Westerlay Is The Kingdom of Orchids

Toine Overgaag, Owner of Westerlay Orchids

I have always loved Orchids for their beauty and grace. Not only are they gorgeous and elegant in every room of your home or office but they last a very long time. If you take proper care of them, they will flourish annually. So, for Valentine’s Day this year, why not send an orchid instead of the traditional roses? And if for some reason you already have ordered your flowers, then keep in mind that during the year, there are many occasions when you can send a beautiful orchid; birthday, holidays, Mother’s Day, congratulations or a simple thank you to a co-worker or even your boss. If you are wondering where to go for it, search no more. I just discovered The Westerlay Orchids company based in Carpinteria, California. They are the largest commercial orchid grower which annually distributes over 4 million orchids directly to customers and local and national supermarket chains, as well as florists and designers.

Their goal is to grow the most stunning and highest quality orchids. Westerlay’s path to producing some of the finest orchids available stretches back generations of horticulturists to the greenhouses of Holland. Company founder Joop “Joe” Overgaag had been a greenhouse farmer in the Netherlands before immigrating to Carpinteria, California (along with his wife and four children) in 1978. Joop built his first greenhouses by hand, salvaging oil pipes from the local industry for the frames, and would soon open Westerlay Roses, named after the Westerlee vegetable auction in Holland. The sweat equity paid off and Westerlay Roses soon found a foothold in the domestic rose market.

Fast forward 20 years, and Westerlay Roses has grown to 800,000 square feet on several coastal Santa Barbara properties. The brand was synonymous with the most vibrantly colored flowers on the rose market and distributed millions of cut flowers annually for weddings and table settings all over the country. Joop recalls Midwest rose merchants in the 1990s demanding his Cardinal Roses, a brilliant red variety unique to the domestic market, but he couldn’t fill the orders quickly enough to take on new customers.

Still, a growing headwind against the domestic rose market imposed by increasing international competition was forming. Toine, after earning his Master’s Degree in business administration and having worked in business consulting, rejoined the Westerlay team with his father Joop, and together, they formed a more sustainable plan. Something had to change. They studied everything “orchid” and forged ahead with a five-year transition into orchids culminating in their first crop of cymbidiums in 2003. Westerlay Roses was then reestablished as Westerlay Orchids.

In 2009, Joop handed the reins of the company to Toine and the next generation began to leave it’s mark. Westerlay has grown, eventually doubling their size to 21 acres, and producing over 3.5 million orchids annually. Through it all, the tradition of the company continues, constantly refining their sustainable growing practices to ensure the highest of quality orchids are produced. Westerlay has recently completed initiatives to recapture and reuse irrigation water, and they continue to build relationships with markets large and small all over the Western U.S. and Canada.

A second and more comprehensive phase of expansion is scheduled for 2025, as Westerlay develops a new parcel of land in Port Hueneme set to be the future main production facility. This new location will allow Westerlay to nearly double current production to 6 million orchids within a couple years of opening and help work toward their 7-year goal of being the most recognizable name brands in house plants on the West Coast.

On the digital front, Westerlay Orchids recently launched their first direct to consumer ecommerce website. This introduction marks the first time in Westerlay Orchids’ 45-year history where customers can purchase orchids directly from the greenhouse, shipping to any home or business in the Western US. As they continue to progress in the post-pandemic age, direct access to goods and services from the comfort and safety of their customers’ establishments is paramount. Their orchids are widely available at major grocers across the country and online.

  • Orchid Hearts:  a Heart shaped orchid.  Westerlay hand selects the finest 2 stem orchids and meticulously shapes them into a heart shaped presentation.  Only available twice a year, these embodiments of love are always a popular Valentine’s gift selection. 
  • The Westerlay Wave: The perfect expression of contemporary California Coastal design. The signature flask to finish bark grown 5″ double spike phalaenopsis is trained to present as a breaking Pacific Wave. Orchid colors include white, assorted, and blue dyed.
  • The Westerlay Kokedama: The perfect cultural design collaboration between the exclusive Westerlay Bramble and the heritage design of a Japanese handbound Kokedama. The Phalaenopsis Kokedamas utilize a 3″ Westerlay Bramble hand wrapped into a 5″ moss ball and bound in natural twine. Hanging or resting, these Kokedamas are an elegant design statement for any environment.
  • The Westerlay Bramble: The pinnacle of design and development from the growing heritage at Westerlay Orchids. The team utilizes an A+ grade flask to finish bark grown 3″ Phalaenopsis Orchids, which are hand trained using a proprietary method. Westerlay’s most petite offering of this natural expression presents how an orchid grows in its native environment under the tropical canopy. 

Westerlay Orchids is a pioneer in environmental and sustainability practices and regularly contributes to local schools, nonprofit organizations, and many other community causes.


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