Are You Hot for Hypertufa?

hypertufa planter

Plants love hypertufa because the porous material provides great drainage.

Making a hypertufa planter has been on my list of want-to-dos for a while now, maybe years. But I still haven’t tried it. I have no good excuse, because it’s reportedly pretty easy and really fun. The only kicker is the setting time — it takes several days — so hypertufa isn’t as much about instant gratification as it may seem. What it is about? It’s about creating a planter or garden ornament that looks like stone but is light as air, and as a bonus, is porous enough to provide great drainage for plants. Genius.

So how do you create something that looks this good?

hypertufa planter

Hypertufa planters are molded from a mixture of Portland cement, peat moss, sand or perlite, and water. The result is a super lightweight garden container that looks like stone.

The slideshow below gives step-by-step instructions for making a hypertufa planter, and I’m gonna use it as I make my own version.

You’ll see a list of materials above, but here it is again in case you want an easier-to-print version.

Materials and Tools

  • Mold (can be a saucer)
  • Dish pan
  • Planter or box
  • Plastic wrap (any type of lightweight plastic to line the mold)
  • Containers to mix ingredients and for measuring
  • Gloves (rubber or latex)
  • Face mask for the mouth and nose
  • Dowel rods, cut into six-inch lengths, for making drainage holes (ordinary 3/4 to one-inch diameter sticks will do)
  • 1/4-inch hardware cloth for screening peat moss (optional)
  • Wire brush to roughen finish on outside of trough (optional)
  • Portland cement, one part
  • Peat moss, one to one-and-a-half parts
  • Coarse sand or perlite, one to one-and-a-half parts (Note: Perlite will make the trough lighter in weight, but sand will give it a smoother finish.)
  • Water, one part

I’ll be honest — I may not get around to this project until next weekend. But you can follow my progress at #maderemade on Instagram. In the meantime, tell me in the comments below — have you messed around with hypertufa? What did you think?

16 Responses

  1. Carolyn bliss says:

    I made a few recently, research indicated set outside 30 days to leach…but I thought it was because of the alkalinity of the lime in the cement…also I had difficullty maintaining the thickness…the heavy cement wanted to sag… any suggestions….not a problem if you do the double mold process…still very successful!

  2. Oscar says:

    We live in Michigan (zone 5). Can the planters be left outside in winter ?

  3. Ann says:

    I make these frequently, and 30 – 60 days is enough time to leech out any acidity.

  4. Bobbie says:

    I could be mistaken but I think once the project is complete you have to leave it set for a season or two. I thought that was to get rid of the toxicity from the Portland cement. I saw this done many years ago and at that time was told that you make it one year, leave it set outside until the next year and then it wouldn't harm your plantings. Again, I could be mistaken but I would check before I put any expensive plants in one that was just completed.

  5. Margaret says:

    Where exactly is the slideshow? I see some great pics but not nearly enough to learn how to do this.

  6. Roxanne Stack says:

    Sounds terrific!!!! You could add color too, to the mix right?

    • kellysmtrimble says:

      Hi Roxanne, Yes, I think you can, just like adding color to concrete when you mix it. You've got me thinking about whether I should add color … I'm going to get supplies today, so I'll think that through and let you know. It would be fun to use natural color, like turmeric or paprika.

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About Kelly Smith Trimble 


I grow vegetables wherever I can find enough sunlight and forage roadsides and hiking trails for plants that can be used to make natural dyes. You can find both vintage ...

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