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Exotic Plants celebrates 50th anniversary

Sacramento's destination indoor plant store hosts Saturday party, workshops

For half a century, Kifumi Keppler has shared her passion about indoor gardening at Exotic Plants.

For half a century, Kifumi Keppler has shared her passion about indoor gardening at Exotic Plants. Courtesy Exotic Plants

Sacramento’s Kifumi Keppler is a force for nature. For half a century, Keppler has shared her passion about indoor gardening at Exotic Plants, a destination plant store like no other.

Saturday, Oct. 22, Exotic Plants will celebrate its 50th anniversary in business. From 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., the public is invited to drop by and join the party. Tickets are free and may be obtained on eventbrite here.

“We are so excited to celebrate 50 years with our community!” the store posted online. “This will be a free event; we will have live entertainment, costumer appreciation sales, workshops and more! Thank you to every one of you who have supported our local business the past 50 years – we wouldn't be here without you!”

After stints in four different locations (including 10 years on Howe Avenue), Exotic Plants moved in 2019 into its much larger home at 1525 Fulton Ave., Sacramento, near Arden Way. With a 4,000-square-foot-building and 3,000-square-foot patio, this location has room for outdoor events (as well as outdoor tropical plants and succulents) as well as space for indoor workshops.

Known for its vast selection of indoor tropicals and orchids, Exotic Plants has built a loyal following, not only for sales but rentals. Need an instant jungle? This is the place.

Its clientele extend throughout California and Nevada. Besides live plants, the store also features a wide selection of plant-centric décor, terrariums and one-of-a-kind “moss art,” collages made of mosses, barks and other plant material.

From Boston ferns to moth orchids to rare anthuriums, the family-owned and operated store has seen plants come in and out of fashion. Keppler and her team continue to keep up with indoor plant trends while offering a wide range of species and varieties. From beginner to collector, there’s something in her jungle for every indoor gardener.

A native of Kyoto, Japan, Keppler arrived in Sacramento as a Fulbright scholar at Sacramento State. KCRA hired her as a film editor and producer. But, as Keppler recalls, she found her true calling in plants.

“I went through a lot of changes in the plant industry,” she said in an interview last year. “(When she started), it used to be wandering Jew, piggyback plant and Swedish ivy, lots of Boston ferns. I did a lot of designer homes with three to five plants in each room. Designers used houseplants in model homes because they helped sell the property faster.”

Designers switched to fake foliage, but many homeowners want the real thing. Plants naturally clean indoor air as well as lift people’s spirits.

Keppler made adjustments to her business, and kept Exotic Plants growing, too.

“A lot of people started after me in the plant business; it’s become more and more competitive,” she added. “But we were strong, and still are.”

Details: www.exoticplantsltd.com or 916-922-4769. 

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Garden Checklist for week of July 7

Take care of garden chores early in the morning, concentrating on watering. We’re still in survival mode until this heat wave breaks.

* Keep your vegetable garden watered, mulched and weeded. Water before 8 a.m. to conserve moisture.

* Prevent sunburn; provide temporary shade for tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, melons, squash and other crops with “sensitive” skin.

* Hold off on feeding plants until temperatures cool back down to “normal” range. That means daytime highs in the low to mid 90s.

* Don’t let tomatoes wilt or dry out completely. Give tomatoes a deep watering two to three times a week. Harvest vegetables promptly to encourage plants to produce more.

* Squash especially tends to grow rapidly in hot weather. Keep an eye on zucchini.

* Some weeds thrive in hot weather. Whack them before they go to seed.

* Pinch back chrysanthemums for bushy plants and more flowers in September.

* Harvest tomatoes, squash, peppers and eggplant. Prompt picking will help keep plants producing.

* Remove spent flowers from roses, daylilies and other bloomers as they finish flowering.

* Pinch off blooms from basil so the plant will grow more leaves.

* Cut back lavender after flowering to promote a second bloom.

* One good thing about hot days: Most lawns stop growing when temperatures top 95 degrees. Keep mower blades set on high.

* Once the weather cools down a little, it’s not too late to add a splash of color. Plant petunias, snapdragons, zinnias and marigolds.

* After the heat wave, plant corn, pumpkins, radishes, winter squash and sunflowers. Make sure the seeds stay hydrated.

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