A Little History:
Alpine feeding troughs and sinks used to be made from a mined stone called Tufa. Alpine gardeners discovered that these Tufa sinks and troughs were excellent containers for their tempermental plantings. But when metal replaced Tufa as the favored material for making troughs and sinks, the Tufa containers were no longer readily available. These same Alpine gardeners then set about creating an artificial stone that would serve as a replacement for the Tufa stone. They discovered that a mixture of cement, sand, vermiculite and perlite was a pretty good replica - and so they aptly named their creation "HyperTufa".
HyperTufa containers are very common in Europe but relatively unknown in the United States. If you can find them, they are very expensive. Additionally, they will usually be trough shaped and gray in color.
After experimenting with this material, I have discovered many things that it can be used for -from bird feeders to hanging wall pockets to beautiful table mounts featuring driftwood, shells, etc. HyperTufa is the material used in making the Japanese Lanterns you see in a lot of Oriental landscapes.
I have also developed a way to color this stone in every color from hot pink to mushroom tan to a terra cotta color. It has been great fun and I made a little $$$ along the way too!
What makes HyperTufa truly special is the porosity of the stone, which allows great air circulation to the plant's root system. I have actually had plant roots attach and grow into the stone itself! You can also make moss grow on these pieces, which makes them appear even more aged and weathered.
These pots are ideal for everything from Cactus to Orchids--everything I plant in them does wonderfully..