hypertufa trough - the ancient look

Ready to Make LARGE Hypertufa Troughs!

One of these past springs,  I started the first of eight or more large Hypertufa Troughs. They were all roughly similar in size . One of these is a special hypertufa trough that was for a special spot at my daughter’s home. She has a large front overhang on her porch and this area gets a lot of bright light, but protected from the burning sun at mid-day. I thought  it would be perfect for some hypertufa troughs! It was.

Jenns house with the hypertufa trough

I mixed up the hypertufa ingredients in my cement mixer because of the amount I needed for this large trough. I used 2 gallons Portland cement, + 3 gallons peat moss,+ 3 gallons vermiculite, and water poured from a gallon container and supplemented with the hose.

Large hypertufa troughs are so satisfying to make. I love these. http://www.thehypertufagardener.com/ready-to-make-large-hypertufa-troughs/ via @hypertufagarden

[clickToTweet tweet=”A cement mixer is really useful if you make large troughs. Check out my video. ” quote=”A cement mixer is really useful if you make large troughs. Check out my video. ” theme=”style1″]

Remember from the Procedure Page, when using the cement mixer, you start with water in the cement mixer first and then you add your dry mixture (which should be thoroughly blended ). I added a gallon scoop about every 45 seconds or so until the wet mix started to thicken.

At that point, you stop and unplug the mixer, and pull the mixture away from those blades inside to be sure that no dry ingredients are stuck there and  consequently not getting into the main mix.

A cement mixer is really useful if you make large troughs since it allows you to mix up a quantity which is more likely to be enough to complete one of the larger items.  Or you may find it nice to use a mixer if you are making several planters at one time.

Note:  When you use the hose to add supplemental water, spray it against the inside edge of the mixer tank to clean off any stuck-on dry ingredients.


Noisy video for the first 20 seconds! I have the cement mixer running. Mine is old and noisy!

I had lined my form with plastic since I make almost all my hypertufa inside the form or mold. It is easier to handle and transport that way. I pulled the form over to the cement mixer bucket and let the mix drop from the mixer directly into that form. I knew that I wanted to use the full amount in it, so I felt that just putting it into the mold would be the easiest. ( I could have used more to build up the sides higher for this trough, but I will remember that next time.)

I  cured it  for about 36 hours, and I planted it up after the leaching process. It has done well and really makes a large landscape planter.  I think I am liking the large hypertufa troughs better than the smaller ones.  Let me know, do you prefer the larger hypertufa troughs or planters or is the the smaller bowls you like?  I guess it mostly depends on where you will keep it and how much room you have.

image of Hypertufa trough made in a cement mixer
This is the wrapped trough pictured in the Pin Image above. Turned out to be a great hypertufa mold for large pots.

This trough ( 25″ by 17″) has done really well all planted up with succulents. It is on her front overhanging porch and is protected from the hot noonday sun but still gets a lot of bright light. Based on how everything has grown there, it seems to be in perfect growing conditions.

Since this one is set on the concrete patio, we didn’t feel it needed any “feet.”  However, if we had positioned it in the beds there, I would have used 4 or more “feet” so that it would be sure to drain well.  This one is so pretty among the blooming creeping phlox in the springtime.

Large Hypertufa Trough - The Hypertufa Gardener

This other one of similar size is in my garden. I love all the colors and how well it has done. I planted mine up with many sempervivum and little sedum. That blooming flower is an Erodium which I have had some success. It just doesn’t seem to survive winter here in Ohio even though it is zoned for our location.

I am whispering this part: The one I have out this winter seems to have survived. If it does, I will be so excited. That flower is so tiny and blooms all summer long. Love it! ( Now it probably heard me and just rolled over and croaked.)

Have you visited my Facebook Group Page? If you like, please put some photos there of your creations. I would love to see them. Thanks.














  1. Have you ever tried handbuilding or sculpting large Hypertufa forms like 4′ tall pots, or troughs? I’m wanting to try both, as well as to make a fire table with lava rock and a propane kit.

    1. I haven’t tried anything like that. I am not good at sculpting. I wish I were. You may need a special kind of cement for making something heated, if that’s what you mean. Refractory cement, or some name like that.

  2. Does this size trough need any kind of reinforcement ?

    1. Hi Phyllis, I have used reinforcing fibers in a few of my troughs. I don’t think I used any in this one. I haven’t really found it necessary. In my largest, I used hardware cloth, but it was 4 ft long.

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