How to Make a Hypertufa Planter

Photos: Ann Whitman

Materials

  • 1 part Portland cement
  • 1.5 parts peat moss
  • 1.5 parts perlite
  • Water
  • Tub for mixing ingredients
  • Rubber gloves
  • Dust mask
  • 2 cardboard boxes, approximately the same shape, but one about 2" smaller than the other all the way around.

VISITS to flower shows around the country remind us of how much we love hypertufa planters. The material has an ancient, hand-hewn quality; a perfect home for plants that you might find nestled into crevices in a rock garden, such as alpines, succulents, mosses and even tiny evergreens.

Hypertufa is a versatile and strong material that you can mold into your desired shape. Working with hypertufa is a messy endeavor, but those of us who reminisce about the pleasures of making mud pies will appreciate this opportunity to indulge in a childhood pastime while creating a custom planter with an instantly antique character.

How to make hypertufa

We found step-by-step instructions in an article in Fine Gardening by Michelle Gervais. We have adapted the instructions for our project; you can find the full instructions in the article, Make a Hypertufa Trough.

A couple of friends and I gathered our ingredients and followed the recipe and directions below. Once we had all of our materials, it took about two hours to complete several containers. They require several days to cure before they can be planted.

The basic ingredients for hypertufa are readily available at home improvement stores and garden centers. They include peat moss, perlite, and Portland cement. Fine Gardening recommends reinforcing fibers in their ingredient list, but we chose to omit these from our mixture. So far, our containers have held up to freezing temperatures.

Photos: Susan Romanoff

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