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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 Sept. 24:

This week our weather will be just right for fall gardening. What are you waiting for?

* Now is the time to plant for fall. The warm soil will get these veggies off to a fast start.

* Keep harvesting tomatoes, peppers, squash, melons and eggplant. Tomatoes may ripen faster off the vine and sitting on the kitchen counter.

* Compost annuals and vegetable crops that have finished producing.

* Cultivate and add compost to the soil to replenish its nutrients for fall and winter vegetables and flowers.

* Fertilize deciduous fruit trees.

* Plant onions, lettuce, peas, radishes, turnips, beets, carrots, bok choy, spinach and potatoes directly into the vegetable beds.

* Transplant cabbage, broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower as well as lettuce seedlings.

* Sow seeds of California poppies, clarkia and African daisies.

* Transplant cool-weather annuals such as pansies, violas, fairy primroses, calendulas, stocks and snapdragons.

* Divide and replant bulbs, rhizomes and perennials. That includes bearded iris; if they haven’t bloomed in three years, it’s time to dig them up and divide their rhizomes.

* Dig up and divide daylilies as they complete their bloom cycle.

* Divide and transplant peonies that have become overcrowded. Replant with “eyes” about an inch below the soil surface.

* Late September is ideal for sowing a new lawn or re-seeding bare spots.

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