Hypertufa, which was invented for use in alpine gardens, is a manufactured substitute for Tufa – the porous rock that forms around mineral water springs.
Alpine gardeners traditionally used antique animal water troughs as planters, but there was obviously a limited supply of these. Containers made with hypertufa are more porous and much lighter than the water troughs, so they are ideal alternatives.
Hypertufa planters in the original trough shape are still popular, however it is possible to use it to make many shapes. The smaller containers are really quick and easy to make – this one is made using a plastic basin as a mould.
What you Need
Peat (the finer the better)
Plastic basin and loose plastic
Step 1. Mix 1 part cement to 2 parts peat and add water until the mixture can hold its shape.
Step 2. Line the basin with the plastic – it does not have to be smooth as the creases give the pot’s surface extra texture. Pack a layer of the cement mixture into the basin, covering the bottom and sides to a depth of 2 to 3 cm.
Step 3. Make a drainage hole in the centre of the base. Leave to dry, at least overnight, then remove the pot from the basin.
Add more character – After you’ve placed the plastic inside the mould (and before you pack in the cement) line the sides with some dried sphagnum moss.
You will find peat and dried sphagnum moss at good garden centres.