Hypertufa pots are suitable for many sorts of plants and are particularly good for cacti, succulents and alpine plants. In
this video, Michael explains the simple steps that are required to make your own beautiful Hypertufa Pots.
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Male: You know pots can really make the plant especially if you are talking about these nice tufa pots that really accent these sedums and some of the rock plants. I was told that it was really easy to make and we brought in Michelle here to show us just that.
Female: Hey Michelle, how are you doing?
Male: Good, how are you?
Female: So are they as really easy to make this tufa pots as everyone has told me?
Male: Yes, simple. As easy as pie, no problems
Female: Hopefully easier than pie. [Laughing]
Male: Yup, exactly, even easier than pie. There are basically three ingredients. You use peat moss, perlight and Portland cement and it is important to use Portland cement not the ready-mix. You just want the cement powder and you mix the three together, add water, you have the pots.
Female: Okay. That sounds easy.
Male: Yes, it is very simple. It is three parts peat moss, the parts perlight and two parts Portland cement. Mix it together and then you add the water to create sort of a mud pie texture.
Female: Okay, sounds like fun.
Female: So we got the perlight all ready in there. So then we need three of these in there?
Female: So we need three of these to it?
Male: Yes, three containers worth of whatever amount, so it is just parts. You can use shovel worth or whatever. I am just using a smaller amount today and just o make sure you have got all the lumps out of the peat moss, it just keeps the texture better and smoother. We already got the three parts perlights in the wheelbarrow and I will just get the peat moss in there and this is by no means scientific, so, just somewhat equal.
Female: [Laughing] Now if you did leave sort of coarse peat moss or head twigs in there, would it just a little bit of character to the pot or would it actually fall apart?
Male: Well, it will probably add a little bit of some character but I would suggest you that it will compromise its texture and its structure. So, you might end up having something that is a little bit more fragile, so it is best to try to get it smooth as you can.
Female: Okay. Perfect.
Male: Okay. And the third ingredient is the Portland cement, which is just two parts. You do not need as much of the cement although it is actually most crucial ingredient.
Female: Now we have a little pot here. This is one that you made long time ago, more of an experiment with the sand in there and you can see it seems to be sort of brittle and the texture does not seem to be nearly as nice as a straight Portland cement.
Male: No. this has some three-part sand, three part peat moss and two parts Portland cement and the sand I find is just – first of all it makes a much heavier product and it also just seems to just hold together as nicely.
Female: It does crumble a little bit more.
Male: That is a big pot for a little space there too. [Laughing]
Female: Exactly, well that is actually, what you bring our something quite interesting about tufa pots. There are smaller amounts of soil in there, so they are meant more for the alpine planters.
Female: So, plants that do not need so much room for there root systems to grow, often that what you will see in the chisel pots.
Female: So we have our measurements in there and I will mix it up and you will just probably use your hands but I like to keep my hands away from the cement and also do not try to breathe it in, it is not so good for your lungs.
Male: Yes you can imagine perlight if anyone has ever got perlight in the eyes something.
Female: So it is best to try to one point you are probably going to use your hands, so when you add the water, let us get in there a little bit.
Male: Bow this is a sort of funny name. You know where did that came from?
Female: Well technically, it is called hypertufa and it is in old English tradition of Alpine planters, they would mimic a natural rock I believe that is found in Europe. They used to use it as watering truss for farm stock. Yes, they would find it naturally this sort of a rock that is very porous and then the plant people in England decided that they would grow plants in this rock and they could not find enough of it so they made this recipe out that looks a lot like it. Because of the cement, Alpine plants do like more of alkaline soil and they grow well in these containers.
Male: So they had the water now?
Female: Yes, definitely
Male: So how much do you stick in here?
Female: Well, just slowly as we go and it is kind of one of this sort of measure as you go like pie crust and you just keep going to get a good texture. This is a probably a good texture that you want to end up with when you are adding the water. Sort of a mud pie, forms a nice ball in your hand and then you just start adding it onto your container and forming it.
Female: So I will give you some there, get you some more and maybe a little bit. And, when you are forming, you want to have a thickness of at least an inch, you can go up to two inches if you want but at least an inch and definitely remember to put a hole in the bottom. If you just use a finger and put a hole in the center so I will put some in this one here. Do you need some more?
Male: Sure. I can see where if I do not watch them, I would not have a whole lot of space in them.
Female: Yes, you do not want it to make it too thick but this is the easiest way that I find to do this. You can do it on the outside and turn it upside down and form it on the outside but you better make sure that you have got it on a board so you can lift it away and also I find that gravity sometimes could work against you and it all sort off slumps down. Not a good combination. So here you go, a little bit more?
Male: Thank you. So basically that is what it is going to look like?
Female: Yes, exactly like this and about seven days it will be dry and just pop it out of the mold and there you go.
Male: You can actually texture this if you want with the wire brush.
Female: Yes and also you can use leaves, line the pot with leaves and then put the molds or the cement mix in and it will mold against it and you will have a really cool leaf motif around using --. You could do stepping-stones. there are sort of things you can do this with.
Male: Great. Well, thanks Michelle. I really appreciate that.
Gord Nickel has been a professional horticulturalist for almost 30 years. Taken from his popular TV show, Gord, who has been working in gardens since he was 15 years old, teaches easy, fun gardening skills.