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Judging

The Philadelphia Flower Show is a competition that attracts the best of the best.

Flower Show judges have a nearly impossible job: selecting which exhibits are most deserving of the coveted blue ribbon! Judging criteria may consider quality of design, horticulture, plantsmanship, visitor experience, among many other uniquely demonstrated qualities.

Decisions of the judges are final. (Note: Entries designated "For Exhibition Only" will not be judged and will not receive comments, point scores, or sweepstakes points). A listing of all Flower Show Awards can be found in the Exhibitor's Guide.

Judging criteria may consider quality of design, horticulture, plantsmanship, visitor experience, among many other uniquely demonstrated qualities such as: 

  • Cultural Perfection: Vigorous, healthy appearance including foliage, flowers or fruit, and form characteristic of a well-grown plant; there should be no indication of pests or disease.

  • Distinctiveness: Meritorious in aesthetic appeal; noteworthy in size and relationship to container. 

  • Bloom: Quality and quantity of bloom, including freshness and substance; mass effect if appropriate to the class.

  • Fruit: Quality and abundance of fruit, if appropriate to the class, including color and mass effect. 

  • Maturity: Size of plant and foliage characteristic of a mature specimen.

  • Difficulty: Challenging to grow (and bring to bloom, if applicable to the class); requiring specialized growing conditions, skill, and care.

  • Rarity: Seldom grown and exhibited by amateur horticultural enthusiasts.


Philadelphia Flower Show exhibits will be judged for horticultural excellence and conformation to class rules listed in the Exhibitor's Guide. Judges are guided by point scales for each class; Horticulture point scales can be found in the Exhibitor's Guide: Horticulture Classes.