How to Make Hypertufa Containers for Succulents
Hypertufa is possibly the cheapest way to get a lot of pots and containers for your succulents. You can make your own hypertufa containers, which is a fun and relatively easy project.
- Mixing tub
- Container for measuring
- Peat moss
- Portland cement
- Concrete reinforcing fibers
- Dust mask
- Rubber gloves
- Plastic drop cloth
- Plastic container for a mold
- Wire brush
Basic Hypertufa Recipe
1 part Portland cement
1 1/2 parts Sphagnum peat moss
1 1/2 parts Perlite
Five Easy Steps
Measure and mix the peat moss, perlite, cement, and a small handful of reinforcing fibers in your tub. You'll kick up plenty of dust at this stage, so be sure to wear your dust mask.
Add the water while stirring with your trowel. Test the consistency frequently, as it is much easier to add water than it is to readjust the dry ingredients. When a squeezed handful retains its shape and does not release more than a few drops of water, the mix is ready.
Mold the mixture around the chosen object, which has been placed upside down on the plastic drop cloth. Avoid objects with a pronounced lip since it would make the object difficult to remove from the finished container.
Pack the mixture up around the sides of the object, tamping it down firmly to bond the hypertufa to itself and to avoid a crumbly texture. A 1- to 2-inch (2.5 to 5 cm) layer on all sides will create strong walls.
Flatten the intended bottom of the completely covered object for stability, and shape the sides to the desired form. Then poke your finger through the bottom to create a drainage hole.
Wrap the container in the plastic sheeting, and place it in a shady spot for about a day to let it harden.
Remove the wrapping after the hypertufa has had a day to harden. The mixture will be firm but still soft enough to work with. Turn the container over, and remove the mold. Brush the sharp edges and the smooth top, if desired, to give a rougher, more natural look to the container.
Rewrap your container, and place it in a shady place for another two days. Then unwrap it, and soak it with a hose periodically over the period of a few weeks to leach out the residual lime from the cement, which would harm plants.
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How to Make Hypertufa Planters
Last Updated: November 9, 2020 References
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Are you tired of clay or wooden planters? Would you like to give your garden a different look? Hypertufa, or tufa, plant pots have a coarsely textured, stone-like appearance that’s pleasing to the eye. With their thick, porous texture, they are good containers for smaller plants, such as cacti, succulents, and alpine plants. These are versatile pots that you make yourself, so they can be any size that your heart desires. Make sure you set aside some time, though, as the hypertufa process can take up to 3 weeks to complete!
Make Your Own Hypertufa Container
How to Make Concrete and Hypertufa Planters
John Gillespie & Christina Symons, the authors of Sow Simple: 100+ Green and Easy Projects to Make Your Garden Awesome, join us today to share some decorative projects to inexpensively make your very own concrete containers and hypertufa planters. I have done my fair share of concrete projects, and yet it amazes me how many unique shapes can be created. I love how these containers came out, don’t you?
If you have wanted to work with concrete in the garden but are hesitant because of the weight of the final projects, let me introduce you to hypertufa! Hypertufa is traditionally made with a mix of peat moss, perlite, and Portland cement. It can be molded into many forms and is much lighter than a solid concrete structure. In addition, it is porous and is therefore a good choice for plants who need good drainage.
Concrete planters and hypertufa troughs are easier to make than you might think. The only difference: one is smooth (concrete) and one is rustic and rough (hypertufa). The following shows the steps to make a concrete bowl.
- A pair of similarly shaped molds, one 25 percent smaller than the other
- Concrete ready mix
- Organic matter (for hypertufa): peat moss, perlite*
- Rubber gloves
- Nonstick cooking spray (for plastic molds)
- Plastic lining (for cardboard molds)
- Sticks to create drainage holes
*NOTE: To make this project in hypertufa, add a mix of 2 parts perlite, 2 parts peat moss, 1.5 parts Portland cement, and enough water to have it just stick together. Mix well and adjust the ingredients as needed until you can form a ball in your hands that sticks together without being able to squeeze water out.
First, decide on a shape. Squat shapes are easiest for beginners and make wonderful troughs and low bowls for succulents and other plants typically grown in rocky areas.
Create a pair of molds (inside and outside) by selecting or fashioning two identical shapes, one approximately 25 percent smaller than the other. For example, two plastic bowls in similar shapes that fit one inside the other with a little more than an inch (about 3 cm) of space between them. Cardboard boxes also work well. Spray plastic containers with nonstick cooking spray. If using cardboard, line your molds with plastic.
Mix your concrete according to package directions. To create a hypertufa blend, add approximately 30 percent peat moss, cocoa husks, wood chips or sawdust to the mix prior to adding water. This will result in a stiffer mix. A plain concrete mix will not be as rigid.
Fill the bottom and sides of your molds with your mix of choice to a thickness of 1.5 in. (4 cm). Insert lengths of sticks cut the same depth as your mix to create drainage holes.
Place your inner mold on top. Press down until the bottom and sides are of an even thickness. Position stones or other weights inside the top mold to hold it down. Tap the mold several times to remove air bubbles.
Allow your pot or trough to dry for several days. Then release the concrete from the molds and remove drainage sticks. Allow the containers to cure, preferably outside where rain can wash over them for several weeks before planting.
From home-crafted concrete troughs stuffed with succulents and strong alongside dry-stack stone walls, to simple ideas for playhouses, gazebos and backyard benches, Sow Simple will keep readers busy through all seasons. Grab a copy today!
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