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Put more life into your indoor garden – with a vivarium

Exotic Plants hosts hands-on workshop to build your own pet-friendly habitat

Exotic Plants
Exotic Plants shop manager Maxon Fackert adds more plants to a vivarium. (Photo courtesy N&R Publications)

What’s the difference between a terrarium and a vivarium? Terrariums are designed to raise plants; vivariums focus on animals and their habitat – which happens to be filled with plants.

Pet reptiles and amphibians love these enclosed jungles – and so do their people. Here’s your chance to make your own vivarium – and help your pet reptile or amphibian friends feel right at home.

Exotic Plants is hosting a “Build Your Own Vivarium” workshop at 5:30 p.m. Saturday, March 26.

This hands-on workshop will help you make an animal-friendly habitat with all the supplies you need. Participants may bring in their own tank or use a 10-gallon starter tank.

Maxon Fackert, Exotic Plants shop manager, will instruct this interesting workshop and offer his advice for success. Fackert keeps frogs in his own vivarium at home and also watches over the shop’s pet albino boa in its vivarium.

Seating is limited, so it's best to register now. Prices will vary, depending on tank and plant needs. Besides the tank, workshop fee also includes materials, plants and instruction.

Exotic Plants is located at 1525 Fulton Avenue, Sacramento. To sign up for the workshop, call 916-922-4769.

The store's website: .


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Garden Checklist for week of April 14

It's still not warm enough to transplant tomatoes directly in the ground, but we’re getting there.

* April is the last chance to plant citrus trees such as dwarf orange, lemon and kumquat. These trees also look good in landscaping and provide fresh fruit in winter.

* Smell orange blossoms? Feed citrus trees with a low dose of balanced fertilizer (such as 10-10-10) during bloom to help set fruit. Keep an eye out for ants.

* Apply slow-release fertilizer to the lawn.

* Thoroughly clean debris from the bottom of outdoor ponds or fountains.

* Spring brings a flush of rapid growth, and that means your garden needs nutrients. Fertilize shrubs and trees with a slow-release fertilizer. Or mulch with a 1-inch layer of compost.

* Azaleas and camellias looking a little yellow? If leaves are turning yellow between the veins, give them a boost with chelated iron.

* Trim dead flowers but not leaves from spring-flowering bulbs such as daffodils and tulips. Those leaves gather energy to create next year's flowers. Also, give the bulbs a fertilizer boost after bloom.

* Pinch chrysanthemums back to 12 inches for fall flowers. Cut old stems to the ground.

* Mulch around plants to conserve moisture and control weeds.

* From seed, plant beans, beets, cantaloupes, carrots, corn, cucumbers, melons, radishes and squash.

* Plant onion sets.

* In the flower garden, plant seeds for asters, cosmos, celosia, marigolds, salvia, sunflowers and zinnias.

* Transplant petunias, zinnias, geraniums and other summer bloomers.

* Plant perennials and dahlia tubers for summer bloom.

* Mid to late April is about the last chance to plant summer bulbs, such as gladiolus and tuberous begonias.

* Transplant lettuce seedlings. Choose varieties that mature quickly such as loose leaf.

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