Naming Orchid Hybrids: Steps to register a new cross through the RHS How to submit your hybrid to the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS)

In Orchids
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So you’ve spent the last couple of years learning about growing orchids from seed, you’ve made a few new crosses, sowed the seeds, raised them to the point that you deflasked them, and now one has either bloomed (or it’s about it). How do you register your new orchid hybrid and give it a fancy name? And what do you need to submit when registering that new hybrid? In this post, we’re going to cover the steps I followed when I registered my very first hybrid, Phragmipedium Mem. Frank Louwe.

PS: The process of registering a hybrid wasn’t overly difficult and if you’re ready to just get started, you can hop over to the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) site and follow the instructions right now without much direction. But…if you’re planning to register a new cross in the future or if you just want to know what’s involved in the process, then this is for you…


Checklist to cover before registering a new orchid hybrid

There are a few requirements you’ll need to confirm before you can register a hybrid. This is a quick list of things to keep in mind before getting started:

  • Confirm that the hybrid you’ve made is actually unregistered. You can do that by searching the RHS database of currently-accepted hybrids.
  • Plan a few options for names.
    • The proposed name must not be copyright protected.
    • Orchids named after people (Example, “Phrag Samuel Crothers”) must include written permission from the person who holds the name; if the person is a child aged 16 or under, you will need parental consent; if the person has passed (and cannot provide written permission) you can add “Memoria” in front of the name.
    • Some breeders add a “brand name” with their orchid registrations (Example, “Phal Zheng Min Anaconda” or “Phal Zheng Min Tyrannosaurus” – and as you can see Zheng Min has a bit of a formula for naming the crosses he creates 🙂 )
  • Flower your new hybrid; it is a requirement that the plant has been flowered in order to be eligible for registration. New hybrids DO NOT need to be awarded to be registered.
  • Take at least 2 photos of the flower (front-facing and side-profile). You must have copyright permissions (including name and address of the owner) if the images are not owned by yourself.
  • Write a description of the plant (height of plant, width of flower head, colours of flowers and foliage) and you can also include details like date pollinated, date sowed, and awards held by the parents.
  • You should be the actual creator of the hybrid in question or you need written permission to submit a registration on behalf of the breeder. If you bought a plant and flowered it—it’s poor taste to try and register it without the creators permission.
  • A desktop computer—the RHS orchid hybrid registration portal isn’t mobile enabled, so you’ll need a laptop or computer to register your plant.
  • Fee to register: £12 (roughly $22CDN or $16USD)


Steps to register a new orchid hybrid name with the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS)

  1. Flower your new unregistered orchid hybrid; again, you can check if a cross has been registered on the RHS site.
  2. Create an account on the RHS site.
    • Be sure to confirm that your contact details are correct.
  3. Take photos of your plant and flower.
  4. Begin the register process, here on the RHS site. It’s simple and strait forward especially if you’ve done a good job of tracking your hybrid and organizing your photos and what not.
  5. Other submission details you are able to include:
    1. Date of pollination
    2. Date of seed harvest
    3. Date of seed sowing
    4. Awards of the parents
    5. Personal inventory numbers and other notes
  6. Once you’re finished submitting your details and new orchid hybrid, you’ll get an email confirming your submission.
  7. You’ll then be asked to submit payment for your registration(s). £12 per registration.
  8. Complete your payment through the portal via the payment options—Visa and Mastercard are of the accepted options. You’ll get another confirmation via email that your transaction has been processed and is complete.
  9. Finally, assuming everything goes as planned and there are no issues with your chosen name, submitted photos, or other details about your hybrid, you’ll get a certificate via email of your new hybrid. This process isn’t instant, so it may take a few days or weeks before you get your final certificate.


Congratulations if you’ve gotten this far!

It’s a real accomplishment and I know all too well the investment involved in an achievement like this—literally years of dedication to your hobby. Well done!


If you’re curious, here’s my first registered orchid cross used to make this post: