Rose Articles

Rose Show Guide -

Schedule Terminology

by Brenda Viney

Exhibition Bloom

Exhibition Bloom

A classic Hybrid Tea-type (HT-type) bloom, ½ to ¾ open, having a high pointed centre, of triangular appearance when viewed from the side, where the petals unfold symmetrically and having a circular outline when looking down at the bloom along the axis of the stem. A stem without side buds (grown naturally without side buds or having been removed during early flower growth) with one single “exhibition” bloom on the top.

The term is used mainly for hybrid teas and miniatures, however, grandifloras, floribundas, shrubs, OGRs, climbers, Austins, etc. are all capable of producing exhibition blooms.

Entries should be balanced and proportionate – if blooms are large, stems should be long with lots of leaves. With smaller blooms, stems may be shorter, with fewer leaves.

A Decorative Bloom

Decorative Bloom

Any single bloom growing on a stem, other than an “exhibition” bloom, of whatever type of rose (i.e. does NOT have the typical hybrid tea high pointed centre). All varieties of roses are capable of producing these “informal” Decorative Blooms that don’t have a well defined, high pointed centre (can be a cupped, ruffled, flat bloom with a “quartered” centre and can also have “single” or “semi-double” petal counts).

An OGR should be naturally grown without side buds (i.e. was not disbudded), unless the bud is disproportionate to the rest of the exhibit, in which case it may be taken out.

A Stem

A Stem

Anything with a rose on top of a SINGLE stem is called a STEM. It can be:

  • an ‘exhibition’ bloom without side buds
  • a ‘decorative’ bloom with side buds
  • a ‘decorative’ bloom without side buds
  • a spray
  • 1 bud + 1 bloom = 2 blooms, hence, would be disqualified in “exhibition bloom” classes. Acceptable ONLY in classes calling for a “stem or bloom with side buds”, ie shrubs, Austins, climbers, OGRs.

A Spray

A Spray

A STEM with a cluster of blooms with 2 or more flowers open. All varieties of roses can grow and be exhibited this way - floribunda, grandiflora, shrub, OGR, mini. Hybrid Teas can also grow that way but can only be exhibited as a “spray” in class #51.

Blooms in the spray can all be fully open OR at different stages of bloom (i.e. buds, half open blooms, fully open blooms) – either way is acceptable and there will be no penalization for lack of bloom sequence.

The centre bud of a spray should be removed early in growth so there is no scar or gap – it usually opens earlier than the rest of the blooms, hence removing it gives a nicer spray of open blooms. The remaining florets cluster to fill the gap when the centre bud is removed.

Side Buds on Exhibits

Side Bud

All class sections specify whether stems can have “side buds” or not. Side buds are permitted on single and semi-double hybrid teas & minis, all florabundas, polyanthas, grandifloras, shrubs, large flowered climbers, and all classes of OGRs, unless otherwise specified.

Disproportionate side buds MAY be removed to make a better exhibit (e.g. if a bud is 2-3” higher than the bloom, it may be removed as the proportion of bud to bloom is not right). “Disbudding” should be done early in the growing season, if possible, otherwise disbudding scars will be penalized by the degree of distraction from the beauty of the specimen.


Stem on Stem

All roses may be exhibited with the stem holding a bloom still attached to a main cane.

There is NO penalty when OGRs and Modern Shrubs are shown this way with the stem-on-stem break either above or below the lip of the vase.

All other roses (e.g. HT, Fl, Gr, Mini) with the stem-on-stem break ABOVE the lip of the vase will be penalized but NOT disqualified.

A Single Bloom

Single Bloom

A rose with 4 to 8 petals
Semi-Double Bloom A rose with 9 to 16 petals
Double Bloom A rose with 17 to 25 petals
Full Bloom A rose with 26 to 40 petals
Very Full Bloom A rose with 41 + petals
Bud Sepals must be down with at least 2 petals unfurling, but not more than 1/4 open.



Refers to a "spray" of floribundas, grandifloras, minis, shrubs, OGRs, etc. and the development and arrangement of flowers on the spray. An inflorescence may take any form (flat, round, oval, rectangular) as long as it is pleasing. Judged for overall shape, compactness and general visual effect.

Sprays that typically have all blooms open to the same stage and sprays that typically have blooms in all stages of open or closed blooms, will NOT be penalized for lack of bloom sequence.

Penalizations on sprays:

  • Secondary stem growing below the main spray will detract from the overall line – remove the bottom stem with the bloom on it
  • Break in line with 2 blooms growing above the main spray detracts from the overall line of the inflorescence – remove the 2 blooms
Confused Centre A bloom in which the central petals lack symmetry and fail to form a good, clearly-defined, high pointed centre.
Split Centre A bloom in which the central petals have formed a cleavage resembling two or more centre.
Snub Centre A bloom in which the central petals fold over each other and obscure the centre.