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  • 2 Post By Chris in Hamilton
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Santa Barbara Estate Orchid-A pot in a pot in a pot method

This is a discussion on Santa Barbara Estate Orchid-A pot in a pot in a pot method within the General Orchid Culture forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; Who is familiar here with the Santa Barbara Estate Orchid growing methods? These guys have ...

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  1. #1
    flordeloto's Avatar
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    Default Santa Barbara Estate Orchid-A pot in a pot in a pot method

    Who is familiar here with the Santa Barbara Estate Orchid growing methods? These guys have been growing orchids for years, and very successfully I may add, with no media other than rocks and water and fertilizer. Water as much as you want as many times a day you need. No fear of overwatering!!! Yeay! Anyone care to comment, questions, answers? Oh....almost forgot! And no more repotting....ever...ever! What? no, that's crazy! What? yeap....no repotting ever my friends. Just sit back and enjoy them...even have more time to chat with them.

  2. #2
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    I have 30-40 in clay pots with a few beach stones in the bottom. I think it depends on whether your growing area is inside or out for watering because you pretty much have to water every day just as you would a mounted plant. Outside or a greenhouse are ok. Window sill or under lights would be difficult if you have a lot of plants. Trying to get all but a few of mine either mounted or as you said but with 170 indoors it will not be easy to keep up with. Its a matter of how much time you have, your watering methods and fertilizing frequency. You do have to do both more often. A grower I know (where a lot of my plants come from) grows everything but Phrag's and Paph's this way. He has Catt.'s that are 3' across with 30-40 leads in 6" pots. Their roots sometimes hang down 3-4' which can also be a problem for folks with limited space. This is one I have (C. Angel Bells). The longest hanging root is about 18". It is in a 4" clay pot but I had to set it inside a 5" basket to stop it from tipping over. Then had to add another mesh basket. The pot, baskets and the drip saucer are all bound together by the root system and can no longer be separated without doing some serious damage to the plant. The tag is so tight I would do damage trying to remove it. There are 9-10 hazel nut size pebbles in the pot with no other medium. Last year I got 2 new leads. This year there are 3 so far.

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    Last edited by Chris in Hamilton; March 24th, 2016 at 10:13 AM. Reason: Another thought-More thoughts

  3. #3
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    I'd like to hear more details about exactly what they do? I'm always interested in reading about other methods. Thanks!

  4. #4
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    I think SB Estate does use the "stone-no-repot" method for as many plants as possible as long as they can take it. They put plants that normally only wants to grow mounted, such as Broughtonia, in the same plastic pots with a few stones. At least the plants don't rot as long as watering is kept to a minimum. Besides, the stones make the plastic pots heavy so that they won't tip over. On the other hand, SB Estate had a Rossioglossum grande, which was perfectly potted in a nice clay pot with bark-based medium. This one couldn't take it obviously. Personally I prefer my orchids to be nicely mounted or nicely put in pots or baskets. Stones are not for me.

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    So its just the plant in a pot with some stones? Then you have to keep it watered and fed.

    I know that there are many growing methods and some work for some plants in some conditions... So much depends on your growing conditions and how often you water and feed and what with. I think that I'm better off with Semi-Hydro for some of mine and regular bark based medium for others. Thanks for the answer!

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carolla View Post
    So its just the plant in a pot with some stones? Then you have to keep it watered and fed.

    I know that there are many growing methods and some work for some plants in some conditions... So much depends on your growing conditions and how often you water and feed and what with. I think that I'm better off with Semi-Hydro for some of mine and regular bark based medium for others. Thanks for the answer!
    Yes, pot with a few stones. Everything does depend on your growing conditions, your habits and how much time you have. I know one collector that has everything in moss and plastic pots and his plants are beautiful. When I tried it I killed them all. I've tried with a few in S/H but found I had an incredible amount of mineral buildup so gave that up. Probably doing something wrong but I don't know what. No or very little medium seems to work best for me.

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    Carolla ! Yes, stones in a pot! only! on the first one, then as it grows just keep adding a bigger pot, and an bigger pot and so on. Isn't that wonderful? Arne, on the contrary, lots and lots of water is encouraged. The watering is not what rots the orchids...is the media. Just think of the orchids that grow naturally in a tropical zones. For example my native country Costa Rica, we have 2 seasons, rainy season and very rainy season. There are times where it rains for a week straight it will stop for a couple of hours and rain again, day and night. If that theory was true, all orchids would die such week. Good drainage and non water retaining media, that's all. From what I remember, SBE water their plants every day for 15 min, and fertilize with each watering, don't quote me on this one but I think it is so. In reality, this application would ruin some of us home growers with wasting so much water.But on the other hand, save you some money on media and repot work. I was told by the SBE people in order not to water, to water them twice for a few seconds and to wait about 15-20min in between. Fertilizing often is definitely necessary, no other way around that. SBE uses only one kind of fertilizer for all plants, no special treatment for anyone. BTW Chris in Hamilton, Great plant! and yes you are absolutely right. For someone who grows inside, this method is very difficult. I cannot imagine having to move my 100+ plants out and back in every day, even if it was every other day. Then again, I don't think I would have room inside the egg shell I live in to keep them inside. But I tell you, the idea of not having to repot ever again has almost convinced me to switch over my plants. I'm closer to there than here anyway. I changed 98% of my plants to bark and lava rock mix only, nothing else. That should buy me easily 4-5 years or more of no repotting, and there is no such a thing as over watering. I did away with all the unnecessary additives like perlite and "horticultural" charcoal (what a rip off, it does absolutely nothing for your orchids). I was very tempted also to switch over to coir. I've seen some amazing stuff grown on a very little pot of coir. I think eventually I will transition completely to some kind of rock....

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    Quote Originally Posted by flordeloto View Post
    Arne, on the contrary, lots and lots of water is encouraged. The watering is not what rots the orchids...is the media. Just think of the orchids that grow naturally in a tropical zones.
    Actually Flordeloto, when I asked them if their Broughtonias liked the pot-stone method their reply was "not really - they are easy to kill". They said exactly that. They also said that those plants prefer to be mounted. That is also what Claude Hamilton in Jamaica states in his web site.

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    I think there's an important lesson in this discussion, and I'll summarize it so that a new grower doesn't get the wrong idea:

    1. Any plant CAN be grown in any potting medium or growing method.
    2. That does not mean that YOU can grow any plant in any method, as there are a lot of other cultural parameters that play huge roles in one's success or failure at providing what the plant may need.
    3. Also, when you make a change from one technique to another, the plant will need to grow new roots that function optimally in that new environment. The old one will fail eventually - how rapidly that happens is determined by the difference between old and new conditions. That is why it is always best to repot a plant just as new roots are emerging from the base of the plant.

  10. #10
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    My mom grew all of her orchids in rocks, only rocks n they bloomed like crazy, but that was Hawaii, n that is the main reason.

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