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How to Make a Rustic Planter for Succulents

Renee Valdes
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Rustic planters made from hypertufa for succulents

Learn how to make a rustic planter from hypertufa, a lightweight cement mixture. These beautiful rustic hypertufa planters make great gifts, especially for Mother’s Day, or are great for decorating your indoor or outdoor space.

How to make a rustic planter for succulents

How to Make a Rustic Planter


Using this recipe, measure your ingredients to create the hypertufa mixture for your rustic planter. Don’t worry if you don’t get the recipe exactly right; cement is forgiving. Start by using small 8-quart bags of perlite and sphagnum peat moss. Then add your Portland cement.

This mixture filled two planter molds. Any extra mixture can be used to make extra hypertufa containers.

  • 1 1/2 parts Perlite
  • 1 1/2 parts Sphagnum peat moss
  • 1 part Portland Cement
  • Optional: 1 part water mixed with cement tint

Materials for a rustic trough planter


Spray inside the mold for your rustic trough planter DIY

Step 1:  Spray inside of Mold

Place a drop cloth or brown Builder’s paper underneath your work space. Set out your plastic molds for your rustic planter. Using your no-stick cooking spray, completely cover the inside of your trough mold and the outside of your plastic insert. Repeat this step if you’re making more than one.

How to make a rustic trough planter

Step 2: Mix peat moss and perlite

Put on your gloves then measure and moisten your Sphagnum peat moss. Next, add in Perlite and mix by hand. 

Make a rustic trough planter

Step 3: create hypertufa 

Now put on your safety glasses and a mask. In a well-ventilated area, add dry Portland cement to your moss and perlite mixture to create the hypertufa. Blend these dry ingredients by hand.

If you’re using concrete tint, add it to a jug of water and cover. Shake it up. Pour the tinted water slowly into your hypertufa mixture. Using a concrete trowel, work in all the ingredients. To get the right consistency, squeeze a handful in your hand. It’s just right when very little water seeps out. 

How to make a rustic trough planter

Step 4: Fill containers and cover

Take handfuls of the hypertufa mixture and fill the containers halfway to the top. Pack down as you go. Now take your insert and push it down inside, making sure to leave about an inch of thickness on the bottom. Continue filling with extra mixture to fill in the top. 

Place your containers inside a plastic garbage bag for hardening in the shade. After 24 hours, remove the plastic inserts. If you can dig a fingernail into the inside of your planter, cover it back up with plastic and let it continue to harden in the shade for another 24 hours. 

Rustic planter for succulents

Step 5: cure

The next step of the hypertufa curing process takes three weeks. Remove the rustic planter from the plastic bag and let it sit in the shade. It’s okay if it gets rained on. At this point, it’s important to soak the container with water once a week to remove residual lime from the cement so it will not harm plants.

Rustic planter for succulents

Optionally, you can use a coco liner in your planter and skip to step 6 immediately.

Drill holes in rustic planter

Step 6: Drill holes

Carefully drill drainage holes in the bottom of your rustic planter. The size of your planter dictates the size of the drill bit. Just use an appropriate size so your planter gets ample drainage.

Arrange plants in your rustic planter

STEP 7: plant 

It’s time to decorate your rustic planter with succulents. Arrange plants to see how they will look in your rustic planter. Be sure to look for plants that thrill, those that fill and some to spill when selecting your succulents. Also, don’t forget to vary the color scheme.

Rustic planter with succulents

For an added touch, soak decorative sheet moss and tuck it in around your planter.

Rustic planters for succulents

Step 8: Enjoy

No matter where you place your rustic planter, whether on your porch, balcony, by your entryway or on a console table, these decorative rustic planters bring a unique style to your space. When decorating with your planters, don’t forget outdoor lanterns and other outdoor accessories in your vignettes.

Also, if you enjoy this project but you’re not into getting your hands dirty, select a ready-made planter of succulents available at your local The Home Depot Garden Center. You can also fill a whiskey barrel or other planter with succulents of your choice.

Special thanks to Rambo Nursery for providing the succulents and location

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