While some complain of shrinking profit margins on phalaenopsis orchids, Toine Overgaag of Westerlay Orchids in Carpinteria, California has just converted his 21 acres of greenhouses (8.5 hectares) to phalaenopsis, 100 percent.
“A phale is basically perfect as a houseplant,” says Overgaag—and perfect, too, for the mass-market supply chain. “There are lots of other kinds of commercial orchids. But the reason phales are over 90% of all [orchid] production is because they’re the only ones that you can really program to flower exactly when you want them to.”
Launched in 1978 as a rose farm by Overgaag’s father, Joop Overgaag, Westerlay made a switch to potted cymbidium orchids in the early 2000s. The farm continued to produce cymbidiums until this year, but has gradually added more and more phalaenopsis into the mix.
One of the disadvantages with cymbidiums was their seasonality, blooming only in the winter. “It’s very difficult for supermarkets to work with product that comes in and out, so they don’t really know when it’s going to be there,” Overgaag continues. “With phales, it’s easier to work with our major customers because, if they tell us exactly when they need the product, we can hit the target.”
Click here for the full company report on Westerlay Orchids in the latest Floribusiness magazine. The story has been writte by Bruce Wright.
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