Containers forum: Hypertufa Recipe

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Name: Chris
Ripon, Wisconsin
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Sages Forum moderator Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Database Moderator
Seller of Garden Stuff I sent a postcard to Randy! Sempervivums Sedums Region: Wisconsin Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle
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goldfinch4
Mar 2, 2010 1:42 PM CST
Protective Clothing: Wear a dust mask, sturdy rubber gloves and protective eye goggles when measuring and mixing the dry ingredients. Once you’ve added the water to your mix and have it mixed up a bit you can remove the goggles and dust mask. Cement and perlite dust is toxic and you don’t want to breathe it in. Work in a well ventilated area and wear old clothes (if you’re messy, like me).

Recipe: The mix I use for my hypertufa is one part Portland cement, 1-1/2 parts sifted peat moss and 1-1/2 parts perlite. This is the recipe I use most for pots. I don't measure the water, just pour and mix it in slowly until when I squeeze a handful it just sticks together, not wet or soggy. You don't want to add too much water because that weakens your finished product.

Another recipe which will make it a bit stronger is 1 part each Portland cement, play sand, sifted peat moss and perlite. The sand will make it a little heavier, but stronger.

Instructions: You can use just about anything you want for a mold. Just be sure it has smooth sides because if there are ridges in your mold you won’t be able to slide your pot out. Also make sure the top of your container is not narrower than the bottom or the pot won’t come out.

I like to make my pots inside of the containers I use for molds but you can also turn something upside down and make your pot over the outside of the container. For me it’s easier to be able to see how thick the sides of my pot are if I use the inside. Some people also use one container inside of another and pack the tufa between the two containers. That’s not as easy as it sounds.

You’ll need to prepare your mold prior to use. Hypertufa will stick to unprepared surfaces and you won’t be able to unmold your pot. I generally use stiff plastic things for molds. You want something stiff so the sides don’t flex during construction or your pot will crack. I spray the inside of my mold with Pam cooking spray, then line it with a plastic bag. Dry cleaner bags work great as do grocery bags, garbage bags, etc. If there is printing on the bag place it facing the mold, not your hypertufa mix.

As you’re building your pot the sides and bottom should be at least 1” thick for strength. The bigger the pot, the thicker it needs to be. Pack your tufa in the mold as firmly as you can, I mean really push down hard. If not it will just crumble when you unmold it. If you use a mold with corners make the pot thicker in the corners for strength.

Remember to put a drainage hole in the bottom. I do that by sticking a wooden dowel or piece of PVC pipe through the bottom as I’m building it. You can pull it out when you unmold it.

Clean all your tools immediately or the cement will harden on them. Never, ever pour “used” water from this down a drain or you’ll cement the drain shut!

Your pot has to remain in your mold for 24-48 hours before you try to remove it. The larger the pot, the longer it needs to sit. So after you’ve finished putting your tufa in the mold, put the entire thing in a large garbage bag and seal it tightly for 24-48 hours. Try to move it as little as possible during this time to prevent cracking.

To unmold, gently turn the mold over and your pot should slide out. One reason for the plastic bag in the mold is so that if it sticks you can gently tug on the plastic to get air in between the pot and the mold to release it. Tufa is extremely fragile at this point! If you bump or drop it, it will shatter.

You may notice that there are lines in your pot from the plastic bag. Now is when you can remove those and/or roughen up your pot to make it look more rugged. I use a wire brush for that. You can also use a large file to soften the edges or corners. Be gentle or you can accidentally take a chunk out of your pot! And wear your protective gear during this process too.
Now it’s time for the rest of the cure.

Curing: Because of the temps here it's not safe for me to start making tufa/cement stuff until the end of May or early June. Curing needs to be done at a minimum of 50 deg. F.

When you cure tufa you can do it a couple of ways. After you unmold it, it needs to remain moist or wet to cure properly. You can stick it in a sealed plastic bag (garbage bags work great) out of direct sunlight and then mist it every day. Or just stick the piece in water. I use big Rubbermaid containers (or something similar). Then you don't have to spend the time misting it. I change the water every couple of days cuz it gets yucky (real technical term).

There are lots of opinions about how long to cure the pots before planting in them - anywhere from a few days to 28 days. I personally cure them for 28 days in a waterbath. It "officially" takes concrete 28 days to cure well (but I guess it actually keeps curing just about forever) and I would just rather be on the safe side. But I know a lot of people only cure for a few days and seem to have good results, so I guess it's up to you. It's hard to wait 28 days - especially when you first get started!



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Thumb of 2010-03-06/goldfinch4/52e6e2
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Name: Lynn
Dallas, OR (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator
Forum moderator I helped beta test the first seed swap Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant and/or Seed Trader Garden Ideas: Master Level Sempervivums
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valleylynn
Mar 4, 2010 2:31 PM CST

Moderator

Boy Dave sure gave us some awesome tools to use. Is that the way you wanted it Chris?
Let me know if you need changes made. : )
Okay everyone, lets get out there and makes some Hypertufa. Well as soon as it get warm enough in your area. : )
Name: Chris
Ripon, Wisconsin
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Sages Forum moderator Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Database Moderator
Seller of Garden Stuff I sent a postcard to Randy! Sempervivums Sedums Region: Wisconsin Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle
Image
goldfinch4
Mar 4, 2010 2:46 PM CST
Looks great Lynn - thanks! I just changed the curing information around a little.
Cubits Store: The Sempervivum Patch - plants, containers, accessories!
Also stop by Timber Treasures and Garden Buddies on Cubits
Name: Lynn
Dallas, OR (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator
Forum moderator I helped beta test the first seed swap Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant and/or Seed Trader Garden Ideas: Master Level Sempervivums
Image
valleylynn
Mar 4, 2010 6:09 PM CST

Moderator

Great. So glad that worked. : )
Name: Lynn
Dallas, OR (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator
Forum moderator I helped beta test the first seed swap Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant and/or Seed Trader Garden Ideas: Master Level Sempervivums
Image
valleylynn
Mar 5, 2010 5:38 PM CST

Moderator

Hi Chris. Would you do an edit on the above posting for the Hypertufa Recipe and add a picture of one of your pots? That way it will have a picture on the previous pages Sticky for Hypertufa Recipe. I think it catch peoples eye with a picture. What do you think?
Name: Chris
Ripon, Wisconsin
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Sages Forum moderator Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Database Moderator
Seller of Garden Stuff I sent a postcard to Randy! Sempervivums Sedums Region: Wisconsin Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle
Image
goldfinch4
Mar 6, 2010 2:46 PM CST
I agree Pictures are always an attention-getter!
Cubits Store: The Sempervivum Patch - plants, containers, accessories!
Also stop by Timber Treasures and Garden Buddies on Cubits
Name: Lynn
Dallas, OR (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator
Forum moderator I helped beta test the first seed swap Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant and/or Seed Trader Garden Ideas: Master Level Sempervivums
Image
valleylynn
Mar 6, 2010 2:55 PM CST

Moderator

You are so good Chris. That is a great one to catch some ones attention. : )
Name: A.M.

angele
Mar 7, 2010 10:26 AM CST
oh boy!!! Thanks so much!
Name: Lynn
Dallas, OR (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator
Forum moderator I helped beta test the first seed swap Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant and/or Seed Trader Garden Ideas: Master Level Sempervivums
Image
valleylynn
Mar 7, 2010 12:12 PM CST

Moderator

Anele, doesn't that picture make you want to go right out and start making one? Thumbs up
Name: A.M.

angele
Mar 7, 2010 12:29 PM CST
yes it sure does, just warm enough here to start. Good time of year to look for the supplies too.
Name: Chris
Ripon, Wisconsin
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Sages Forum moderator Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Database Moderator
Seller of Garden Stuff I sent a postcard to Randy! Sempervivums Sedums Region: Wisconsin Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle
Image
goldfinch4
Mar 7, 2010 2:23 PM CST
I'm so jealous that it's warm enough for you two to play in cement!!! I still have 2 ft. snowdrifts in the yard. Have fun!
Cubits Store: The Sempervivum Patch - plants, containers, accessories!
Also stop by Timber Treasures and Garden Buddies on Cubits
Name: Clint Brown
Medina, TN (Zone 7b)
Hellebores Hummingbirder Heucheras Winter Sowing Cactus and Succulents Container Gardener
Ferns Bee Lover Cottage Gardener Garden Procrastinator Clematis Birds
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clintbrown
Mar 17, 2010 11:53 AM CST
Thanks for this article. I am so going to make a mess!
Name: Lynn
Dallas, OR (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator
Forum moderator I helped beta test the first seed swap Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant and/or Seed Trader Garden Ideas: Master Level Sempervivums
Image
valleylynn
Mar 17, 2010 11:55 AM CST

Moderator

You an me both. Big Grin
I already went out and bought the ingredients. Wahoo, gonna play in the cement.
Name: Lynn
Dallas, OR (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator
Forum moderator I helped beta test the first seed swap Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant and/or Seed Trader Garden Ideas: Master Level Sempervivums
Image
valleylynn
Mar 17, 2010 11:59 AM CST

Moderator

Clint I added you to my Links. Check out Links in the right side info box. Hurray! Thumbs up
Name: Clint Brown
Medina, TN (Zone 7b)
Hellebores Hummingbirder Heucheras Winter Sowing Cactus and Succulents Container Gardener
Ferns Bee Lover Cottage Gardener Garden Procrastinator Clematis Birds
Image
clintbrown
Mar 17, 2010 12:02 PM CST
Thanks. I'll add you to mine.
Name: Lynn
Dallas, OR (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator
Forum moderator I helped beta test the first seed swap Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant and/or Seed Trader Garden Ideas: Master Level Sempervivums
Image
valleylynn
Mar 17, 2010 12:07 PM CST

Moderator

Your echies will be coming up pretty soon. Got to get them out where people will see them. : ) When you look at the link info in my Links area let me know if I can add something to it, besides what I already put there. Smiling
Name: Clint Brown
Medina, TN (Zone 7b)
Hellebores Hummingbirder Heucheras Winter Sowing Cactus and Succulents Container Gardener
Ferns Bee Lover Cottage Gardener Garden Procrastinator Clematis Birds
Image
clintbrown
Mar 17, 2010 12:11 PM CST
Lynn - Look at my link to you. Sedums and Echinaceas do look nice together. I'm going to be focusing on combination plantings this year.

Maybe you could say something like Echinaceas look good with Sedums. Check out this picture I found!

http://grwhryrpltd.files.wordpress.com/2009/08/0062.jpg
Name: Lynn
Dallas, OR (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator
Forum moderator I helped beta test the first seed swap Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant and/or Seed Trader Garden Ideas: Master Level Sempervivums
Image
valleylynn
Mar 17, 2010 1:12 PM CST

Moderator

Great find Clint. Both are draught tolerant, but can still do very well with average watering also. What a match. Thumbs up
Name: Lynn
Dallas, OR (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator
Forum moderator I helped beta test the first seed swap Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant and/or Seed Trader Garden Ideas: Master Level Sempervivums
Image
valleylynn
Mar 17, 2010 1:16 PM CST

Moderator

I did it. Take a look, see what you think. Wish I could put that link in the box. : )
Wish we had a photo that I could use on my Growing Sedum Page. That would be spectacular.
Name: Clint Brown
Medina, TN (Zone 7b)
Hellebores Hummingbirder Heucheras Winter Sowing Cactus and Succulents Container Gardener
Ferns Bee Lover Cottage Gardener Garden Procrastinator Clematis Birds
Image
clintbrown
Mar 17, 2010 1:18 PM CST
I'll make one this summer for sure. LOL. I know just the sedums to use...Mr. Goodbud, Black Jack and the yellow one you sent to me.

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