How to Grow and Care for Brassia Orchids (Spider Orchids) Indoors


Brassia Orchid, Spider Orchid

Botanical name: Brassia spp
Subfamily: Epidendroideae
Tribe: Cymbidieae
Subtribe: Oncidiinae
Common name: Spider Orchid

Description

Brassia Orchids commonly called Spider Orchids are popular indoor orchids due to their spectacular, delicately fragrant and long-lasting blooms.

Spider Orchids are notable for their characteristic long and spreading tepals, which lend them the common name 'Spider Orchid'.

The reason why Brassia Orchids look like spiders is that they attract female spider wasps for pollination.

Spider Orchids have large elliptic-oblong pseudobulbs with one or two leaves, a lateral unbranched numerously-flowered long-lasting flower-spike.

The Genus name 'Brassia' came from William Brass, a British botanist and illustrator who collected plants in Africa under the supervision of Sir Joseph Banks, an English naturalist, botanist and patron of natural sciences.

The genus name is abbreviated as Brs in horticultural journals.

Brassia Orchids grow best when hanging or mounted on a vertical surface to allow the roots free air circulation.

Flower

The flowers in Brassia Orchids can be spotted yellow, cream, brownish or green.

Origin

Brassia Orchids (Spider Orchids) are native to the rain forests of Mexico, Central America, West Indies and northern South America where they grow as epiphytes on tree canopies.

Where to Buy

If you would like to add this spectacular orchid to your collection, various Brassia Orchids are available online at Etsy. Buy Brassia Orchids (Spider Orchids) from Etsy.

Brassia Orchid, Spider Orchid

Brassia Orchids Care Indoors

Brassia Orchids (Spider Orchids) require bright, indirect light away from direct sunshine, warm and humid conditions and moderately moist, fertile, loose soil coupled with regular feeding inorder to thrive.

They also need regular pruning to keep them neat and tidy. Keep reading for more on these growing conditions and how to achieve them.

Light Requirements

Spider Orchid grows best in bright, indirect light. Keep it away from direct sunshine to avoid sun scorch on the leaves. It can also grow under a grow light where natural lighting is inadequate.

A Brassia Orchid that is receiving the correct light has light-green leaves. Too little light for the orchid will result in dark-green leaves.

Too much light will cause the leaves to be more yellowish than green. Check out this guide on understanding light for houseplants.

Watering

Water Brassia Orchid thoroughly during the growing season and allow the top half of the soil to dry out between waterings. Reduce watering during the cold season as growth is minimal at this time.

Use tepid, chlorine-free water as they are sensitive to chlorine and other chemicals dissolved in water. Avoid wetting the foliage as it can lead to fungal diseases.

Spider Orchids are more tolerant of dry soil conditions due to the presence of pseudobulbs and their thick leaves there avoid overwatering. Read more on how to water houseplants.


Temperature

The best temperatures for growing Brassia Orchid indoors are between 16-290C. The warmer days and cooler night temperatures with a difference of 10-150C are ideal for Spider Orchid. The cool nights are essential to trigger flowering.

Ensure there is good air circulation as the orchid cannot tolerate hot and stuffy conditions.

Keep Brassia Orchid away from draughts to avoid sudden changes in temperature. Read more on understanding temperature for houseplants.

Humidity

Brassia Orchid requires a humid environment inorde to thrive. Set the pot on a wet pebble tray or use a cool mist humidifier to raise humidity.

Do not mist the leaves as it can lead to fungal diseases. Check out these techniques on how to raise raise humidity for houseplants.

Occasionally clean the leaves by damp-wiping with a soft cloth. Read more on how to clean houseplants.

Fertilizer (Feeding)

Feed Brassia Orchid every 4 weeks during the growing season with an orchid's fertilizer as per the manufacturer's instructions. Withhold feeding during the cold season as growth is minimal at this time. Do not feed an orchid that is in flower.

It is better to err on the side of underfeeding than overfeeding a Spider Orchid as overfeeding may result in loss of roots thus death of the orchid.

Overfeeding can also lead to vegetative growth instead of flower production. Read more on how to feed houseplants.

Repotting

Repot Brassia Orchid when the orchid has outgrown its pot and the new growth reaches out over the edge of the pot or when the soil has broken down completely.

Basically repotting a Spider Orchid every 2-3 years should be adequate. Repot only when new growth begins, shortly after blooming is over.

Use a pot with proper drainage holes or slits as the roots need good air circulation. The pot should be large enough to accomodate the roots of the orchid.

Brassia Orchids grow best when hanging or mounted on a vertical surface to allow the roots free air circulation. If growing the orchid in a hanging basket, replace the potting medium regularly.

Use a loose, free-draining bark soil as the roots require good air circulation otherwise they begin to die.

While repotting, shake off excess soil and trim off any dried and shrivelled pseudobulbs.

Soil

The best soil for Brassia Orchid should be rich in organic matter, loose, free-draining bark soil to prevent it from getting soggy while providing the required nutrients.

Most orchid potting mixes are ideal as they drain easily. Buy quality Orchid Potting Mix for Spider Orchid from Etsy.

Pruning

Pruning Brassia Orchid is easy. Remove dead and diseased leaves by cutting them at the base with sharp scissors or a knife.

When flowering is over, cut the flower stalk 1 in. above the 3rd node from the bottom to encourage more flower production.

Propagation

Brassia Orchids (Spider Orchids) can be propagated at the beginning of the growing season once flowering is over from the rhizome.

How to propagate Brassia Orchid from the rhizome

Gently split the Brassia Orchid rhizome into sections while ensuring there are at least 3 shoots on each section.

Seperate the roots attached to each division from the mother root-ball.

Remove the old potting soil attached to the section roots and place each section in the center of the pot.

Bury the roots of the section in the soil while ensuring that the bottom of the pseudobulb is level with the top of the soil.

The best pot for the section should be about 1-2 in. larger than the pseudobulb.

Ensure the pot has enough drainage holes and slits to prevent root-rot in the section.

Place the set up in a warm, well-lit place until the orchid sections have established their own roots.

Water the new Spider Orchids lightly to enhance root development. Stake each newly repotted plant.

Brassia Orchid, Spider Orchid

Brassia Orchid Problems Indoors

Brassia Orchid (Spider Orchid) problems indoors include black leaf tips and edges, yellow leaves, drooping leaves, leaf spots, lack of blooms, pests and diseases. Continue reading for more on these problems and how to fix them.

Mold on the leaves

This is an indication of Powdery Mildew Disease in Spider Orchid.

Misting the leaves may lead to mildew growth if the water does not evaporate quickly. Ensure good air circulation for the Brassia Orchid and stop misting it.

Black and dying leaf tips

The cause of black and dying leaf tips in Brassia Orchid is the presence of chemicals like chlorine and flourides in the water or accumulation of salts in the soil.

Use chlorine-free water only to water the Spider Orchid and flush out accumulated salts from the soil by running a stream of water through the soil for about 10 minutes until it comes out through the drainage holes.

No blooms

One possible reason why Brassia Orchid is not blooming is too little light. Move the orchid to a brighter spot and ensure it is receiving bright, indirect light away from direct sunlight or instal a grow light if the natural lighting is not adequate.

Overfeeding the Spider Orchid can result in vegetative growth at the expense of flowers production. Feed it once monthly with an orchid's fertilizer as per the manufacturer's instructions.

Limpy and droopy leaves

Limpy and droopy leaves in Brassia Orchid are caused by underwatering. Do not allow the soil to dry out completely.

Water the Spider Orchid thoroughly, maintain the soil moderately moist and allow only the top half of the soil to dry out between waterings.

Dark-green leaves

Dark green leaves in Brassia Orchid indicate that the orchid is not getting enough light.

Move the orchid to a brighter spot where it can receive bright, indirect light away from direct sunlight or instal a grow light if the natural lighting is not adequate. The leaves of a Brassia Orchid that is receiving the correct light should be light green.

Yellowish leaves

Yellowish leaves in Brassia Orchid indicate that the orchid is getting too much light.

Move the orchid to a shadier spot where it will receive bright, indirect light away from direct sunlight. The leaves of a Spider Orchid that is receiving the correct amount of light should be light green.

Brown soft leaf spots

Brown soft leaf spots in Brassia Orchid are an indication of a fungal disease. Remove the affected leaves immediately to prevent further spread.

Brown hard and dry leaf spots

Exposure of Brassia Orchid to direct sunshine will result in scorch marks which are brown hard and dry spots on the leaves.

Move the Spider Orchid to a shadier spot or protect it from direct sunshine to prevent sunburn.

Is Brassia Orchid toxic?

Brassia Orchids (Spider Orchids) are non-toxic to both humans and pets. They are safe to grow indoors.

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