Pots with a Personal Touch: Hypertufa

Martha Stewart
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This rustic garden container is made from stonelike material known as hypertufa, which mimics a type of rock, and can be shaped using basic molds.

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Composed of three inexpensive substances—perlite, Portland cement, and pact moss—hypertufa was developed in the 1930’s to replicate the stone troughs that were popular among English gardeners in the late 19th and 20th centuries. The lightweight stand-ins were not only easier to come by, but also easier to transport. Thanks to their porous nature, the pots were ideal for plants needing good drainage. Hypertufa containers are still practical in the garden and simple to create.

To make a pot, you’ll need to fashion a mold from a pair of vessel; the mixture is poured between them. You can experiment with various objects, such as milk cartons and metal bowls, and also construct wooden molds. Because the medium captures subtle textures, baskets and leaves can be rendered in “stone,” while clean lined molds offer a sleek, modern look.

It is not an exact science, but that is part of the fun—every pot has the potential to surprise.

Basic Hypertufa How-To

  1. Choose mold: Make a mold from two nested vessels, so you can pour the mixture in the space between them. Both should have sides that are straight or tapered out; the gap between them should be at least ¾ inch for smaller vessels and 1 ½ inches for larger ones/
  2. Mix Materials: Wearing gloves and a dust mask, mix equal parts white Portland cement (gray can be substituted for non-tinted vessels) perlite, and peat moss in a large bin; stir in masonry stain if desired.  Add water gradually to reach the desired consistency.
  3. Fill Mold: Coat vessels with mold-release spray. Pour mixture into the outer mold to a 1-inch depth for smaller vessels or a 2-inch depth for larger ones. Set interior mold inside, centering it (you can fill it with sand to steady it) Continue adding the mixture between vessels. Tap exterior with a rubber mallet to minimize bubbles. Cover with plastic; let set for.
  4. Finish Hypertufa: After removing mold, drill holes into the bottom of the pot using a masonry bit, for drainage; smooth the top edge of the pot with a planer file. Wrap it with plastic, and let cure for several weeks,

To learn more about Hypertufa Pots go to: http://www.marthastewart.com/268091/pots-with-a-personal-touch-hypertufa

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