Saturday, July 19, 2014

A hypertufa planter for mini hostas

I've been making hypertufa planters for a few years now but mostly smaller stuff. I really wanted one to combine a collection of mini hostas in one container.
Whenever I make hypertufa planters, I let them cure over winter in a dry place before planting in them so this is the one I made last year. You don't necessarily have to cure them that long, a few month's is usually good enough. Maybe longer for larger pieces like this one. It's just by the time I get around to making them its too late to plant in them so I let them cure all winter.
There are a lot of recipes out there but mine is pretty straight forward. Equal amounts of Peat Moss, Portland Cement, and Perlite. A little more or less of one or the other is not going to matter.
For more details of the mixing and what it should look like go here.
For this container I'm using a large sturdy cardboard box. First fill the bottom for a depth of about 1 3/4 to 2 inches. I do a little less for smaller pieces but I figured a larger piece might benefit from a thicker base.
I start building up the sides. Now the best way to do this is to insert a smaller box and fill in the sides, but I didn't have a box the right size and I have had luck just forming it with my hands.
I work my way around the box, slowly working my way up. It takes a lot of time and patience doing it this way. Add more water if your mixture gets too dry.
 Try to keep it as even as possible but it doesn't matter if a few places are a little thicker than others.
Now cover it with plastic and let it dry for a few days before removing the cardboard.  Make sure its completely dried before lifting it because they are still very fragile at this point.
 Drill a few drainage holes in the bottom before planting in it or you could insert some wooden dowels in the bottom while your tufa is still wet.
 Then the real fun begins. I put in Stiletto on the left, Blue Mouse Ears on the right, above Blue Mouse Ears is Cracker Crumbs, on the top right is an unknown petite hosta. The rest is just fillers for now.  My plans are to gradually make this a Mouse Ears collection and remove the other hostas. There are many varieties and I would like to add a new one every year.