Do you want your hypertufa to look ancient? Really fast?
I think moss growing on the sides and rims of my outdoor hypertufa planters define what makes them look so treasured and ancient. I love that look. I have a few planters with moss on the surface and they truly are my pride and joy. The moss remains all summer and throughout the winter, even when it is a dry season. It may withdraw into the tiny pores of its texture, looking like the holes and canals in a sponge, but once it takes hold, it will remain to come again and again through the seasons. I absolutely love how that looks, and I feel that it makes a planter appear old and weathered as if it was made by your Great Grandma and handed down through generations.
If you want moss on your hypertufa planters, you’ll have to create the right conditions. A bit of moisture and shade helps to get it started, but it will remain even in sunny areas.
At my house, the garden on the southwest side has a large maple tree partly shading it. There is also the drain outlet for the rear house gutters. Rain comes from the roof of the house and garage and goes down a gutter downspout exiting into that garden bed. Since this is still close to our foundation, we have attached a 4″ corrugated black pipe…and I direct this pipe over and into the garden bed here.
This garden bed bordering the sidewalk and backyard is slightly slanted downhill so any runoff will go toward and into a small creek, but only after passing through my Rain Garden. My small garden full of ferns, heuchera, mulch, anemones and hypertufa troughs serves as the rain garden.
Further on down into the backyard is another maple tree, a Viburnum “Snowball Bush” and some Euonymus fortunei ‘Emerald Gaiety’ to absorb and filter the runoff as the rainwater runs toward the creek, hopefully to be absorbed into the earth before reaching the creek.
It’s my little effort to reduce pollution in the water. You see, if you let your runoff from the roof run through the beds of flowers and mulch and bushes, this filters out pollutants in the rainwater by first being strained and clarified as it goes through mulch and roots and all the microbes in the soil. This helps reduce pollution going into streams and rivers via my tiny drainage creek which eventually drains into Little Sugar Creek, which meets the Little Miami River almost three miles away .
My shade garden area consequently is somewhat damp and seems to grow moss naturally on the soil surface. But also on the rocks! These are really retaining wall blocks stacked two high around this bed. But when it’s rainy or wet, those rocks are wet too….and bingo, here’s my moss.
Now Here’s How to Grow Moss
Of course, a brand new hypertufa trough is begging for moss or lichens to grow. Lichens may take years. I do have one of my oldest troughs with lichens, but that one is the only one I have noticed lichens. Growing moss is what I am working on for all of my hypertufa garden planters.
If you would like moss to grow on your hypertufa planters, then when your hypertufa is completely cured and fully leached, then try this moss treatment.
In a blender ( get an old one at a garage sale because you won’t want a margarita made in this one after this goop is made in it! Ewww! ) Use one cup of buttermilk or yogurt or beer. I’ve heard these suggestions. Add maybe a teaspoon of sugar.
Then add a handful of moss to the blender. Blend for a few minutes until gooey but thin enough to paint on the surface. Add a little buttermilk or beer if it needs to be thinned.
Use this mixture to paint the outside of your trough or bowl. But most important!
USE MOSS GROWING ON ROCKS or STONE!
If it grows on soil, it won’t be as likely to grow on the hypertufa planter. So find moss that is growing on the medium upon which you want yours to grow. Makes sense: if it grows on soil or a rotting log, it won’t as likely grow on your hypertufa! And be patient! Don’t spray your planter , just keep it moist. If you spray it with a hose , you may rinse away the tiny microscopic start of your moss.
I hope this helps you to know how to grow moss. If we have a wet spring, it will be perfect to get it started. And you will have planters in your garden that seem as if they have been there forever.
If you don’t have any access to moss, you could purchase it. And use it the same way in the blender. Here is a link if needed. It is a link to Amazon and I am an affiliate. I may make a commission if you make a purchase but this doesn’t effect the price you pay. Fresh Mood Moss Perfect for Terrariums and Bonsai
Hi, I am Kim and thank you so much for visiting my magazine! I am a gardener and a hypertufa maker. If you came here to learn about hypertufa, I have a lot of information. But I also write about flower gardening and using succulents which are great drought-tolerant plants.