Choosing Plants for Hypertufa Planters

Choosing Plants For Hypertufa Planters

What are some of the plants that I have been choosing for hypertufa planters?

Well, there is not just ONE that I love, so I will try and make a series of suggestions . These are ones I prefer for well-drained hypertufa troughs, since that’s my addiction or obsession.

Erodium reichardii “Bishop’s Form” also called Baby Swiss Geranium or Alpine Geranium 2
Newly Planted in Giant Trough

I am totally in love with this little plant which looks like a tiny geranium. It is called Erodium reichardii “Bishop’s Form” Stork Bill. I think the term storksbill  is used just as the term cranesbill  is used for  its larger look-alike, the geranium whose spent flowers look like a crane’s bill. These do too!

I don’t know how you feel, but when I hear that “it is an excellent groundcover that blooms all season”, I am sold. Words to get my heart going pitter-patter.  I like for plants to bloom all year so that I have color continuously. The little darling two-toned blossoms have dark contrasting veins of a rosy pink in this variety, and are enchantingly tiny, about the size of a dime. What’s not to love?  The leaves are rounded and scalloped. This tiny beauty shines in early spring and continues through summer covered with small cupped blooms of rosy fuchsia-pink.

Since it likes sunny and well-drained sites, it is perfect for my hypertufa planters. I have some large troughs that I planned to put something in that flowered, so to stumble upon this beauty that blooms all year….what more can I ask!  And it did bloom all year in that trough and in the others I had it planted in.

Choosing Plants for Hypertufa - Erodium blooms all season


  • Height: 3-4 inches
  • Spread:  6-12 inches
  • Hardiness Zone:  3 to 7 (didn’t survive outside in zone 6 for me)
  • Location: Sunny in well drained soil
  • Best for: troughs, fairy gardens, containers ( it can be overwhelmed by larger plants)

This plant was not hard to find here in Ohio. It was at the local garden centers at prices of $4 to $6 for a small coffee-cup-sized pot.

Last year, when I got it planted, and saw how cute it looked, I went back and got two more!  I had it in a trough  that I planted in April with semps and jovibarba and some coral reef and pork and beans.

Do you have this plant? and if so, how do you like it? I hope to write about more of my plant finds. So come back for another visit, or subscribe!


This plant did not survive the winter in my Ohio garden zone 6. I have checked the information of the plant sticker and it says , as I have noted above, that is grows from zone 3-7. I have written a letter to the grower’s questioning this. This should not happen since I had it optimally planted and well drained. I am waiting to hear back from them.

But I love them so much, I went back and bought more. They are worth it even for one season.


I never ever heard back from the growers, but I have been buying the plants when I find them. I ADORE this little plant. This winter, I have kept it inside and it is blooming now. It is in an old aquarium and I will put it outside when it warms up. And I will snap up any I see for sale. I bought about 5 for our Community Rock Garden just outside Bellbrook and they just spread and bloomed all summer long.

Erodium wintered in aquarium as terrarium

No blooms just now. I should have taken the photo when in full bloom. Those are stones and small hypertufa pots planted with baby tears. I will see how it does this year outside. The only thing I worry about is the Erodium not having  a “resting period” of some sort. I just hope the fact that it bloomed only occasionally over the winter counts as its rest.

Keep your fingers crossed for me!

One more side view of the aquarium ( 5 gallon small ). The erodium is not planted inside the little hypertufa, just baby tears and some pilea.  Look at that bud at almost center of photo…..isn’t it precious?

Budding Erodium - choosing plants for hypertufa planters


  1. So strange that the Erodium didn’t make it. I have several varieties that overwinter well in Ontario, Canada. I also like gentian, and pasque flowers in my hypertufa.

    1. It would be wonderful if my Erodium could stay outside. I have the gentian and it survives just fine. I suppose I should just keep trying.

  2. Suzanne McNeill says:

    I saw this plant at a garden center in Calgary, Alberta (zone 4a) It sounded perfect and said it’s zone was 3-7. When I looked it up before deciding to buy it, 3 of the websites said this plant was zone 7a and up. I asked them about that and the center’s grower said it is hardy for our zone and that the American hardiness zone is not always true for Canada. I tend to think it will not survive our hardiness zone. I’m very disappointed.

  3. I love your info! can I ask a question? I need to make 100 hypertufa for our Master Gardener banquet and need plants for them. All the pots are fairly small, cottage cheese containers, etc. Can you recommend seeds or plants I can get started in them now so they would be ready by June?

    1. Thanks and congrats on 100 hypertufa! You could go for a bulk pot of hens and chicks or other sedum and divide those between a lot of pots. But also most cost effective could be something like alyssum seed that would grow and flower quickly by June. I will try and attach a photo of alyssum in a hypertufa. Maybe it’s already on a post. Alyssum in Hypertufa

  4. Hello. Just want to let you know that I’ve been following you for a while and I’m getting excited to start hypertufering very soon in Canada. Your site offers great info and success and fail stories about your progress. Thanks for this. I’m going to try making a large, fairly tall planter where I can plant perennial shrubs that I’m hoping will survive the winters in our zone 3-4 climate. My thinking is that the thick walls and bottom might insulate the roots better than other planters. I have no soil to speak of, just heavy clay and rock so hypertufa might be the only way I can make a garden. Do you have experience doing this in Ohio?

    1. Thanks so much for your kind words and I appreciate you following my blog. I have made a few large planters and had great success with them lasting. For your zone, I would lean on extra Portland cement just to be safe. Maybe try a form with no bottom? I had that on one of my planters once, for a deep rooted plant, and it worked well. Had the pretty ancient stone look around the plant, but with no bottom, it just rooted well into the soil without a problem. Maybe that would work for your shrubs?

  5. Marsha Parker says:

    This article was VERY inspiring. Even if the plant didn’t survive winter as it should have! You came up with a very practical way to winter your newly favorite plant. Good job!!!!!!!

  6. So sorry that your plant did not make it through the winter..I truly loved this, it is so unique! Its so hard to find plants that make it through the Arizona summers.

    1. Thanks, I am so sorry too. But I will be watching for it to come available again this year and I will sure get some more! Just love the flowers so much.

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