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Hypertufa Pots

If you are going to make a functional pot, be sure to provide a drainage hole.  Use your finger to spread the wet molded hypertufa away or insert a large plastic straw (the kind used for milkshakes).  If the straw does not come out after molding, no worries, because you're going to fill the pot with dirt and plant in it!  I also created a hypertufa saucer from a plastic planter saucer that's sold in garden shops.  If you are going to put your pot on a  surface that might scratch, attach some silicone protector pads to the bottom of the sauce -- they won't affix very well, but you can use some gorilla glue (or concrete adhesive) to secure them.  Not the prettiest sight, but who's going to turn your potted plants upsidedown???

pot with drainage hole


Here is the list of potting possibilities I've explored:

I've made other "stuff" besides pots, and for lack of a better word, I've included them on a page I call Hypertufa Accents.

Fairy Gardens - Make your own miniature world, landscaped with interesting plants and accenting knick-knacks.  With help from Master Gardener, Cathy Rodgers (see my article on Cathy in the July 2016 issue of the St. Johns Sun), I filled my hypertufa pots with a mixture of succulents, then installed decorative items to convey a garden theme:  undersea coral reef, southwest desert, zen garden, or a lotus frog pond.  Cathy is happy to speak to groups about succulents and ideas for planting them.  She has a lot of ideas -- more than I do.  And while I prefer to pick my little decorative whimsies up in bargain stores, or make them (I made a footbridge by stringing together wooden coffee stir sticks), if you want ideas for more "upscale" gardens with decoratives purchased from a fairy garden store, try the Fancilicious Fairylands blog

Cathy used blue sand to simulate a pond in my yoga-frog design.  The gangly plant hanging over the pot is a pencil cactus.  One year later it resembles a tall sapling.  A case of right plant right place.

creating a lotus pond from blue sand

Yoga frogs by lotus meditation pools under a pencil cactus "tree".  In the background is a hypertufa mushroom.

yoga-frog by lotus ponds

A starfish succulent is the focal point for this coral reef-themed fairy garden.  Two "fish" (actually they are earrings I won at a raffle) swim around the coral reef "wall" -- which is made from a leftover "crumble" of hypertufa and painted dark purple.  I bought the pink coral piece in a aquarium supply store.  Other decorations include barnacles and sea shells (affixed to the pot rim by mosaic glue) that I collected while beachcombing.

See the image in the  Minimals pot gallery (below) for a picture of what the pot looked like before filling.

a succulent imitating a starfish in a coral reef of hypertufa

coral reef with starfish succulent

Portulaca, echeveria, and volcanic pebbles (used as top dressing beneath the plants) provide a "bloomin' southwest desert scene"   By the way, the geckos love to hide in this garden.

southwest desert

While the pots shown above were colored with acrylic paint washes or concrete pigment wash, I used crushed and dried oak leaves to stain this Buddhist pagoda garden light brown.  The crevices arecolored with a diluted shade of black acrylic, washed on and rubbed off so it only stained the cracks. The river rock that was set into the planter was the inspiration for the color scheme.

The mold was a plastic salad container (spinach and arugula are my favorite mixes).  I attached "feet" to the pot, using the recesses in an egg carton as a mold, then affixing them (and the river rock) to the pot with concrete adhesive (comes in a tube at hardware stores).

The focal plant is a jade plant.  I got the "reflecting pond" and the pagoda in a pet supply store - in the section where they sell items for reptile tanks.   Fill the reptile pond with water and float a blossom in it.  Polished pebbles are used as top dressing.

Jade tree in a pagoda garden

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Draped Towel Tufas - See the Towel Recipe on the Hypertufa page.

Blue-Green Pot - colored with moss green cement powder color.  Top layer has patches of blue created by shaking bright blue cement powder directly on the towel in the cement mix and draping the top towel over the inner one.

Green towel.  Two towels colored with moss green cement powder.  No proportions - just added green until it looked right...

Blue towel pot, colored with bright blue cement color mix.  It took waaay too much of this pigment to event approximate a blue color.  That's why I used the shake-and-drape method of the first pot shown above.   I think the lighting here makes the pot look "bluer" than it actually is.

And this pot was made from two dishtowels - note the texture, which was the way the dishtowels were produced.  Used black cement color powder.  I've concluded that blacks and blues are difficult colors to achieve using a cement dye. 

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Minimals have a clean line that lets the color make the statement:  concrete-dyed or stained to allow extra breathability or paint-washed in shades of your imagination.   I used a concrete stain from Smith's, then attached seashells to the rim with a mosaic adhesive.    I shop for dyes online at Amazon.  The paints are just outdoor acrylics that I get at hobby or craft stores.


Consider a zen pot, stained from only natural, plant-based ingredients, like machta tea or oak leaves.   Despite its green color in the cup, machta green tea turns hypertufa a muted brown.  This stuff is expensive and concentrated!  Another brown staining natural is a tree leaf, like an oak.  The tannins in the leaf that color our wetland waters brown have the same effect on hypertufa.

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Pots A-la-Mode

Pots a-la-mode are dressed to impress with a collection of changeable "tufa-bling" accessories made exclusively for them!

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Dianne Battle,
Jun 21, 2017, 7:38 AM