How to make a Hypertufa
A what?? A Hypertufa!
What's a Hypertufa?
A hypertufa is a container that looks like stone or concrete but weighs much less and can be created and molded into different shapes and sizes. These unique containers are relatively easy to make and can become quite the conversation piece in your garden or on a patio or deck. They are also great additions to a rock garden.
How do I make one?
Get your mom or dad to help you with this project!
There are many different recipes to follow. I will describe one method here.
You will need the following list of supplies:
- A large tub for mixing the ingredients
- A measuring container
- Synthetic concrete reinforcing fibers (fibermesh) to add strength
- Plastic drop cloth or other piece of plastic
- Some type of plastic or silicone container to use as a mold for your hypertufa
- Rubber gloves, protective eye wear, and a dust mask
- 1 part Portland cement
- 1 1/2 part sphagnum peat moss
- 1 1/2 part perlite
- Mix the above ingredients together and add a few handfuls of concrete reinforcing fibers to each batch. Be sure to wear the protective eye wear and dust mask.
- Add water to the mix a little at a time and mix with a trowel. Add enough water so that only a few drops are released when you squeeze the mix and it still holds its shape. Do not add too much water or your mix will be too runny.
- Place your container upside down on the plastic drop cloth and mold the mix around the container. Pack the mix firmly to a depth of 1-2 inches. Be sure to make the bottom flat and don't forget to create a drainage hole in the bottom by poking a hole with your finger.
- Wrap the plastic up and around your hypertufa and let it harden for a day.
- After a day, uncover the hypertufa, turn it over and remove the plastic container you used for the mold. Use a stiff wire brush to create a natural rough look.
- Re-cover the hypertufa and let it harden for an additional 2-3 days.
- Uncover and expose the hypertufa to the sun and rain for a few weeks to leach out excess lime (you can hose it down periodically if you don't get rain!)
- Your hypertufa is now ready to plant. Use a coarse, gravely planting mix.
What can I plant in my Hypertufa?
Dwarf plants and shrubs are great to plant in a hypertufa. Small ground cover sedums and other succulents like hens and chicks are especially well suited for these fun container gardens. You'll find lots of great choices of plant material to fill your hypertufa at Viette's. You can even add miniature artifacts to your hypertufa. Andre's was created as a "fairy garden" with a little house and garden fence added among the plants. As your hypertufa ages, it will gain character with moss and even sometimes lichen growing on the sides.