Henry Whalen and Sons Greenhouses technically began in 1933, but our history in horticulture started well before then in the landscape industry. Henry John Whalen Jr. started a landscape company when he was 15 years old in East Lansdowne, Delaware County PA. He served many large estates and homes around Philadelphia and the Main Line area. His father Henry John Sr. saw the success of his son’s business and resigned as the head grounds supervisor of Fernwood Cemetery and started his own landscape business.
Henry Sr. owned a house in East Lansdowne with a small greenhouse in the back yard. Henry grew everything he could for his own landscape use. When their place became too small for his growing landscape business, he bought a farmhouse with 10 acres in Drexel Hill, Delaware County. Originally the land was used as storage for plant material and equipment. He built two greenhouses on the property so he could continue to grow the plants he needed for jobs.


A major change to Henry and Anna’s company occurred in 1939 when World War II began. Henry lost close to 50 employees to the war, and had to take a day job with the Defense Department to help support his family of 6 children. Henry thought the future was to specialize in growing certain floriculture items like geraniums, azaleas, and chrysanthemums so Henry and his father worked hard at night building greenhouses. In the early 1940’s Henry became a full-time wholesale grower.


After years of hard work Henry became one of the largest and most respected geranium growers in the state. In the early 1960’s, he worked with Bob Oglevee and Penn State professor James Tammen in developing a disease free geranium stock program for the industry. This important and revolutionary principle led us to how we propagate plant material today.
In 1968 Henry sold his greenhouse business to James, the youngest of his 6 children. James, a Villanova graduate with a degree in industrial engineering, continued producing the same high quality plants as his father. James continued to build and expand the company and by the late 1970’s had over 17 greenhouses and rented greenhouse space from several other growers.
The next transformation occurred in 1983, when Jim purchased a second location in Toughkenamon, Chester County PA, adding another 22 acres of land and 50,000 square feet of space. Jim and his wife Leona(Quinn) continued running out of both locations until 2002, when they decided to sell the Drexel Hill location and move everything to one location. Even though they lost 17 obsolete greenhouses, they were replaced by a state of the art 50,000 sqft gutter connect greenhouse with a computer controlled environment and natural ventilation.
In 2006, John and his brother-in-law Bill Methlie took control of the company from their parents Jim and Leona, proudly becoming the 4th generation. Bill has a degree in marketing from St Joseph’s University, and John has a degree in ornamental Horticulture from Delaware Valley College. In 2007, Whalen’s Greenhouses was selected as a top five Up and Coming Growers according to Grower Talks Magazine. We are one of the few companies that still produce our own soil mix, adjusting it so each crop gets the proper ingredients needed so our customers have the best shelf life and garden performance possible.

With close to 2 million plants produced annually, 140,000 sq feet of greenhouse space with 3 acres of outside production, we can supply our customers with top quality product. We currently serve independent garden centers, churches, florists, landscape contractors and architects, schools and fundraisers in PA, DE, MD, NJ and NY.


Four generations later and we are still dedicated to producing the finest quality plant material on the market today. We would like to thank all of our customers in keeping this family business alive and stronger than ever.