Our Story, 4 Generations
Heinrich Gubler always had a love for plants and began growing them commercially in 1918. His nursery was located in the small town of Pfäffikon, near Zurich, Switzerland. He grew many different plants, tropicals of all sorts, cactus, geraniums, and of course, orchids. The business rapidly grew and became one of the largest nurseries in Switzerland at the time.
In 1928, Hans Gubler was born. The second of two sons, Hans traveled extensively throughout Europe, visiting nurseries in Denmark, Holland, Sweden, Belgium, and England. Through his travels, he had met Fred K. Sander, whom developed the Sanders List of Orchid Hybrids (The same reference most orchid hybridizers still use today). Hans had earned himself a scholarship to Shaw School of Botany at Washington University in Missouri. He arrived in the United States in 1949, and began working at the Missouri Botanical Gardens while going to school.
He began experimenting with Colchicine on Cattleyas, in an effort to double the chromosome count and produce larger flowers. His studies included chromosome counting of Cattleya and Cymbidium Orchids. His efforts paid off and he moved to Los Angeles in 1952 to set up a laboratory program for Armercost and Royston Nursery. Two years later Hans was contacted by movie producer, Arthur Freed, to set up an orchid nursery in Malibu, California. It was then that he became close friends with Hugo Freed (Arthur's brother), who was one of the top phalaenopsis hybridizers in the world. This same nursery later became Zuma Canyon Orchids.
Hans met Esther in 1954 and were married later that year. Two years later, they had saved up $300 and started Gubler Orchids (USA) in Altadena, California, selling orchids from the back of their station wagon. Business was booming and they were able to move to Pasadena, California in 1958 and lease a 1,200 sq. ft. Greenhouse.
As the business grew, so did their family. In 1959 H. Christopher Gubler was born (Lc. Christopher Gubler). Soon after in 1961, the Gublers purchased a 5,000 sq. ft. nursery in Temple City, California from Norris Powell (owner of The Orchid House). In December of the same year, Karin-Ann (C. Karin Ann Gubler) was born. She was followed in 1964 with their second daughter, Heidi (Pot. Heidi Gubler).
In 1965, Hans developed the concept of a packaged orchid seedling. Complete with full growing instructions, Hans revolutionized the merchandising of plants in the horticulture industry. In ten years Gubler Orchids sales quintupled. The need for a larger nursery was more than evident. In 1975, Hans and Esther found another nursery in the high desert community of Landers, California. Clean air, great water quality, one of the sunniest locations in the US, and four seasons made this an ideal location. It was over 10 times the size of their Temple City nursery. Gublers was now selling orchids all over the world including some major retailers in the United States. During this time, their son, was earning a degree in Ornamental Horticulture, with minors in Botany and Marketing. Chris then joined the family business in 1981 and brought fresh and new ideas. The business continued to flourish.
The Gubler family again needed more growing space and purchased another nursery in Lucerne Valley, California, about 30 miles from Landers. The overall growing space was about two and a half times the size of the Landers operation and was larger than the original operation in Switzerland. The greenhouses purchased however, were in need of much repair. The first fully operational greenhouse was opened 1981.
In November of 1988, Hans passed away. He sadly missed the completion of his last expansion, which was that of a solar prototype greenhouse. A revolutionary concept developed and built by Optimum Greenhouses, with architect Robert Phillips.
Chris then took charge of the business, working side by side with Esther. It was in the early hours of June 28th 1992, that a 7.3 magnitude earthquake occurred within one mile of the Landers nursery. The nursery suffered extensive damages. Faced with huge repair costs and inventory losses, Chris along with Esther, decided to rebuild. The repairs took over 3 years; however it was an opportunity to modernize the facility. During that time there were no new orchids in production, and the Gublers were left with only selling inventory from their Lucerne Valley location.
In September of 1995, the nursery was formally reopened. The remaining inventory in Lucerne Valley was moved to Landers, and the Lucerne nursery was temporarily closed. Gubler Orchids co-founder, Esther Gubler, passed away three years later. She was the matriarch of the family and will always be missed. In July of 2000, as the business progressed, Gubler Orchids reopened their one functioning greenhouse in Lucerne Valley.
Heidi (Gubler) Brodeur
Heidi (Gubler) Brodeur joined the company that same year. She had received her degree in Small Business Management and works with product development, corporate sales, and training.
Another Gubler who graduated from Cal Poly Pomona, Kelsey began working full time at the nursery in 2016. Armed with operations experience and intense love of plants, she has been learning all aspects of the business. She has already taken on several roles within the departments of growing & breeding, sales, operations and personnel management.
Today Gubler Orchids has over 155,000 square feet of greenhouses in production. Orchids are now shipped primarily in the United States and Canada. In addition to orchid plants, Gubler Orchids has a complete line of orchid essentials, such as orchid food and mixes, the same formulas used in their nurseries. Gubler Orchids has developed a reputation as one of the top quality orchid growers in the world.
Thank you for your interest in our little paradise. We will continue to explore new hybrids and growing techniques to provide you with lasting quality. We invite you to take a look around our website. Explore, Shop and Enjoy!