The Pot Spot: Homemade Hypertufa Pots

| August/September

Herbs just love hypertufa pots and you will too if you’re looking for a late-summer project to involve the kids or grandkids. You’ll need rubber gloves, a dust mask and a sheet of plastic to protect your work area. Choose a mold of some kind to shape the hypertufa around, invert it onto the work area and drape the mold with plastic. The mold could be any pot or trough shape — a large mixing bowl, a small Styrofoam cooler, even a sturdy box — but it’s easiest to start small with your first one.

  • 2 parts portland cement
  • 3 parts vermiculite (or perlite)
  • 3 parts peat moss, sifted to remove twigs
  • Fibermesh™ (see resource below)
  • Water
  1. In a large container (such as a wheelbarrow or a heavyweight plastic bag), mix the dry ingredients. Add enough water to the mix to make it thick and gloppy, stirring it with your gloved hands.
  2. Scoop out the thick cement mix and pat it onto the inverted mold shape, covering the sides and bottom (which is the top as you work) with an even thickness of hypertufa, perhaps ½-inch thick for the smallest pots and proportionately thicker for the larger ones. While it’s still wet, make some drainage holes by inserting pieces of dowel in the bottom, which you’ll leave in and occasionally loosen as the pot dries so they’ll be easy to remove.
  3. Then wait for it to dry, occasionally misting the hypertufa surface to even out the process. Drying time depends on the size of the pot and your climate — anywhere from a week to a month. When it’s dry and unmolded, the fiberglass fibers that stick out can easily be melted off with a match or cigarette lighter.

Kathleen Halloran, former editor of The Herb Companion, grows potted herbs in Las Vegas, where she is a freelance writer and editor.

Fibermesh is available at many ready-mix cement companies. For the name of a dealer near you, contact SI Concrete Systems, 4019 Industry Dr., Chattanooga, TN 37416; (800) 635-2308;

Click here for the original article, The Pot Spot: Container Herb Gardening.

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