How to Care for a Spider Orchid


Spider orchids are a group of roughly 30 orchid plant varietals that belong to the botanical genus Brassia. Spider orchids, or cricket orchids as they are also known, are named for their flower petals and sepals, which are long and spiky and resemble spider or cricket legs. The mottled and patterned coloration of the flowers adds to their insect-like appearance. Spider orchids are epiphytic and draw in moisture and nutrients from aerial roots.

Step 1

Provide a growing location either indoors or outdoors that has bright indirect light daily. Direct midday sun can quickly dehydrate and burn the plant as well as raise the temperature of the plant above 90 degrees Fahrenheit, which can be deadly. Keep your spider orchids in temperatures above 60 degrees to prevent damage or impeded bloom.

Step 2

Water your spider orchid once a week with tepid water in an average humidity environment, more frequently in dry climates and less frequently in humid tropical climes. Run tepid water through the planting medium and over the roots until the medium is saturated. Let all of the excess water drain away completely and never let the roots sit in water for an extended period of time.

Step 3

Raise the ambient humidity around the spider orchid plant by misting with tepid water daily. Alternatively, set the potted spider orchid over a humidity tray filled with pebbles and water. Refill water to the lip of the tray as it evaporates.

Step 4

Feed your spider orchid once per month at watering time by pouring an orchid food formula diluted with water through the planting medium and over the orchid roots. Apply the fertilizer as recommended on the product label and always err on the side of less fertilizer.

Step 5

Transplant your spider orchid each year into fresh coarse, fast-draining orchid medium designed for epiphytic orchids. Re-pot your spider orchid into a larger pot once every three to five years to prevent it from becoming root-bound and to allow sufficient medium to hold moisture for the roots. Go up in pot size only 1 to 3 inches in diameter every re-potting to prevent the roots from being suffocated.

Things You'll Need

  • Water mister
  • Water-soluble orchid food
  • Coarse orchid potting medium
  • Larger orchid pot


  • Andromeda Botanic Gardens
  • Palomar College Arboretum
  • New York University
Keywords: spider orchid, brassia epiphytic orchid plant, cricket orchid

About this Author

An omni-curious communications professional, Dena Kane has more than 17 years of experience writing and editing content for online publications, corporate communications, business clients, industry journals, as well as film and broadcast media. Kane studied political science at the University of California, San Diego.