Orchid Show: How to Get the Most Out of One

Fascinating World of Orchid Shows

All around the world, orchid societies and their affiliates sponsor and produce orchid shows. They provide orchid growers with a place to display their best and most unique
orchids and enter them for judging in the hopes of receiving
an award.

Some well-known orchid societies from around the world include:

  • American Orchid Society (AOS)
  • orchid show

  • Australian Orchid Council (AOC)
  • Cymbidium Society of America (CSA)
  • Royal Horticultural Society (RHS)
  • South African Orchid Council (SAOC)
  • Taiwan Orchid Growers Association (TOGA)
  • World Orchid Conference (WOC)

Orchid and supply vendors also attend these shows, which makes them the perfect place to pick up some new plants and specialty supplies. Orchid shows are not just about shopping and viewing floral displays; many shows include lectures and demonstrations given by orchid experts. These talks are excellent opportunities to learn information about orchid care, new technologies and growing techniques in the orchid growing industry, and other orchid-related topics.

Becoming a judge for an orchid show requires a lot of training. In particular, AOS judges don’t receive full certification for six to ten years! Upon acceptance, the trainee undertakes a three to five year training program, after which he or she is considered a “student judge.” Student judges are then allowed to judge at any AOS sponsored event, but they will not become fully certified for another three to five years. AOS-certified judges are required to continue their education and stay up to date on the latest developments by attending workshops and seminars.

Orchids are judged based on certain criteria, including but not limited to:

  • Bloom form (overall and individual parts of the bloom, i.e. sepal, petal, lip)
  • Bloom color (overall and individual parts)
  • Bloom size
  • Bloom arrangement and number of inflorescences
  • “Floriferousness” (how many flowers the plant has produced)

Points are given for each of these criteria and added up on a 100 point scale. Judges may also award other non-point based awards to orchids that are outstanding in certain ways.

Quality Awards: (points attributed to the orchid itself)

  • FCC (First Class Certificate): The highest flower quality award, given to species or hybrids that score 90 points.
  • AM (Award of Merit): Given to species or hybrids that score 80-89 points.
  • HCC (Highly Commended Certificate): Given to species or hybrids that score 75-79 points.

Cultural Awards: (points attributed to the orchid grower)

  • CCE (Certificate of Cultural Excellence): Given to the exhibitor of a well-flowered specimen plant of robust health. The plant must score more than 90 points. Plants receiving this award represent the highest level of orchid culture.
  • CCM (Certificate of Cultural Merit): Given to the exhibitor of a well-flowered specimen plant of robust health. The plant must score between 80-89 points.

Other Awards:

  • JC (Judges’ Commendation): Awarded to orchids that have distinctive characteristics that judges feel should be recognized but cannot be scored in the customary ways.
  • AD (Award of Distinction) and AQ (Award of Quality): Recognize worthy new trends and improved quality, respectively.
  • CBR (Certificate of Botanical Recognition): Awarded to rare and unusual species with educational interest that have not received any previous awards.
  • CHM (Certificate of Horticultural Merit): Awarded to a well-grown and well-flowered species or natural hybrid with characteristics that contribute to the horticultural aspects of orchidology.

orchid showOrchid shows and expos are great places to become exposed to all things orchid. Whether you have been growing orchids for many years, or if you are just wanting to dip your toe into the wonderful world of orchids, these shows offer wonderful opportunities for expanding your knowledge while enjoying many gorgeous orchid displays. You may even decide to enter one of your own!

Next Steps: Where do you go from here?

A couple options:

#1 – More Free Orchid Tips!
At a minimum, I strongly recommending signing up for our orchid tips newsletter (it’s free!). That’ll give you some additional (more detailed) step-by-step tips you can start using with your orchids right away…

#2 – Get Access to ALL My Articles on Orchids…
If you’d like to learn everything you need to know about caring for ALL types of orchids we also have something called the Orchids Made Easy Green Thumb Club.

The Green Thumb Club includes a number of different benefits – including weekly lessons on all different orchid care topics delivered to you in a special, password-protected members area. You also get the opportunity to get YOUR actual questions answered in my weekly “Ask The Orchid Guy” column, which you can check out here.

The Green Thumb Club costs less than a meal at McDonald’s – and ALSO includes all sorts of ADDITIONAL benefits, including exclusive discounts at orchid suppliers from 20-40% off as well access to our “orchid diagnosis tool” which helps you identify what problem might be plaguing your plant.

Because the club is backed by a full 100% money-back guarantee for a full 30 days, if after checking it out you decide that it’s not for you or that you didn’t get value you out of what you learned – no problem! Simply send us an email to let me know, and you’ll receive a fast and courteous refund. Put it this way: If you’re not happy, I’m not happy!

(By the way, this link here will give you access to 50% off the cost of membership. A little “gift” for reading this article all the way to the end :-))

Until Next Time,


Ryan “The Orchid Guy” :-)

IMPORTANT: To learn everything you need to know about caring for your orchids, if you haven’t already I strongly recommend signing up for the “Orchid Care Tips & Secrets Newsletter” my wife and I publish by clicking here.

It’s completely free – and the best part? You can even choose the type of information you’d like to receive (reblooming tips, basics of orchid care, etc.) Join over 20,000 fellow orchid enthusiasts young and old and sign up for our free orchid care newsletter today! :-)

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