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'Houseplants 101' covers indoor gardening basics

Exotic Plants offers free in-person workshop Friday

Indoor plants
Pothos is a popular indoor plant that also is great at cleaning the air. (Photo
courtesy N&R Publications)

When it comes to indoor gardening, how green is your thumb? Learn the basics – and a lot more – during a free in-person workshop Friday evening, May 20, at Exotic Plants.

“Houseplants 101” will focus on all aspects of basic care. Exotic Plants staff will cover popular as well as more unusual plants that thrive indoors. Find out their basic needs as well as which plants can cope with more challenging conditions.

No advance registration is necessary for this 6 p.m. workshop. Love orchids? Exotic Plants staff are orchid specialists. Learn how to keep your plants healthy and blooming.

What are the easiest houseplants to grow (or at least, not kill)? Here are some favorites:

– Monstera – known for its unusual cut foliage. Can thrive in low-light conditions and can bounce back quickly from neglect.

– Sansevieria – also called mother-in-law’s tongue or snake plant. Copes well with a wide range of light conditions and helps purify indoor air.

– ZZ Plant – Zamioculcas zamiifolia. Is almost indestructible and has attractive glossy green leaves.

– Pothos – wonderful for hanging containers or trailing from a tall perch. Grows attractive heart-shaped foliage and also is great at cleaning indoor air.

Get more ideas at Exotic Plants, Sacramento’s oldest indoor gardening store. Exotic Plants is located at 1525 Fulton Ave., Sacramento.

Store website: www.exoticplantsltd.com .

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Garden Checklist for week of July 7

Take care of garden chores early in the morning, concentrating on watering. We’re still in survival mode until this heat wave breaks.

* Keep your vegetable garden watered, mulched and weeded. Water before 8 a.m. to conserve moisture.

* Prevent sunburn; provide temporary shade for tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, melons, squash and other crops with “sensitive” skin.

* Hold off on feeding plants until temperatures cool back down to “normal” range. That means daytime highs in the low to mid 90s.

* Don’t let tomatoes wilt or dry out completely. Give tomatoes a deep watering two to three times a week. Harvest vegetables promptly to encourage plants to produce more.

* Squash especially tends to grow rapidly in hot weather. Keep an eye on zucchini.

* Some weeds thrive in hot weather. Whack them before they go to seed.

* Pinch back chrysanthemums for bushy plants and more flowers in September.

* Harvest tomatoes, squash, peppers and eggplant. Prompt picking will help keep plants producing.

* Remove spent flowers from roses, daylilies and other bloomers as they finish flowering.

* Pinch off blooms from basil so the plant will grow more leaves.

* Cut back lavender after flowering to promote a second bloom.

* One good thing about hot days: Most lawns stop growing when temperatures top 95 degrees. Keep mower blades set on high.

* Once the weather cools down a little, it’s not too late to add a splash of color. Plant petunias, snapdragons, zinnias and marigolds.

* After the heat wave, plant corn, pumpkins, radishes, winter squash and sunflowers. Make sure the seeds stay hydrated.

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