Exotic Plants creates beautiful settings with rental plants
by Debbie Arrington
Whether turning a railyard into a tropical paradise or making rock royalty feel comfortable back stage, Exotic Plants owner Kifumi Keppler knows the power of plants to set the right mood.
“It’s instant beauty,” she says. “They make a real impact.”
With a busy rental service, Exotic Plants – Sacramento’s destination indoor garden store – has supplied live plants and expertise for hundreds of local events. From weddings to outdoor concerts, Keppler’s plants provide the perfect ambiance.
“An event in a tent; it’s just a tent – it’s blah,” she says.
The same goes for hotel ballrooms or entertainment venues, Keppler adds. “An empty room can use some life. A few little flowers don’t have the impact. You add plants, you get instant impact.”
Among her 2021 projects: the Lost in Riddim music festival. Held in October in Sacramento’s Railyard District, the festival featured popular African and Caribbean artists and attracted thousands of concertgoers. For the artist lounge, Keppler and her crew created lush tropical settings with an assortment of large palms, bromeliads and other potted plants. She also constructed a huge living mural out of moss.
“We made an island effect,” says Keppler. “We use some pretty big plants; some of our trees are 15 feet tall. Our biggest go clear to the ceiling. Generally, our large plants that we use are 7 to 8 feet tall. They make a big impression.”
A recent Sacramento fashion show framed its runway models with Exotic Plants greenery. Decorating the stage while complementing the clothes, the plants transformed a plain auditorium into a special place.
“Some people want tropical, others want something more refined,” she explains. “For a tropical look, we use lots of palms and leafy plants. For a more refined look, we use more ferns and ficus trees and put everything in white pots.”
Keppler’s portable plant displays are almost ubiquitous at major Sacramento events at Golden One Center and other venues. Thousands of local college graduates have walked past Exotic Plants greenery and flowers, used to decorate arena and auditoriums for graduation ceremonies for UC Davis and Sacramento State. Red Hawk Casino commissioned custom leis and centerpieces.
One of her most memorable special assignments: Creating an indoor jungle back stage for Sir Elton John.
“Elton loves plants, he’s crazy about them,” Keppler recalls of his Sacramento concert appearance. “We brought tons – lots of palms, trees, shrubs and orchids, too. We lined them up in the hallway and filled the green room.”
From beautiful orchids to majestic palms, plants can elevate events to special occasions, says Keppler. Renting live plants is often cheaper than buying fresh cut flowers. Weddings, anniversaries and other occasions may use blooming orchids or potted succulents as contemporary table centerpieces.
“You can rent large orchids for $15 to $20, depending on variety, while small flower arrangements cost $50, $60,” she explains. “Multi-spiked orchids grouped in big containers (can be rented for) $100 to $200. A floral arrangement, to have the same punch, would cost $700 to $800.”
During the holiday season, Exotic Plants rents plants for parties and celebrations of all kinds. (Call for availability.) On request, Keppler makes custom flower arrangements; she is a longtime Ikebana expert.
Exotic Plants also hosts private events at its Fulton Avenue’s plant-packed store.
“We hosted an engagement party,” Keppler says. “The greenery was already here and it’s a wonderful space. We made succulent corsages and bouquets. It was a lot of fun.”
Exotic Plants is located at 1525 Fulton Ave., Sacramento. Phone 916-922-4769 or visit www.exoticplantsltd.com.