How to Plant Tomatoes in Hanging Buckets


Hanging buckets are becoming a popular way to grow tomatoes. There are a lot of advantages to growing tomatoes upside down, aside from conserving space if you have a small yard or live in an apartment. Hanging tomato plants are less likely to break, produce more fruit and need no staking, as well as being virtually pest-free. Determinate varieties that produce smaller fruit are ideal for growing in hanging buckets since they do not get too large. Planting tomatoes in hanging buckets is inexpensive, making this a great project for kids or novice gardeners.

Step 1

Clean a 5-gallon bucket to use for the planter. The bucket should have a metal handle for hanging.

Step 2

Drill a 3-inch diameter hole in the bottom of the bucket. There is usually an indentation in the bottom of a bucket and this can be used as a guide for drilling the hole. Set the bucket on top of two saw horses so the hole is between them.

Step 3

Remove all the leaves on your tomato plant except for the top set of leaves. Remove the tomato plant from its container. Place the tomato plant inside the bucket, inserting the top 2 inches of the plant through the hole so it comes out the bottom. The roots will be on the inside of the bucket.

Step 4

Holding the plant by the roots, add potting soil to the bucket and pack it underneath the roots to hold the plant up. Continue filling the bucket with soil to within 1 inch of the top rim. Firmly tamp the soil down on the top.

Step 5

Hang the bucket in a location that receives full sun, such as a south-facing patio. Hang the bucket high enough to allow for the tomato plant to grow down. Some plants reach 5 feet in length.

Step 6

Water the tomato once a day to keep the soil moist. Water deeply so the water begins to run out the hole in the bottom of the bucket. If the weather gets extremely hot, water twice a day to keep the tomato plant from drying out.

Step 7

Feed your tomato plant once a month with a water-soluble fertilizer with an NPK of 5-10-10. A liquid fertilizer works best. Water it in well after applying.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not use a bucket with a plastic handle as it may not be strong enough to hold the bucket as the tomato grows.

Things You'll Need

  • Tomato plant
  • 5-gallon bucket
  • Soil
  • Fertilizer
  • Mulch
  • Drill


  • Basic Garden Tips: How to Grow Upside Down Tomatoes
  • Growing Tomatoes: How to Grow Tomatoes Upside Down
Keywords: hanging tomatoes, planting tomatoes, hanging bucket tomatoes

About this Author

Residing in Southern Oregon, Amy Madtson has been writing for Demand Studios since 2008 with a focus on health, pregnancy, crafts and gardening. Her work has been published on websites such as eHow and Garden Guides, among others. Madtson has been a childbirth educator and doula since 1993.