Trails End Iris Gardens, Ontario, Canada

Iris Flower Show Judging Criteria

Here's A Peak At The Judging Criteria For Irises
An Iris is evaluated against the maximum typical performance of the variety being judged. Therefore, your "Dusky Challenger" stem will be judged against the best a well-grown 'Dusky Challenger' stem can be. The judging criteria and marks for each class of Iris varies, but here is an overview of the judging breakdown for a Tall Bearded Iris, which you may find helpful.

Judging Criteria

Tall Bearded

A. Cultural Perfection
  1. Flower 45  
a) Colour 15  
  b) Size 5  
c) Substance 10  
d) Form 15  
  2. Stalk 30  
a) Open Blooms 15  
  b) Branch balance and Bud Placement 15  

Maximum Cultural Perfection Points:


B. Condition and Grooming


Maximum Condition and Grooming Points:


Total Points

A. Cultural Perfection

B. Condition and Grooming 25

Maximum Total Points:


Descriptions of Judging Criteria

A. Cultural Perfection
  1. Flower
a) Colour Clean with no discolouration, with no signs of aging. All flowers on a stalk should have the similar colour intensity.

b) Size

Size is determined by the skill of the grower. Undersized flowers are penalized. Large flowers must be in proportion to the stalk.

c) Substance

Is the inner tissue structure, which determines the durability of the flower. As the flower ages, watery areas near the petal edges become visible, often causing some curling.

d) Form

Must be typical of the variety. Ther must be no distorted flower parts. A bad tear or sever damage will cause loss of the 15 points. A partially opened bloom cannot be fully examined and therefore would only get a maximum of 10 points instead of a possible 15 points.
2. Stalk
a) Open Blooms Multiple blooms on a stalk are required only if it is typical for that variety.

b) Branch balance and Bud Placement

Must be typical for the variety. Stems grown in a horizontal position will lose all 15 points.

B. Condition and Grooming
  Points are rewarded for properly prepared stalks. Condition refers to the degree of visible improvement in the appearance of the stalk as a result of grooming.

Stalk height

Should be displayed at a height that is proportional.


All diseased foliage should be removed. Trim less than 1/4 inch of foliage and follow the natural contour of the leaf in it entirety. Blunt edges and massive trimming are unacceptable.


If flower has been removed be sure not to damage the spathe and leave it intact.


A branch can be removed where a leaf conceals its connection to the stalk. No damage should be visible.


No dirt, dust or spray residues. Slight smudges and fingerprints are easily removed with a soft tissue.


One or two aphids are not a problem since they could have traveled from another stalk. Infestation is unacceptable.

Position in container

The bottom branch should be exhibited above the containers opening. Leaning stalks should be wedged with a cotton swab or tissue.

Hopefully, these hints will take the mystery out of what the judges are looking for and you will have lots of fun and friendship.