Tufa is a very porous natural limestone rock that alpine plants grow well on. Hypertufa is a substitute which can easily be made at home using simple materials. Below is a guide for making your own hypertufa pots.
Large Plastic Tub or Wheelbarrow
Molds (Plastic Pots or Containers)
1. Wearing rubber gloves and a dust mask mix 3 parts sands, 3 parts peat moss, and 2 parts cement in your plastic tub or wheelbarrow. (Note: this mixture is an approximation and not an exact science, you can play around with the mixture and there are many different recipes that can be found on the internet).
2. Add water to the mixture slowly and mix in until it has the consistency of moist cottage cheese.
3. Line your mold with plastic wrap; ensure that it is completely lined.
4. Push a handful of wet hypertufa mixture firmly against the bottom of the mold and repeat until you have made a bottom base that is about 1” think. Push handfuls of wet hypertufa mixture firmly against the sides of the mold approximately ¾” in thickness. Continue until you reach the rim of your mold and press bottom and sides firmly to remove any air pockets. You can now use a dowel or something similar to make a drainage hole in the bottom of your pot.
5. Cover with a plastic bag of sheeting and let dry for 48 hours.
6. After 48 hours remove the plastic and remove your pot from the mold. The pot will still be slightly wet but you can now use a wire brush to rough up the surface to give the pot a more rustic appearance or to remove any sharp edges.
7. Let your pot site for 2 to 3 weeks to completely dry.
Many plants will grow well in your hypertufa pot, including succulents, alpine/rock garden plants, and many others. Before filling the pot with soil, cover the drainage hole with a small piece of landscape fabric to prevent the soil from plugging the hole or washing away. Recommended soil mixture to use is a 50:50 mix of compost and sand and once your plants are planted, you can top the soil with small pebbled or crushed stone.