Whether you want to start a full container garden or just need a couple of decorative planters to finish your outdoor decor, finding the perfect ones can be expensive. Instead of purchasing a planter, make your own sturdy stone-like planter. Tufa pots were first created in Europe and used for hundreds of years. A modern-day version uses materials readily available at hardware or home improvement stores. The pots require more time than effort, so make them a month or two before you plan to use them.
Choose a mold. Use a cardboard box, bowl, existing planter or anything that is sturdy enough to hold its shape when filled with the tufa mixture.
Cover the inside of the mold with plastic wrap or a plastic bag. Cover your work surface with a second piece of plastic to protect it, then set the pot on top.
Mix 3 parts of vermiculite with 3 parts peat moss in a 5-gallon bucket. Add 2 parts dry Portland cement, a type of cement mixture sold under a variety of brand names.
Add water 1 cup at a time, mixing with a paint stirrer constantly. Add water and mix until the tufa mixture reaches the consistency of cottage cheese or oatmeal.
Scoop the mixture into the form and shape it to the sides and bottom. Make the planter 3 inches thick on all sides. Smooth it around the rim using your hands or a paint stirrer to get the desired angles and design. Push four ½-inch dowels into the bottom of the planter to form the drainage holes.
Cover the top of the mold with plastic wrap or place a garbage bag over it. Allow it to dry for four to eight weeks.
Remove the plastic covering then pull the mold from the pot once it is dry. Remove the dowels. Use the planter once it is completely hard on both the outside and inside.