How to Make Your Own Lightweight Garden Pot

If you are like me, you enjoy creating things that you can use in your garden. There is one project that I simply love to undertake. That is the making of hypertufa pots. These pots are not only fun to make, but they are unique, lightweight, and immensely practical. They are wonderful for displaying rock-garden plants or succulents. 

Gather some friends together and have a potting party – it is so much fun.

What you need

  • Mixing tub
  • Container for measuring
  • Coconut fiber
  • Perlite
  • Portland cement
  • Concrete reinforcing fibers
  • Dust mask
  • Rubber gloves
  • Trowel
  • Drop cloth
  • Plastic container for a mold
  • Plastic sheeting
  • Wire brush

The recipe

  • 1 part Portland cement
  • 1  ½ parts coconut fiber
  • 1 ½ parts perlite
  • 1 handful fiber mesh – synthetic concrete reinforcing fiber – you can find this at any masonry supply store

How to make your pot

  1. Measure and mix the coconut fibers, perlite, and cement along with the fiber mesh in a large mixing tub. Be sure to wear your dust mask and gloves.
  2. Add water and stir with your trowel. It is crucial to test the consistency frequently and be careful not to add too much water. 
  3. You have a good consistency if you squeeze a handful of the mix in your hand and it keeps its shape and only releases a few drops of water.
  4. Lay down your drop cloth and place your molding pot on the cloth upside down.
  5. Begin molding the mixture around the pot. Add a 1-2 inch thick layer on all sides. Tamp down firmly.
  6. Make the bottom square for stability and poke a hole in the bottom for drainage.
  7. Wrap your pot in plastic sheeting and place in a shady area for a day to harden.
  8. Carefully remove the plastic sheet. The mixture should be firm but still soft enough to work with.
  9. Turn the container over. Remove the pot that you use for your mold.
  10. Use the wire brush to brush the top edges and smooth them.
  11. Wrap your pot again in the plastic sheet and place in a shady spot for another two days.
  12. Unwrap your pot and soak it with a hose daily for three weeks. This allows the lime from the cement to leach out.
  13. Fill with lightweight potting soil and plants.

Consider 

  • Make a set of three pots of different sizes and place them together on your patio or by your front door.
  • Add concrete dye to your mix. It is usually very concentrated, so add only a little at a time.
  • Make and plant small hypertufa pots and give them away as gifts. Everyone will love their cool urban feel and quaintness.
  • Use silicone molds that are easy to work with.
  • Hypertufa pots can stay out all winter long.

Happy pot making!

-Susan Patterson

 

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