Showing a plant at a FLOS meeting

Every meeting features a collection of blooming orchids brought in by members just like you, and yes, you can play too!

What should I bring to share?

Almost anything in bloom is welcome. There are three simple rules:

  1. You must have owned the plant for at least three months.
  2. No pests or diseases!
  3. You need to know the name of the plant. (You can bring in plants with lost tags and ask members to help identify them but they need a tag to be judged.)

How do I prepare the plant for exhibition?

Your plant will show its best if you spend a little time cleaning it up.

  1. Wipe down the leaves.
  2. Trim off dead stuff.
  3. Stake the flower if it is not showing well.

Check the name!

Plant names should be checked using authoritative sources. Just because you find something on the Internet doesn’t mean it is true!


Species names should be checked using the World Checklist of Selected Plant Families (WCSP) from Kew Royal Botanical Gardens.

Let’s say you have a gorgeous Brassavola cordata. Go to WCSP and enter the name of the plant. Here’s what you get:

WCSP says the Accepted Name in the scientific literature is now Brassavola subulifolia. That’s what you want to put on your tag.


Hybrid names should be checked using the International Orchid Register (IOR) from the Royal Horticultural Society.

Let’s say you have a lovely flower labelled B. Jimminey Cricket. That doesn’t look like a species name because it is all capitalized, so it is a hybrid.

Go to the IOR website.  Scroll down the page until you find the GREX search and put in the name Jimminey Cricket:


After you press Search you will get this result:

Hooray! You found your plant, maybe… Click on the link that says Jimminey Cricket and see what it says:


Welcome to the world of name changes!

Your nice Brassavola Jimminey Cricket has had a name change to Rhynchovola Jimminey Cricket. That’s what you want to put on your label.

[Aside: scientists decided that Brassavola digbyana was really Rhyncholaelia digbyana. The hybrid B. Jimminey Cricket was made before this name change. So now we have to change the name of the hybrid because the name of one of the parents changed!]

But don’t worry… it usually isn’t this hard!

Register your plant

Come a little early when you are bringing your baby to show it off. There are pads of paper on the display tables with registration slips. Fill one out with the name of the orchid (you found that out above!) and check off the right category. Ask an experienced member if you need help with that.

Put your name on the bottom of the form and then fold the paper so your name is not showing. That way they judges won’t know who the grower is when they are judging. Impartiality and all that.


Even if you don’t win a ribbon it’s still great to bring in plants. You get to share your pride and joy and other people enjoy seeing what grows locally. If you DO win a prize then you get bragging rights! There are three kinds of ribbons awarded:

RED – a flower of some distinction

BLUE – a flower of very high quality

GREEN – a culture award given for the growth of the entire plant

All ribbon winners are listed in the next newsletter published.