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2001 Paul Barlow

Chrysanthemum judging

This page describes some (but by no means all) of the elements involved in chrysanthemum judging.  This page aims to give the reader a very high level view of some of the aspects that the chrysanthemum judge is looking for when chrysanthemums are exhibited.

The National Chrysanthemum Society (N.C.S.)   has a very clear system for judging the various types of chrysanthemums. This includes tables that allocate points to each aspect of quality based on relative importance. There is also a faults and penalties table to help judges determine the relative severity of particular faults.

However the N.C.S.Executive Committee have requested that no detailed information about the points system and faults and penalties system be reproduced here.

The following topics are included on this page:
- Overview of considerations and relative importance
- Common faults
- Definitions
- Illustrations (link)

Overview of considerations and relative importance

The major considerations when judging are:

For example, for disbudded blooms such as Reflexed or Incurved FORM is considered most important, whereas STAGING and FOLIAGE are considered less important.

The relative importance of each aspect is shown below:

Disbuds Large and Medium Exhibition Natural Sprays Exhibition Sprays
Form 1st 3rd    
Size 2nd= 1st=    
Freshness 2nd= 1st=    
Colour 4th 4th    
Uniformity 5th      
Foliage 6th=   3rd 4th
Staging 6th=      
Foliage and Staging     5th    
Bloom quality     1st(2) 1st (1)
Spray quality       2nd (3)
Overall effect     2nd(4) 3rd (4)


Notes for Sprays

Note 1 - Bloom Quality Exhibition Sprays
This aspect of quality breaks down into the following: FRESHNESS (1st), FORM (2nd), COLOUR (3rd) SIZE (4th)

Note 2 - Bloom Quality Natural Sprays
This aspect of quality breaks down into the following:  FRESHNESS (1st), COLOUR (2nd=), FORM (2nd=),

Note 3 - Spray Quality  Exhibition sprays
This aspect of quality breaks down into the following: FORM (1st=), UNIFORM PLACEMENT & DEVELOPMENT (1st=)

Note 4 - Overall Effect Exhibition and Natural sprays
For Natural sprays this aspect covers PROGRESSION OF DEVELOPMENT and STAGING
For Exhibition Sprays this aspect covers  STAGING and NUMBER OF BLOOMS

Common faults

The list below contains just a few examples of the common faults that the judge may encounter and an indication of the seriousness of each of the faults described. This is by no means a complete list of the faults that can be found in chrysanthemums.

    Severity level

Blooms lacking in depth


Daisy eye

Very Serious

Centres underdeveloped

Less Serious

Blooms well down on size

Serious to very serious

Blooms slightly down on size

Less Serious

Basal florets tired


Bloom or blooms badly damaged

Serious to very serious

Colour very poor for cultivar


Colour faded at the base


Badly diseased foliage


Absence of foliage on the stem


Packing visible and untidy

Less Serious

Poor bloom spacing

Less Serious

Further guidance is also given  for each chrysanthemum type, e.g. Incurved, Reflexed, Singles, Sprays, Pompons. In all there are well over 100 possible faults that a judge may encounter.

Aspect of quality Definition
Form Form means the approved shape of the flower as specified for it's type at it's most perfect stage of development.
Size Size means a full-sized specimen in keeping with the recognised normal full sixe for the cultivar concerned.
Freshness Freshness requires that florets should be unblemished and fresh to the tip.
Colour Colour means that which is typical of good colour for the cultivar concerned.
Uniformity Uniformity means that blooms of the same cultivar exhibited in the same vase should be uniform in terms of size, form and colour.
Other definitions   
Natural Spray A Natural Spray is a lateral with flowers ranging from bud to fully developed and conforming to one of the accepted spray forms.
Exhibition Spray An Exhibition spray is a lateral with only one flower on each pedicel emerging from the lateral.


This link will take you to a separate page showing examples of  chrysanthemum types:

FORMS page

If you would like further information or wish to comment on this publication please send your e-mail to:

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Last updated on 26 December, 2001