You know when you stumble on something you’ve never heard of before and then you start seeing it everywhere? Well, meet “hypertufa” — your next new eye worm.
Truth is hypertufa — a decorative concrete that is durable, lightweight and easy to mold at home — has been around for decades. Eagle Rock landscape designer Steve Gerischer began teaching people how to make pots out of hypertufa more than 20 years ago, after finding the “recipe” — Portland cement, perlite and peat moss — in a Pacific Horticulture article.
“They’re great, because when the pots are dry, they look like stone, which I can’t afford to buy,” Gerischer said. “And the only limit to the shapes you can make is the molds you find or create. I love that you can make things with hypertufa that you cannot find at any garden center.”
Search “hypertufa” online and you’ll find loads of DIY primers, including these from Fine Gardening, Martha Stewart Living and even This Old House. (You’ll also find plenty of eye candy and how-tos searching #hypertufa on Instagram.) If you’d prefer an in-person instructor, however, check out Gerischer’s hypertufa pot-making workshop at the Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanical Gardens on Aug. 25.
Gerischer’s changed up the original recipe a little — he uses coir peat (coconut husk fibers) instead of peat moss, to reduce decimation of our threatened peat moss bogs. And know that hypertufa pots have to cure for a few weeks before you use them, to make sure all the lime in the cement has washed out. Otherwise the alkalinity of the pots would be lethal to plants.
The finished pots are strong, porous and great for all plants, but they’re particularly suited to succulents, Gerischer said. “There’s something about the combination of the chunky pots with the succulents’ many textures… each one makes the other look better.”
You’ll get dirty making hypertufa pots, so wear grubby clothes, postpone your manicure and leave jewelry at home. Bring water (for drinking) and a hat (for shade) because you’ll be outside, but all other materials are included in the workshop to make a small planting bowl or trough.
Hypertufa Pot-making Workshop
When: 10 a.m. to noon Aug. 25
Where: Los Angeles Arboretum, 301 N. Baldwin Ave., Arcadia
Cost: $40, which includes entry to the arboretum, $30 for members
Pre-registration required: (626) 821-4623