Quirky Hypertufa Planters
John Gillespie & Christina Symons are the authors of Sow Simple: 100+ Green and Easy Projects to Make Your Garden Awesome (Harbour Publishing) and today they are sharing some decorative projects to inexpensively make your very own planting containers out of concrete. I have done my fair share of concrete projects, and yet it amazes me how many unique shapes that can be created. I love how these quirky containers came out, don't you?
Concrete planters and hypertufa troughs are easier to make than you might think. The only difference: one is smooth (concrete) and one is rustic and rough (hypertufa).
- A pair of similarly shaped moulds, one 25 percent smaller than the other
- Concrete ready mix
- Organic matter (for hypertufa): peat moss, cocoa husks, wood chips or sawdust
- Rubber gloves
- Nonstick cooking spray (for plastic moulds)
- Plastic lining (for cardboard moulds)
- Sticks to create drainage holes
First, decide on a shape. Squat shapes are easiest for beginners and make wonderful troughs and low bowls for succulents and other plants typically grown in rocky areas.
Create a pair of moulds (inside and outside) by selecting or fashioning two identical shapes, one approximately 25 percent smaller than the other. For example, two plastic bowls in similar shapes that fit inside each other with a little more than an inch (about 3 cm) space between them. Cardboard boxes also work well. Spray plastic containers with nonstick cooking spray. If using cardboard, line your moulds with plastic.
Mix your concrete according to package directions. To create a hypertufa blend, add approximately 30 percent peat moss, cocoa husks, wood chips or sawdust to the mix prior to adding water. This will result in a stiffer mix. A plain concrete mix will not be as rigid.
Fill the bottom and sides of your moulds with your mix of choice to a thickness of 11/2 in. (4 cm). Insert lengths of sticks cut the same depth as your mix to create drainage holes.
Place your inner mould on top. Press down until the bottom and sides are of an even thickness. Position stones or other weights inside the top mould to hold it down. Tap the mould several times to remove air bubbles.
Allow your pot or trough to dry for several days. Then release the concrete from the moulds and remove drainage sticks. Allow the containers to cure, preferably outside where rain can wash over them for several weeks before planting.