How to make hypertufa planters

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, they are porous and are therefore a good choice for plants who need good drainage.

Hypertufa

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.

Materials
  • A pair of similarly shaped moulds, one 25 percent smaller than the other
  • Concrete ready mix
  • Organic matter (for hypertufa): peat moss, perlite*
  • Rubber gloves
  • Nonstick cooking spray (for plastic moulds)
  • Plastic lining (for cardboard moulds)
  • Sticks to create drainage holes
  • Water

*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 need until you can form a ball in your hands that sticks together without being able to squeeze water out.

Make it!

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 moulds (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 inside each other with a little more than an inch (about 3 cm) space between them. Cardboard boxes also work well. Spray plastic containers with nonstick cooking spray. If using cardboard, line your moulds with plastic.

How to Make a Hypertufa Planter Step 2

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.

Next step

Fill the bottom and sides of your moulds with your mix of choice to a thickness of 11/2 in. (4 cm). Insert lengths of sticks cut the same depth as your mix to create drainage holes.How to Make a Hypertufa Planter Step 3

Place your inner mould on top. Press down until the bottom and sides are of an even thickness. Position stones or other weights inside the top mould to hold it down. Tap the mould several times to remove air bubbles.

Modern Hypertufa Bowl

Allow your pot or trough to dry for several days. Then release the concrete from the moulds and remove drainage sticks. Allow the containers to cure, preferably outside where rain can wash over them for several weeks before planting.

If you have has remained cement, then you can make a simple yet stylish flower pots.

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