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Exotic Plants celebrates new, larger home

Kifumi Keppler has moved her Exotic Plants store to a larger site on Fulton Avenue. (Photos courtesy Exotic Plants)

Grand opening Sunday at Sacramento site

When Kifumi Keppler started selling houseplants in Sacramento, Ronald Reagan was governor, “The Godfather” was playing at local movie houses and Boston ferns created indoor jungles.

Keppler’s Exotic Plants has been Sacramento’s go-to source for indoor gardening since 1972. Now, it has a new and much larger home.

Sunday, May 5, Exotic Plants will host a grand opening party from 3 to 7 p.m. at its new location, packed with thousands of growing things adapted to indoor spaces. On one acre at 1525 Fulton Ave., the new stand-alone store features a big bright patio and plenty of parking.

“We had to move,” Keppler said. “Our (former store on Howe Avenue) was hidden; you couldn’t see it from the street. Our new place is a much bigger facility; there’s a lot more room and more light. It’s a big upgrade.”

At the free party, Exotic Plants will celebrate with workshops, raffles, music and food. There will be Mikuni sushi and -- since it's Cinco de Mayo -- Mexican appetizers.

Keppler already has filled the new store with enticing plants. A forest of ficus stands next to tables packed with colorful bromeliads and orchids. Peace lilies and staghorn ferns vie for space with truckloads of succulents.

“People ask me, what’s your favorite plant? I love all kinds,” Keppler said. “I love orchids, succulents, ferns; it’s so hard to choose! All have different personalities, different vibes.”

Now 75, Keppler decided to expand instead of relax.

“People say, what you are doing, opening a new store? You should be retiring,” she said. “When people retire, they just sit and decay or they can do something they really enjoy. And that’s what I’m doing -- something I really enjoy. It’s fun!”

The grand opening of the new Exotic Plants site is Sunday.
Besides, houseplants are hot again. They’ve become the photo-worthy darlings of social media.

“There’s more interest again; it’s like a renaissance for me,” Keppler said. “It’s coming back.

“Anything on Etsy or Instagram, people look for it!” she said. “Succulents are booming! Big fiddleleaf figs; they fly out the door. Split-leaf philodendrons; for a short time, I couldn’t even get them, the demand was so much bigger than the supply.

“Carnivorous plants – pitcher plants, Venus fly traps, cobra lilies -- are very popular right now,” she added. “So are bottle palms and staghorn ferns. Young people are discovering piggyback plants and wandering jew, so they’re making a comeback.”

As for ferns, bird’s nest and mother ferns are popular, but Boston ferns? Not now. Said Keppler, “They shed too much!”

Details: , 916-922-4769.


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Dig In: Garden Checklist for week of April 7

The warm wave coming this week will shift weeds into overdrive. Get to work!

* Weed, weed, weed! Whack them before they flower.

* Mulch around plants to conserve moisture and control weeds.

* 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 is really hungry. Feed 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.

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

* Transplant lettuce and cabbage seedlings.

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