US (CA): Orchids of the future grow in Salinas

Some might call orchids low-maintenance: they require water only once every three weeks. But Floricultura Pacific greenhouse in Salinas has elevated orchid care to a Space Age science.

“We probably have more technology in here than in any other U.S. greenhouse,” general manager Don Howell said, gesturing to a maze of conveyor belts and cranes suspended from the ceiling.

This center of innovation began in 2006, when the Dutch company Floricultura bought an old complex of greenhouses off Esperanza Road. In greenhouse circles, Holland means innovation, according to Howell.

Dutch conditions require creative approaches, he explained. The Netherlands’ high wages make automation an attractive investment, and the cold climate demands temperature-controlled greenhouses.

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