I made a batch of these pots a couple of weeks ago. They are called hypertufa , an artificial stone that I mixed up like clay and molded into these wonderful little troughs. Planted with sedums they will sit outside year round, unaffected by the weather. I already had several of the sedums growing elsewhere, so I simply snipped and planted them in the pots.
I’ve wanted to make these pots for years but was forewarned that it was quite complicated, needing nesting structures for proper support. Leave it to Martha Stewart to come up with the simplified, user friendly method. Only three ingredients are necessary: Portland cement, peat moss and pearlite. I used the plastic containers that hold spinach, salad mixes and strawberries. It was nice to give these plastics one more use before rinsing and tossing them in the recycling bin. They can easily be used several times before they begin to deteriorate. You’ll also want rubber gloves, a face mask (cement dust) and a plastic tote or bucket for mixing.
Have everything ready. Cut the lids off the containers, then generously spray each container with cooking spray and set aside while you prepare your cement mixture.
Wearing gloves and dust mask, mix 3 parts pearlite, 3 parts peat moss and 2 parts Portland cement. Add enough water until the mixture is thick and holds together when squeezed. These measurements will make a fairly light pot. If you want it heavier just add more cement. If you’re making a large pot you’ll need to add acrylic fibers for strength. Each batch makes approximately 3 pots. I made 3 batches for these 5 pots and had just a bit leftover.
Press cement mixture on bottom of container/mold to about 1” thick, then up the sides to about 3/4” thick. Smooth as you go, pressing firmly so there are no air pockets.
Use a dowel or stick to make drainage holes. Cover each pot with a plastic bag and let sit for 48 hours.
A couple of days later remove the pots from their mold. Pots will be somewhat wet. Use a wire brush to scrub the pot until you reach the desired rustic texture.
After a week or two, when pots are dry and you’re ready to plant, use a shard or piece of screen to cover but not block the drainage hole. Add a well draining cactus/succulent soil and then begin planting. Sedums are quite simple to propagate and can be snipped from an existing plant and tucked into the soil. Use a variety of plants for a fun textural garden or a single plant as a focal point. If purchasing succulents make sure the plants will all work in the same environment.
These troughs are really very easy to make and will last a long time indoors or out. The porous nature of the pearlite makes them able to withstand temperature changes and also makes them lightweight and versatile to move around.
At Home Depot Portland cement came in 70# bags. Too much cement and too heavy. They happily ordered me a smaller bag and I still had plenty.
Martha has a quick video to watch that helped make this successful. Watch it here: http://www.marthastewart.com/268962/hypertufa-pots
These pots will make great gifts. Mix up a batch now for Christmas gifts. You’ll be glad you did.