Some points apply to any show plants in pots. Aim to have plants in groups in the same colour and try not to mix plastic and clay. It is not too difficult to change a pot or even put one inside another. Moving plants to a show can be a traumatic experience if you have not done it before! Be sure that if something can go wrong it will. Make sure the plants cannot move or fall over. Upturned cardboard boxes such as those supermarkets use for fruit are excellent plant holders once a circular hole has been cut with a sharp knife.
Always label the plants. It is a great help to the public if the label can be read without turning sideways! You can buy horizontal labels or make them from pieces of card. White letters on black are effective and are what botanic gardens use. Any home computer has a range of typefaces appropriate for your labels if your handwriting is untidy. Florists have plastic holders used for cards on wreaths which make good label supports.
The Scottish Begonia Society supplies 4ft by 4ft display boards which allow an exhibitor to arrange plants at four levels. The lower level is wider than the other three which means up to 30 plants in six inch pots can be displayed on one board. To gain maximum impact put taller plants on the top shelf and trailing types at the front. Use Rex and others with good leaf coverage to cover the bases of the taller pots. Try to get hold of some black cloth to wrap round the pots and the edges – this also helps hold the plants in place. You can staple the material to plastic pots but remember you have done this when dismantling time comes!
Stanley R.D. da Prato