Hypertufa Failure - Why

Hypertufa Failure – What Went Wrong?

If you are a frequent reader of my blog, you know that I am in the middle of a move to a new home. So exciting, so exhausting………and at time so frustrating. As we rest amidst a sea of boxes, some empty and waiting to be recycled, some still packed and taped waiting to be unloaded, I tell myself that I cannot be as tired as I am. But my aching bones tell me that I am.

Hypertufa Failure - What could be the cause

We have been moving the hypertufa planters, one by one. The guys carry them mostly since they are very heavy during this season. Wet with snow and ice, or heavy rains, we have to work at it as the days permit. My daughter and I carry the smaller bowls sometimes using a little wagon. Other time we just carry them in our arms. We have filled up the pickup and our car trunks several times.

But in picking up a few of my planters, I am especially bothered by a “hypertufa failure” I noticed as I went to move all my planters. Wow, do I ever have a lot! Combined with my daughter’s tufas, it is borderline ridiculous!

Hypertufa collection - checking for hypertufa failure

But one older hypertufa bowl seemed to have “failed” this winter. It is a strong older bowl that I have had for years, so I am not sure what could have happened to it. There are other photos of this same pot here in another post. Loved it for all the mosses!

I made a quick video so you could see it for yourself. Maybe you have some ideas on how this happens after 7-8 years? 

Hypertufa Failure - Why? What Happened?

Causes of Hypertufa Failure

If this was a new pot, I would says that it did not cure long enough. A good cure has a lot to do with the strength of the hypertufa when all is said and done. But in this case, I think it would have failed during its first season.

Perhaps an especially hard winter?  I don’t feel that this was the case because we have had much harder winters in the past few years than this winter has been. A few years ago, we were at below zero for weeks at a time, with wind chills reaching 30°F.

Acid rain? Who knows. Maybe it eats into the hypertufa and begins a slow disintegration?

This particular bowl had a lot of moss growing into the pores of the surface. Perhaps over the years, it has slowly destroyed the structure. It is a fairly “thin-sided” bowl. I guess it is possible.

If you should have any other ideas, let me know and I can add them to the list. Perhaps it may help someone down the line who will research what has happened to their hypertufa bowl. I know we talk a lot about hypertufa failure over on the Facebook  Page or Group, so please let me know what I might add. I know our discussions are mostly about early failures, so it could be just a nature aging process. But I hate to think that my bowls and troughs will someday just disintegrate.

How sad would that be?


  1. Water seeping into cracks then freezing and thus expanding will inevitably weaken the structure as it does our roads. Perhaps cover them with plastic over the winter.

  2. L Dowsett says:

    I’m sorry to bear bad news but like all things made of organic material, your Hypertufa will erode away with the passage of time but if the walls and base are thick enough it will take a long, long time and they will be beautiful every day of it

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