Mission and Activities

The mission of the Houston Judging Center is to promote and support the goals of the American Orchid Society (AOS)—knowledge and appreciation of orchids, as well as education about them. Our job is to recognize and reward value in all aspects of orchids. We deal with quality, artistry, advancements in breeding, and cultivation of the vast variety of orchids, whether species or hybrids. We are a team of highly trained volunteers whose services are offered to all orchidists at our monthly judging or at AOS shows and other venues. We also host regular seminars and symposia.

Formal judging in the U.S. began at the first AOS National Orchid show in 1924, and we now count 36 judging sites for 27 centers, including Puerto Rico and Canada. Here in Houston, HJC has been judging continuously since 1991, an outgrowth from the center in San Antonio. Our sponsor is Houston Orchid Society, but we serve many other societies in Texas and Louisiana, as far away as New Orleans.

Plants at an AOS show are considered eligible for awards unless specifically noted otherwise; for other judgings, we ask for clean plants and flowers that are clearly labeled with the genus, species, and hybrid names, plus the exhibitor’s name. Possible awards include for 1) Quality: highly commended certificate (HCC), award of merit (AM) and first class certificate (FCC); 2) Grower Appreciation: certificate of cultural merit (CM) and certificate of cultural excellence (CCE); and 3) the AOS Show Trophy (for shows); plus other categories. Awards are published by AOS.

We welcome you to join us often, and we are always looking for enthusiastic volunteers to help us do our work well and to become judges with us!

The Houston Judging Center meets the third Saturday of each month at First Christian School, 1601 Sunset Boulevard, Houston, Texas 77005.

We have returned to in-person judging and continue to monitor the pandemic situation and CDC guidelines. Please check here prior to attending a judging session to determine whether we are holding the judging in person.

Judging Schedule

10:30 a.m. Student training
11:00 a.m. Business meeting
12:00 p.m. Lunch break
12:30 p.m. Judging to completion

Plants submitted for judging must be registered by 11am on the day of judging. You may register in person or in advance by using our online pre-registration form.

Upcoming Meetings

Paphiopedilum urbanianum ‘Rick’s Choice’ (species)
—Rick Hepler, Pasadena, Texas

Photo: Malcolm McCorquodale

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