Hypertufa Mini Pots

Introduction: Hypertufa Mini Pots

Safety gear: Rubber gloves
                      Dust mask
                      Safety glasses
(Portland cement is caustic!! Protect yourself!!!)

Hypertuffa recipe:    Portland cement
                                    peat moss
                                    paper pulp
                                    Elmer's wood glue
                                    decorative junk (glass shards, marbles and metal junk)

Tools you will need: 
                                      Large mixing container
                                      scoops (a separate one for the cement)
                                      water bucket
                                      old shower curtain or other protective plastic cover (I used plastic sheeting I found on the roadside)

This mixture is a real trial and error process. I looked for a good recipe and found several that had the same ingredient list but some added paper pulp and others added glues (I should have). I chose to work with the basics for my first time and my pots are a bit crumbly. Paper pulp and/or a bottle of Elmer's might have helped.

Do this outdoors! Mix Portland cement 2 or 3 to 1 with peat moss, sand and vermiculite. Add water a little at a time. IMPORTANT: work in small batches at first until you get your mixture down. It should be very thick and form a firm ball when pressed into your hand.

The basic instructions are easy to find online. For these pots I lined a small container with a plastic shopping bag smoothing out any big wrinkles, packed in the mixture paying close attention to the thickness of the walls, corners, bottom and the shape of the opening. If you look up the history of hypertuffa you'll understand why you want them very thick walled--this in addition to the porous nature of the mix.

When I was happy with the shape of the pot I covered it with two more shopping bags, sealed the bags as air tight as I could get them and placed them carefully under my porch to dry. They should take 2-3 months the dry properly. Don't be tempted to peek. The longer they take to dry the stronger they will be! I was impulsive and kept checking on them and many of them came out so weak I had to scrap them.

When they are dry to touch unwrap and carefully de-mold them, peel away the plastic liner and put them back under the porch for another month. I did my project last September and did not attempt to pot them up until this July. They need to be rinsed a lot, I made a little garden of them next to a planter so I'd remember to water them as often as I watered my plants.

The biggest one pictured has a spiral of glass shards embedded in it. I waited over a year to take it out of the mold as I used a small satellite dish for the mold and a piece of one side still broke off. These do not make good birdbaths as they are very porous.

Hypertuffa is a sweet addition to the garden or to a rustic indoor decor. But this is a real trial and error process. Do a lot of research and consider your climate. I live in the desert southwest so my pots dried out quickly. Once you get it down it's really fun!

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    5 Discussions


    7 years ago on Introduction

    leave the peat moss OUT of the cement mixture.
    cement, vermiculite and sand will work well(and be light, depending on the proportion of vermiculite).
    When done, blend the peat moss, a little yogurt, and some water(to paint consistency). then use this mixture to "paint" your pots. If they are watered regularly, and in a partially shady location, you will soon have moss covered, cement pots for your enjoyment.


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    sorry :-( guess it's not Hypertufa if it doesn't have the peat moss.

    it SHOULD only take one to three weeks to fully cure.
    If a 6" thick driveway is cured in 2-3 weeks, certainly your pots should be capable of the same ;-)


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Do you seal these at all (inside or outside, or both...) or do they stand up to moisture/rain etc. OK? (I know cement on its own would be fine, but I'm wondering if with the other ingredients they might be more susceptible to moisture...?)


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Since you DO use water in making these, you might be able to enter this in the Water Challenge.