About the 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.

New Summer Plant Show 2021

This year there was an additional online HOS plant show representing the orchids that flower between March and July. For many years the Spring Show has favoured the growers of spring-flowering, mainly winter-green, species. This new on-line show offered an opportunity for the many members that grow orchids that flower in the summer months to exhibit photographs of their plants. Classes and entry details specific to this new show are provided below. All of the first-placed entries can be viewed here and Members can view the complete results with images of all entries and the judge's comments on the password protected pages (see JHOS) and will be added to the main Plant Show pages shortly.

Entry Details for Summer Virtual Plant Show 2021

The Virtual Summer Plant Show is designed primarily to enable plant growers of species that flower during the summer months an opportunity to exhibit photographs of their plants. Photographs must have been taken between the 21st March and the 31st July 2021. Points gained in this competition will be added to those earned in the Spring Show to determine the winner of the Banksian medal. Any HOS member can enter as many Classes as they wish but only one entry is allowed per member per Class. Classes will remain the same as for a normal HOS Plant Show as will the rules defining which plants may be shown and how this should be done BUT WITH THE FOLLOWING EXCEPTIONS:

Amendment to Classes

There will be no Class 1, 2, 3, 4, or 17. There will be the following additional Classes:
Class 18 One pot Epipactis
Class 19 Any plant or group of plants cultivated by the entrant within their garden setting planted in a flower bed or tub.

Amendment to Rules

No plant may be entered in more than one Class - in the interest of clarity, a plant that has previously been entered in the Spring Show may be entered  in the Summer Show, PROVIDED that the entry to the Summer Show has been photographed between March 21st and July 31st.

Entries will consist of a pair of photographs of the plant in JPEG format, one of the whole plant including at least part of the containing pot and one a close up of a single flower or small group of flowers. For Class 19 this requirement will treated as met if Photograph A  shows sufficient detail for the judge to establish that the plant has been grown in the garden environment.

The name attached to each photograph, preferably as a file name, should be written as follows:- Class No. for which  the  plant is entered – Plant Name A (for whole plant photograph) or B (close up photograph). For example “Class 10 – Ophrys tenthredinifera – B.jpg. Please do not embed text within the photograph.

Email entries to Colin Rainbow by 11:00 p.m. on Saturday 31st July at the latest, preferably earlier, using WeTransfer if files are large.
The judge will be a plant judge not a photographic judge. He/she will judge according to the qualities of the plant, not the qualities of the photograph itself.

Following judging, the entries & results will be posted on the website in the password protected area approximately one week after closing of entries. It is a condition of entry that the copyright holder of the photographs grants irrevocable permission  to the Hardy Orchid Society for publication of the photographs entered in this show, in either or both, of the Society’s website and Journal without compensation.

Click to Open Classes, Rules & Guidelines


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

European and Non - European

‘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.”

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

Results from Previous HOS Plant Shows

Due to the Coronavirus pandemic it was not possible to hold a Plant Show in 2020 and for our main show in 2021 the normal spring show at Kidlington was replaced with an online digital show based on Members' photographs of their plants.

Click here to see results from the Spring 2021 Plant Show

Click here to see results from the Summer 2021 Plant Show

Archive of Winning Entries from recent HOS Plant Shows:

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