How to Make a Hypertufa Pot

Easy steps to create these beautiful and inexpensive containers in any size and shape you like.

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Photo By: Image courtesy of Ben Rollins

Photo By: Image courtesy of Ben Rollins

Photo By: Image courtesy of Ben Rollins

Photo By: Image courtesy of Ben Rollins

Photo By: Image courtesy of Ben Rollins

Photo By: Image courtesy of Ben Rollins

Photo By: Image courtesy of Ben Rollins

Photo By: Image courtesy of Ben Rollins

Photo By: Image courtesy of Ben Rollins

Photo By: Image courtesy of Ben Rollins

Photo By: Image courtesy of Ben Rollins

Photo By: Image courtesy of Ben Rollins

Photo By: Image courtesy of Ben Rollins

Make a Beautiful Hypertufa Planter

You'll just need a little time, the right materials and some patience to make this lovely hypertufa container. Hypertufa containers are a lighter-weight pot than a concrete container, and are formed using a mix of perlite, Portland cement and peat moss.

Perlite, Peat Moss and Portland Cement

Hypertufa containers are created with a simple equal parts combination of perlite, peat moss and Portland cement. For this project, we will create two hypertufa containers—a large square 12"x12" pot and a small round 8" pot—using old garden store plastic pots as our molds.  We used 2 gallons each of perlite, peat moss and Portland cement.

Gather Your Tools

You will need a large plastic bucket or other container to measure and mix your perlite, peat moss and Portland cement; plastic pots for the hypertufa molds (we used 12"x12" and 8" plastic pots from the garden shop); a shovel for mixing; a dust mask; gloves to protect your hands and a trowel to press the hypertufa mixture against your hypertufa molds. You will also need a lubricant to allow your finished hypertufa pot to slide out of your plastic molds. Cooking spray, bacon grease or a spray lubricant will all do the job of releasing the hypertufa from your mold.

Add Peat Moss

Add one part peat moss to a large plastic, water tight plastic bin.

Add Portland Cement

Add one part Portland cement to the bin. When working with Portland cement, use a dust mask and stay upwind. Wear gloves when mixing the materials together.

Mix in Portland Cement

Add Portland cement to your trough.

Measure Perlite

Add one part perlite to your mixing trough.

Blend Together

Using a hoe or other long tool, blend the perlite, peat moss and Portland cement together.

Use Your Hands!

To make sure all three materials are well-incorporated you may want to use your hands to ensure all of the lumps are out of the peat moss.

Almost There

You're looking for a consistent gray color to ensure all elements are mixed properly.

Just Add Water

Take this step very slowly and add just a little bit of water at a time. If you add too much water, the hypertufa mix will not properly mold. The goal is to combine approximately equal parts water to equal parts dry materials, but you may need more or less water. Add a little bit of water at a time until you reach the desired consistency, which will be the consistency of cottage cheese. When the proper consistency is reached you should be able to form the hypertufa mix into a hamburger-like patty and it should hold together.

Incorporate Your Water

Use a  shovel or hoe to gradually mix in the water, testing the consistency along the way.

Fully Blend

You may want to use your hands to make sure the water and dry materials are thoroughly mixed. Wear gloves to protect your hands from caustic materials in the mix.

The Proper Consistency

When the dry and wet elements are properly integrated you will be able to form the mixture into a hamburger shape. It will hang together when it reaches the proper consistency.

Spray Your Container

Use your preferred mold release oil-based spray or material (we used cooking spray) to coat the mold you will be creating the hypertufa in. This will allow the hypertufa to easily slide out of the mold once it has fully cured.

Press In

Starting from the base, press about 3/4 to one-inch thickness of your hypertufa mixture into your desired hypertufa mold.

Cover the Entire Mold

Make sure the desired thickness of hypertufa mix covers the mold. Don't worry if there is any roughness: these containers look great when they are imperfect. But be sure to get all of the air bubbles out by pressing the hypertufa mix against the mold form.

Level

Use your trowel to level off the top.

Make a Drain Hole

Stick your finger all the way to the bottom of the mold to give your hypertufa container a drain hole.

Cover in Plastic

Cover the hypertufa mold completely in a plastic bag and place in a cool place out of the sunlight to cure. After 24-36 hours, take the hypertufa pot out of the mold and put it back in the plastic bag. Allow to cure another two weeks. Then you are ready to plant!

Repeat

Repeat the entire process with your second pot.

Finished Pot

Your hypertufa pot has cured and is now ready for some plants.

Add Rocks

Place rocks or broken pots/slate in the bottom of your hypertufa pot.

Add Soil

Add a mix of potting soil and compost. Or, if you plan on planting succulents, add a cactus mix to the pot.

Add Succulents

Dramatically shaped succulents make for a beautiful contrast to the textured look of your hypertufa pot.

Clean

A concrete brush is a nifty tool to clean off any stray potting soil and neaten up your freshly potted plants.

All Done!

You now have two incredible hypertufa pots. If you want to add even more style to your containers, you can grow moss on the containers in about eight weeks by creating a mix of moss and buttermilk in a blender and brushing it onto the hypertufa surface and leaving the container in a shady place. Find directions for making a spreadable moss mixture here.

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