strings should be fixed for tying the stems.
A. Sprengeri, from Natal, is now extensively grown in 5-in. and 6-in. pots, or in baskets for hanging work, but its trails, 3-4 ft. long, are also used largely in floral work. It may be grown under conditions similar to those of A. plumosus, plants in 5-in. pots realizing from 10s. to 12s. per dozen. The long trails of A. plumosus and nanus fetch about 1s. 6d. to 2s. per half-dozen, while shorter pieces realize from 12s. to 18s. per dozen bunches.
The "Smilax" (A. medeoloides or Myrsiphyllum asparagoides) is a popular market plant. It is grown in pots or in beds like A. plumosus, the slender trailing stems, with Myrtle-like leaves, being twined round slender strings arranged vertically to the rafters or cross-wires. Long trails realize about 1s. 3d. to 1s. 6d. per half-dozen. The species mentioned are all best raised from seed sown as soon as ripe in a temperature of 70° F.