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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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Dig In: Garden checklist for week of Jan. 29

Bundle up and get work done!

* Prune, prune, prune. Now is the time to cut back most deciduous trees and shrubs. The exceptions are spring-flowering shrubs such as lilacs.

* Now is the time to prune fruit trees, except apricot and cherry trees. Clean up leaves and debris around the trees to prevent the spread of disease.

* Prune roses, even if they’re still trying to bloom or sprouting new growth. Strip off any remaining leaves, so the bush will be able to put out new growth in early spring.

* Prune Christmas camellias (Camellia sasanqua), the early-flowering varieties, after their bloom. They don’t need much, but selective pruning can promote bushiness, upright growth and more bloom next winter. Feed with an acid-type fertilizer. But don’t feed your Japonica camellias until after they finish blooming next month. Feeding while camellias are in bloom may cause them to drop unopened buds.

* Clean up leaves and debris around your newly pruned roses and shrubs. Put down fresh mulch or bark to keep roots cozy.

* Apply horticultural oil to fruit trees to control scale, mites and aphids. Oils need 24 hours of dry weather after application to be effective.

* This is also the time to spray a copper-based oil to peach and nectarine trees to fight leaf curl. Avoid spraying on windy days.

* Divide daylilies, Shasta daisies and other perennials.

* Cut back and divide chrysanthemums.

* Plant bare-root roses, trees and shrubs.

* Transplant pansies, violas, calendulas, English daisies, snapdragons and fairy primroses.

* In the vegetable garden, plant fava beans, head lettuce, mustard, onion sets, radicchio and radishes.

* Plant bare-root asparagus and root divisions of rhubarb.

* In the bulb department, plant callas, anemones, ranunculus and gladiolus for bloom from late spring into summer.

* Plant blooming azaleas, camellias and rhododendrons. If you’re shopping for these beautiful landscape plants, you can now find them in full flower at local nurseries.

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