Hypertufa for Your Garden

Gardening is full of mistakes, you just can’t give up

I am always looking for new ways to display plants in my garden. I also am a fanatic about conifers and a long time member of the American Conifer Society. At a ACS conference in Portland Oregon, I visited several large nurseries, and saw for the first time containers that looked like stone but were made by hand. Full of small conifers and alpine perennials. It did not take long before my garden had a collection of these “Hypertufa” containers or troughs.

Hypetufa is a way to be creative without having much artistic talent. Portland cement, potting soil, and perlite – mix with water until you form a thick oatmeal lump. Get your favorite plastic container, I use a low planting bowl, spray the inside with cooking spray ( my best advise), and apply the tufa mix. Keep in a plastic bag for a day or two and remove from the mold – rough up the sides to your liking. Then a few weeks in a plactic bag – and your are done.

The key to creating nice containers is patience and the willing to accept failure. I have screwed up as many as I have made. Some of my nicest looking pots were by accident. Gardening is full of mistakes, you just can’t give up. The hypertufa contaner above broke when I was putting it back in the mold to cure. The front 1/3 broke off, leaving the back higher. Upset for a day or two, I worked with the problem and planted the pot to fit the defect.

Below is a container that I have planted and replanted over the years. I tried to make it resembel a real horses trough ( just shorter)

I have lots of fun making these containers – and more fun teaching people how to make their own. Try it —

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