Tending for the Spider Orchid – an Autumn Fragrant Delight
The spider orchid, also called the Brassia orchid, is a group of about 30 different orchids with long and spiky flower petals and sepals. Another common name for them is cricket orchids because their appearance also resembles that of cricket’s legs. The flowers are patterned and mottled, which makes them look even more insect-like.
If you’ve always wanted to grow an orchid in your garden or backyard, or you’re intrigued by the appearance of these orchids and want to learn more about them, you’re going to love today’s guide. We’ll talk about some of the main tips and tricks of growing and caring for the spider orchid.
Spider Orchid Growing Guide
1. Learn what Makes the Spider Orchid So Special
The spider orchid is quite popular among people who enjoy planting unique flowers in their gardens. Why? Well, there are multiple reasons for that. First of all, its flowers are truly spectacular. They resemble spiders, which explains the name of the orchid as well. In fact, these flowers spread pollen from one to the other by drawing in spider-killing wasps that confuse them with actual spiders.
Second of all, the whole ensemble of the orchid is unique. The plant takes up quite some space, due to its flowers and sprawling spikes. The blooms also come in a variety of colors, especially if you consider all the hybrid spider orchid varieties out there, whose flowers can be red, cream, green, brown, or spotted yellow.
Moreover, if you want to grow the spider orchid indoors, you should know there’s a chance of it blooming in winter as well. While outdoors, this is not possible, indoors, the growing environment provides it with a chance to do so. When the orchid is in full bloom, it releases an intoxicating scent that will fill your garden or home.
2. Choose a Proper Growing Location
As you may already know, no matter the plant you want to grow in your garden, you have to make sure the location fulfills all the requirements the plant has. If some plants are easier to care for, others can be more of a challenge. For a beginner gardener, orchids can seem a bit challenging to grow, but they’re not impossible to have in your garden.
You can grow them either indoors or outdoors, which is great news for people who don’t have a garden and want to grow plants in containers. Regardless of where you decide to grow it, you should know the spider orchid enjoys indirect sunlight. It should be able to access bright light every single day, but not directly because it might burn. You should be particularly careful to keep it away from the midday sun, especially if you live in a hot climate. This can dehydrate it pretty fast, leading to the plant burning and eventually dying.
Luckily, there’s a way to determine whether your plant is getting enough light or too much. If the color of the leaves is yellowish-green, the orchid is receiving just the right amount of light. If the leaves become too yellow and lose part of their green shade, that means the plant is getting too much light. Finally, if the leaves are more green than yellow, the orchid isn’t getting enough sunlight, so you should move it to another location.
The temperature of your plant shouldn’t be higher than 90 degrees Fahrenheit. In fact, the optimal temperature is slightly more than 60 degrees. Going below 60 degrees could lead to a lack of blooms and impede the plant’s growth. However, the temperature also differs according to the time of day. So, during the day, the temperature should be in between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. During the night, the temperature is best if kept in between 55 to 65 degrees.
3. Water It Carefully
When it comes to watering a spider orchid, the first thing you should know is that the amount of water it requires depends on the climate in which you’re growing it. The typical schedule for watering a spider orchid is once a week if you live in an environment with average humidity. However, if you live in an area that’s drier, you should water it more often. Similarly, if the climate where you live is humid and tropical, water it less frequently than once a week.
The type of water you use is also important. The best option for spider orchids is tepid water. Run it through the medium in which your plants are growing and over their roots, until you notice the medium becoming saturated. You shouldn’t allow the roots to linger in water for a long period of time. That’s why we recommend making sure the excess water has drained completely.
The growing timeframe of the orchid also determines how often you should water it. For instance, if the orchid is actively growing (which happens in the warmer months), you have to water it once or even twice a week. When the active growing period is over (so in the colder months), you don’t have to water it as often.
4. Take Care of the Humidity
The spider orchid is a plant that enjoys humidity, which is why you have to make sure you create the proper environment for it. If there isn’t enough humidity around your plant, you can take care of that by using tepid water to mist it daily. A humidity tray can also help you with that. Fill it with water and pebbles and set the orchid over it. Whenever you notice the water has evaporated, fill it again until water reaches the lip of the tray.
What is the right amount of humidity for a spider orchid, you ask? Well, as it turns out, the proper humidity level is of in between 50 and 70 percent. Even so, you should be aware of the fact that with high humidity also comes poor air circulation, which can damage your plants. If you’re going to keep the environment humid, you also have to increase air circulation. Otherwise, the orchid might develop a disease that leads to brown spots on its leaves. If you notice these spots, you have to increase the amount of air the plant receives. For instance, you could place a fan next to it.
5. Fertilize the Plant
Fertilization is another important step that you shouldn’t skip when it comes to tending to a spider orchid. You should feed your plant every month during the plant’s active growth period, using an orchid food formula that you dilute with water. The best time to do this is when you water the plant. For best results, pour the formula at the roots of the plant, as well as through the growing medium.
If you want to find out how to create a schedule for fertilizing your spider orchid, read the label on the product you’re using. That should tell you everything there is to know. Furthermore, we should mention that it’s always better to apply less fertilizer than more, so make sure you never overfertilize the plants. Similarly, if there’s ever any excess fertilizer left around your plants, flush it out. Otherwise, the amount of salt left around the plant could damage both the leaves and the roots of your orchid.
Once the orchid is in full bloom and you’re sure it won’t develop any more flowers, you can stop fertilizing it. Resume the practice only when you notice new growths begin to appear.
6. Transplant the Orchid
Spider Orchids are plants that need to be transplanted every year to ensure their successful development. Use a fresh and fast-draining medium designed especially for epiphytic orchids to replace the old one. While this is something you have to do every year, you also have to change the pot every 3 to 5 years. Replace it with a larger one that can accommodate the plant.
The reason why the spider orchid needs a different pot every couple of years is because it tends to get root-bound. Using a larger pot allows for enough medium to hold the moisture the plant needs. Every time you repot the orchid, make sure you use a container with a diameter that’s 1 to 3 inches larger than the former pot. This will prevent the roots from getting suffocated in too small of a container. The perfect medium for growing a spider orchid is one made up of coconut chips, bark, perlite, or charcoal. You can find mixes for sale, or you can make your own by buying the ingredients separately.
Summing Everything Up
We hope today’s guide has managed to convince you of the great experience that growing a spider orchid can be. These orchids are unique-looking, fragrant, relatively easy to care for, and a statement flower that would look good in any garden or home. Whether you decide to grow it inside in a container or plant it in your garden, the tips above are all you need for a healthy and beautiful plant. For a full presentation of a spider orchid, take a look at the clip below.