Awards & Judging FAQs

Have questions about the AOS awards program or judging? We've got answers to the most frequently asked questions. There may even be some questions you wouldn't think to ask. See the questions and answers below.

How can I get my plant Judged?

You can have your plant judged at a monthly judging, an AOS judged show or at an outreach judging sponsored by an AOS affiliate. Find out when these types of events are held on the AOS Event Calendars.

What are the requirements for my plant to be judged?

Plants may be entered by the owner in person, by someone else on their behalf. Plants and flowers must be accompanied by sufficient information to be judged including complete species or hybrid name, and the cross (if a hybrid). Please make sure plants are pest free.

Do I have to be an AOS member to have my plant judged?

No, you do not have to be an AOS member to have your plant judged. AOS orchid judging is a public service. As a non-member you may have to pay a higher award fee than an AOS member would. You can become an AOS member and get the lower award price and typically pay for the annual membership with the difference you would pay for two awards at the non-member price.

What is an Outreach Judging?

Outreach judging is a service offered by the AOS Judging Centers to introduce local societies and exhibitors to how the judging process works. An actual judging is hosted by an AOS affiliated society and AOS judges will travel to the society location and conduct an official judging with education about the process and hints for what judges look for. Find out more details. Once a society decides to host a judging, the first step is to contact the local AOS Judging Center Chair, who will guide the society through filling out the application.

How do I know if my plant is good enough for an AOS judging?

Find out more about how judges evaluate plants and what to expect as an exhibitor.

As an AOS affiliate how do I get my orchid show judged?

Judging Center Chairs guide affiliated societies through the process which starts by filling out an application. Locate a nearby judging center along with the Center Chair contact information.

What's involved in having an orchid show judging at my local society show?

Once the application is filled out and fees paid, the society Show Chair will receive an email about next steps to get started. For additional questions, the AOS Judging Center Chair will be able to guide a society including guidance about Plant Registration, Classifying Plants and Show Programs.

What do judges look for when judging an exhibit?

There are several webinars available to members that explain what judges are looking for when awarding the prestigious Show Trophy at an Orchid show along with several other types of display awards.

What can I use OrchidPro for and how do I find out how to use it?

OrchidPro is the AOS's official record of awards, but the software offers much more. Access OrchidPro online as part of your AOS membership benefits, view tutorials and a webinar to find out how to use OrchidPro.

Can anyone become an AOS judge?

Yes, anyone in the US or Canada who wants to be a judge can enter the judging program. Find out what it takes to be a judge here.

How long does it really take to be an AOS judge and how would I know it's for me?

A student is considered a judge the day they begin the education program and is already participating in plant judging at that time. Most students are promoted to associate judge in as little as three years when their scores begin to count. Fully accredited judges enjoy an additional level of duties that include serving as AOS judging chair at a show. Learning is ongoing and most judges will say they enjoy judging at each stage. It's a good idea to attend several local judgings to observe before applying to become a student. Ask questions and see what goes on at a typical judging event.

As a judge or exhibitor, how do I bring my ideas forward for the judging program?

AOS judges, exhibitors or observers can reach out for their local AOS Judging Center Chair or they can inquire directly to the JC Committee at

What do judges look for when considering a flower award, a cultural award, or other award?

A list of award types can be found on our website, but generally speaking a flower award is given to outstanding examples of blooms that meet certain standards for their particular genus and species or grex when compared to the latest in their breeding lines and to other previously awarded blooms. Cultural awards are awarded to the grower are judged largely based on culture and floriferousness.

My plant received an AOS award at a local what?

You will receive a copy of the award form signed by the AOS Judging Center Chair before you leave the judging event. The judging center has up to 60 days to finalize the award, in some cases they will be complete in a week to 10 days, once that is complete you will receive an emailed invoice from the Director of Awards with details about award payment. Once the award invoice is paid, your award will be published in OrchidPro within 24-hours of online payment. All flower awards are also published in Orchids magazine at least a year following it being published in OrchidPro.

What does SITF do?

The Species Identification Task Force confirms species, when they are awarded for the very first time by the AOS or receive a CHM, or requested by any judge for verification. Find out why this is an important service and as a species grower, how you can contribute to the recording and education of new species by entering them for judging.