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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 March 19:

Spring will start a bit soggy, but there’s still plenty to do between showers:

* Fertilize roses, annual flowers and berries as spring growth begins to appear.

* Watch out for aphids. Wash off plants with strong blast from the hose.

* Pull weeds now! Don’t let them get started. Take a hoe and whack them as soon as they sprout.

* Prepare summer vegetable beds. Spade in compost and other amendments.

* Prune and fertilize spring-flowering shrubs after bloom.

* Feed camellias at the end of their bloom cycle. Pick up browned and fallen flowers to fight blossom blight.

* Feed citrus trees as they start to blossom.

* Cut back and fertilize perennial herbs to encourage new growth.

* Seed and renovate the lawn (if you still have one). Feed cool-season grasses such as bent, blue, rye and fescue with a slow-release fertilizer. Check the irrigation system and perform maintenance. Make sure sprinkler heads are turned toward the lawn, not the sidewalk.

* In the vegetable garden, transplant lettuce and kale.

* Seed chard and beets directly into the ground.

* Plant summer bulbs, including gladiolus, tuberous begonias and callas. Also plant dahlia tubers.

* Shop for perennials. Many varieties are available in local nurseries and at plant events. They can be transplanted now while the weather remains relatively cool.

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