HOS Plant Show

The HOS Plant Show is held annually during the HOS Spring Meeting. Pictures of winning plants are usually published in the HOS Journal and here on the HOS website. The HOS “Best in Show” Trophy is awarded to the best exhibit in the show. The trophy may he held for one year, and must then be returned for engraving. An RHS Banksian Medal is awarded to the most successful exhibitor each year. In addition to the competitive entries, members are encouraged to bring other interesting plants for non-competitive display.

From the 2015 Plant Show a new Class has been added for plants raised from seed by the grower Details in the Schedule of Classes (see below)

Scoring has been ammended for the 2015 Plant Show
Classes 1 through 4, where three plants are entered:
FIRST - 5 points; SECOND - 4 points; THIRD - 3 points
All other classes will be scored as previously:
FIRST - 3 points; SECOND - 2 points; THIRD - 1 point


‘For the purposes of the Schedules of Classes for Hardy Orchid Society Plants Shows, “Europe” shall be considered to include the following:

Western and Central Europe
Russia – West of the Urals
European Turkey
The Islands of: Iceland, Madeira, Canary Islands, Azores

The following shall be considered “Non-European”:
“Anatolia “ (Eastern Turkey)
Rest of the World

“This definition shall apply to species and subspecies endemic to those regions. Species and subspecies occurring in both regions can be included in both.”

Go to winning photographs from recent HOS Plant Shows:

2019; 2018; 2017 ; 2016 ; 2015 ; 2014 ; 2013 ; 2012 ; 2011 ; archive

Details of the Plant Show Classes, Rules and Guidelines for Exhibitors and Judges follow

Schedule of Classes for Plant Shows

  1. Three pots native British orchids, distinct varieties
  2. Three pots native European (not native to Britain) orchids, distinct varieties
  3. Three pots non-European orchids, distinct varieties
  4. Three pots hardy orchids, distinct varieties, any country of origin
  5. One pot native British orchid
  6. One pot native European (not native to Britain) orchid
  7. One pot non-European orchid
  8. One pot Dactylorhiza
  9. One pot Orchis, Anacamptis or Neotinea
  10. One pot Ophrys
  11. One pot Serapias
  12. One pot Cypripedium (see Rule 10)
  13. One pot Calanthe
  14. One pot Pleione
  15. One plant or pan of plants raised from seed by the grower. The grower to provide the name of the species or of both pod and pollen parents if a hybrid; details of fungus used (if any); details of sowing medium; dates sown, re-plated and weaned.)
  16. One pot of any hardy orchid (Beginners’ Class open to members who have never won a first prize in a Hardy Orchid Society Plant Show
  17. Non-competitive Class. Any hardy orchid, number of entries unlimited

  18. Plant Show Rules

  19. Definitions. For the purposes of HOS Plant Shows, the term “Hardy” includes all plants that could reasonably be expected to survive winter temperatures down to 0°C, whether in the open or under glass. The term "pot" is used for any container that a plant is exhibited in, and does not imply any particular shape or material.

  20. Eligibility. All classes are open to all members of the Hardy Orchid Society. Members may enter more than one plant to a class although only points gained for a 1st, 2nd or 3rd place count towards the Banksian Medal.

  21. Entry Fees. No entry fees will be payable.

  22. Show Details. Advance entry is normally required although, at the Show Secretary’s discretion, late entries may be accepted on the day of the show. Members will be informed in a Journal preceding the Show of the time by which exhibits must be staged, and the earliest time they may be removed.

  23. Ownership. All plants exhibited must have been legitimately acquired and have been cultivated by the exhibitor for at least six months prior to the show.  Plants that have been removed from the wild, legally or otherwise, may not be exhibited.

  24. Pots. The HOS does not specify any aspect of the containers that plants may be exhibited in. However, the size and shape of a container should always be appropriate for the plant(s) it contains.

  25. Number of Plants per Pot. Unless otherwise stated, each pot may contain more than one plant, provided all plants are similar forms of a single species.  However, when more than one flower spike is present, ‘uniformity’ will be one of the judging criteria.

  26. Labelling.  All plants should be correctly and clearly named with a label placed (preferably horizontally) in the pot. However, incorrect or unclear labelling will be considered only in a close competition.

  27. Lifting of Plants. It is not required for a plant to have been grown in the pot in which it is exhibited.

  28. Additional Information. Further information on any relevant aspect of an exhibit is always welcomed, written neatly on a card placed beside the exhibit.

  29. Judging. The judge may withhold awards where entries are not of adequate standard.

  30. Protests. Any protest must be made to a member of the Committee within one hour of the opening of the Show after judging. The decision of the Committee will be final.

  31. Liability. While the Hardy Orchid Society will endeavour to take good care of all exhibits, it will not be liable for compensation for any damage or loss, however caused.

Guidelines for Exhibitors and Judges at Plant Shows

  • General Considerations:
  • note that plants will be judged as they appear on the show bench; no allowance will be made for past glories or future potential
  •  the suitability of the plant, and particularly whether it is “hardy”
  • the overall appearance of the plant, and particularly if its character is that of a mature plant in the wild
  • the condition of the flowers
  • the condition of the foliage
  • in multi-pot classes, all plants will be considered equally
  • all other things being equal, the difficulty of cultivating the plant(s) may be considered
  • the rarity of a plant, either in the wild or in cultivation, shall not be considered
  • where a hybrid or variety is exhibited that does not occur in the wild, it will be judged where possible with reference to similar naturally occurring plants

  • Desirable Characteristics:
  • a plant that has the form and stature of a mature plant in the wild
  • flowers that are of good size, shape and colour, fully out, and well-presented on sturdy stalks; with multiflowered spikes.  A good proportion of the flowers should be fully open
  • foliage that is clean, of good colour and undamaged (note, in those varieties whose foliage is normally withered at flowering time in the wild, due allowance should be made)
  • a plant that is free from pests and diseases
  • pots that are clean and undamaged, and of a diameter and depth apropriate for the plant(s) contained
  • where a pot contains more than one plant, similar form and flowering of the individual plants is desirable

  • Undesirable Characteristics:
  • a plant that is immature, forced, or unnaturally dwarf
  • flowers that are atypically small or few in number, distorted, of poor colour, not fully open, going over, or held on weak stalks
  • flower spikes that contain a high proportion of unopened buds, dead or dying flowers, or from which much material has been removed
  • foliage that is dirty, damaged, of poor colour or prematurely withered
  • Plants that have pests or diseases.  If a transferable pest or disease is detected, the stewards will remove the plant from the show bench
  • where a pot contains more than one plant, non-uniformity between the individual plants
  • weeds, algae or undesirable moss on the surface of the compost
  • pots that are dirty or damaged, or which are an inappropriate diameter or depth for the plants contained