The Q&A Archives: Leaching Hypertufa

Question: I would like to make containers of hypertufa or cementboard (Durock) but I'm worried about the alkalinity in the material. I have heard to let new hypertufa leach for weeks until it's neutralized, but there's got to be another way to make it safe, yes?

Answer: While it might sound like a waste of time, curing and leaching are both important to the integrity of your finished product. If you try to rush the process, the hypertufa won't be as strong and durable as it could be, and the lime leached out of the concrete can be fatal to some plants. I've made hypertufa pots in the summer and left them outdoors all winter to age and leach. By the following spring they're all seasoned and ready to plant. If you really need to plant in a new hypertufa container, plant your flowers in plastic pots and sink them into the hypertufa container, then cover the exposed rims with sphagnum moss. The following season you can plant directly in the hypertufa container.

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