DIY Hypertufa plant pots
Via Martha Stewart Magazine
It’s easier than you might think.
I’ve been thinking of creating a kitchen garden where conditions are better suited. The biggest road block was the increasing cost of planters; I really wanted a certain look that dollar store pots couldn’t fill.
This easy to follow recipe makes large projects possible, with enough planning, there is a considerable cure time. Most will say to allow the pot to cure in a bag for a week; then to allow them to “air” for at least a month. Longer cure times (2-3 months) allow for a certain hardness; also, so the fresh hypertufa doesn’t burn tender plants.
First, What is Hypertufa?
It is a type of artificial stone, the word “tufa,” is a natural volcanic rock, and “hyper,” means excessive or extreme.
Putting the two words together literally means extreme volcanic rock; no worries on having to scale volcanos! These containers mimic volcanic rock and are extremely lightweight.
The history behind Historically European farmers used local rock to make water troughs, eventually gardeners incorporated it into their pots but ran out or resource for the local rock. These gardeners came up with a recipe that duplicates the local rock and found that plants that like alkalinity will do well in these pots to the limey base of cement.
These versatile pots can be home to many types of plants, including succulents. They will hold up to the weather due to being porous, and are able to freeze and thaw without issues; these homemade containers will last for years.
Making them yourself gives you the flexibility to shape or color them in a fashion that suits your needs and can be as big or small as you wish, larger pots need acrylic fibers to help hold them together. The ingredients can be found at most home improvements stores, you might even have some of the products now as peat moss and perlite are common gardening supplies.
Hypertufa plant pots
via: Martha Stewart Magazine:
Tools and Materials
- Rubber gloves
- Dust mask
- Peat moss
- Portland cement
- Cement pigment (optional)
- Acrylic fibers (if making larger-size pot)
- Plastic tub
- Spray cooking oil
- Mold (Martha used a nursery pot)
- Small wooden dowel (optional)
- Plastic bags
- Wire brush or sandpaper
- Buttermilk (optional)
You can use almost anything that has an interesting shape for a mold, such as an old tub, bin, or nursery pot. Keep in mind that this mixture is an approximation, and not an exact science — you can play around with the measurements.
This recipe will make really light pots; if you want heavier, sturdier pots, simply add more cement to the mixture.
Hypertufa Pots How-To:
1. Mix 3 parts perlite, 3 parts peat moss, and 2 parts Portland cement in a plastic tub. If desired, add cement pigment for color. If making a large pot, add acrylic fibers for strength. (Wearing rubber gloves and a dust mask to avoid breathing cement dust)
2. Add water to tub, a bit at a time, until the mixture has the consistency of moist cottage cheese.
3. Spray inside of mold with cooking oil. Push a handful of wet hypertufa mixture firmly against the bottom of the mold. Repeat until you have made a bottom base that is approximately 1 inch thick. Push handfuls of wet hypertufa mixture firmly against the sides of container approximately 3/4 inches in thickness. Continue until rim of mold is reached. Press bottom and sides firmly to remove air pockets.
4. Create drainage hole by pushing finger or small dowell through the bottom of mold so that it penetrates the hypertufa mixture.
5. Cover with plastic bag, let dry for about 48 hours.
6. Take off plastic bag and remove pot from mold (pot with be slightly wet). Using a wire brush or sandpaper sponge, rough up the surface of the hypertufa for a more rustic appearance. Let sit for 2 to 3 weeks to dry completely.
7. If desired, coat pot with buttermilk and moss; the moss will grow around the pot.
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Making Hypertufa plant pots Via: Martha Stewart Magazine, I’ve written a number of gardening posts if you would like more information.