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.