From the Digest

Show Entry Easier for 2023

The 2023 show will use color-coded entry cards that identify entrants by age and experience. Expect other improvements, too.

Several changes for 2023 have made entering HSCSS’ Annual Show more straightforward and balanced for members who wish to participate. The following information outlines how to enter and describes several new facets of show management.

General Guidelines

All current members of the Henry Shaw Cactus and Succulent Society are eligible to enter the annual HSCSS Show and Sale. The Junior Division is open to members who are 16 years old and younger. Children and grandchildren of members are also welcome to participate. No commercial growers may enter this free member show.

Except for the Decorative and Plant Display sections, all plants must have been in exhibitors’ possession at least six months. All plants except those in the Decorative section must be identified with their botanical names on entry cards and staged in pots with top dressing. Plants may be supported by trellises when necessary.

This show defines a succulent as a plant that comes from a habitat that is arid or semi-arid at least part of the year and has evolved a means to survive periods of drought. All entries must adhere to this definition.

Follow These Steps to Enter:

1. Review the rules and guidelines in the Show Schedule and determine entry classes for your best plants. Judging is based primarily on plant health and staging. The show includes categories for specimen and decorative plants, as well as photography and educational displays.

To simplify the entry process this year, most sections in the specimen plant categories are based on geographic region rather than plant family. Each section includes only a few classes. Specialized (grafted, crested, etc.) and bonsai plants have their own sections based on plant type. See the Show Schedule for the full list and other information.

To determine the class number for a plant, define the region in which it is found in nature by searching online or via other method. This dictates its entry section. Then choose the general class for your plant.

Example: Suppose you have a nice Mammillaria hahniana. indicates the species is native to central Mexico. According to the Show Schedule, that location puts the plant in Section 4: Plants Endemic to North America Including Mexico and the Caribbean. Since it is a cactus, the mammillaria would be entered in Class 400, Cacti. Use this class number on your entry card.

NEW IN 2023: Except where indicated in the Show Schedule, each member may have up to two entries per class. Also, members can enter a group of up to 20 of their favorite plants in the non-judged Member Plant Display class.

ENTRANT STATUS: To encourage greater participation in the show, specimen plant classes are broken into Novice and Advanced categories to allow entrants to compete with their peers. Those who have won 20 or more blue ribbons in specimen plant classes in past shows are in the Advanced group, while those not yet up to that mark enter as Novices.

2. Complete a Show Entry Form and return by July 18. Write in the numbers for the classes you intend to enter – and be sure to note any plants with a 12 inch x 12 inch or larger combined plant and pot size. Return a copy in person at the July 9 HSCSS meeting or by mail to Janet Kister (5121 Ashrock Dr., St. Louis, MO 63129). Be sure to keep a copy for yourself.

To enter by e-mail, return the PDF entry form or send a message to Janet Kister ( that includes your name, telephone number, e-mail address and which classes you will enter. Also note if your plants are large. Entry confirmation and number assignments will be made by e-mail or telephone.

3. Pick up enough Entry Cards at HSCSS meetings to provide one card for each plant, plant display or other entry. The cards identify exhibitors, class numbers and plant names. Place the completed cards next to your entries as you stage them on the show tables. Fold back the tops of the cards so the judges cannot see your name. (Entry cards will also be available at the show venue during setup.)

4. Prepare your plants for public viewing. As the show approaches, remove cobwebs and dead or dying tissue from plants, and be sure they have no bugs or other pests that could affect other entries. Replace broken or unsightly pots. Apply appropriate top dressing. Remember that each entry reflects on the Henry Shaw Cactus and Succulent Society.

5. Stage your entries at Jost Event Center during the designated setup periods: July 27, 12:00-8:00 p.m, and July 28, 8:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. Locate the display areas for your entries and place them along with their completed entry cards in the designated spaces on the show tables. Remove plant labels and tape them to the bottoms of your entries’ pots or store them elsewhere. Due to space and time limitations, do not plan to clean or “touch up” plants as you stage them.

Avoid the judging period after setup on July 28 to allow the judges to efficiently do their jobs. All members are encouraged to attend the official show opening at 8:30 a.m. on July 29. Enjoy fellow members’ plants throughout the show and pick up a few choice selections from the vendor tables.

6. At the end of the show on July 30, remove your plants between 4:00 and 6:00 p.m.