Indoor gardening finds new fans

During the pandemic, Exotic Plants – Sacramento’s go-to indoor gardening store – saw a huge increase in interest in houseplants and succulents as more people discovered the pleasure of indoor gardening. Indeed, the pandemic is more of a 'Plantdemic'.

“The Plantdemic was very interesting,” said owner Kifumi Keppler. “It was a learning experience for me, too.” Many of these newbie Plantdemic gardeners had little or no prior experience, but they had definite ideas about what they wanted. Spurred by Instagram and other social media, these shoppers sought out unusual flora, Keppler noted. “They didn’t want generic plants like Chinese evergreen; they wanted something rare,” she said. “I had to switch gears.”

Keppler and her expert staff tapped their far-flung sources, including those in Hawaii, Tennessee, Italy, Indonesia, and right here in Northern California. They filled Exotic Plants’ spacious store with thousands of living treasures.

“That interest is continuing,” she said. “We’re getting more and more rare plants to meet that demand. Young people, in particular, are into new things and unusual plants.”

Why stop at indoor greenery? “We’re starting to offer more outdoor plants such as bamboo, maples, and some other unique plants,” Keppler said. “People ask for outdoor plants. People want unusual edible plants, too, used in Japanese and Thai foods such as wasabi, Meyer lemon, and kaffir lime.”

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