Growing Plants Upside Down


Upside down gardening, especially growing tomatoes upside down, has become a trendy way to garden in many urban areas where there is little room for a vegetable garden. Upside down gardens can be healthier than traditional gardens because the soil is free of soil-borne diseases and pests. Additionally, the plants in an upside down garden produce an increased yield of vegetables and are less prone to mold and mildew diseases thanks to the air circulation in the upside down plants.

Step 1

Use a drill with a hole-saw bit to cut a 2-inch hole in the center of the bucket lid and the bottom of the bucket.

Step 2

Place a coffee filter in the bottom of the bucket over the hole.

Step 3

Mix potting soil, peat moss, vermiculite and moisture-retaining granules in equal parts and fill the bucket with the potting mix.

Step 4

Align a coffee filter with the hole in the lid of the container and close the lid tightly.

Step 5

Turn the bucket over so that the bottom is facing up.

Step 6

Use the utility knife to gently cut the coffee filter away from the hole at the bottom of the bucket.

Step 7

Put a plant in the hole. For tomatoes, strip the lower leaves off of the tomato plant. Then place the plant in the bucket so that the stem peeks out of the hole in the bucket. Plant the plant deeply, so that roots will form everywhere that you stripped leaves from the plant. For cucumbers or other plants, simply place the rootball inside the bucket.

Step 8

Allow the plant to get established. Wait until the plant is about a foot tall for tomatoes and cucumbers. For low-growing plants, like strawberries, wait approximately three weeks for the roots to spread out.

Step 9

Lift the bucket and turn it over so that it is upright and the plant is pointed downward. Hang the bucket by its handle.

Step 10

For visual interest, plant companion plants such as marigolds or basil in the top of the bucket once it has been hung. These plants require the same amount of water, and will help keep away pests.

Tips and Warnings

  • Be aware that most plants need at least six hours of sunlight to thrive. Plants that do not get this minimum light requirement often produce a lower yield of fruits and vegetables. Many structures that are sturdy enough to hang upside down containers, such as the eaves of homes or the branches of trees, are also massive enough to prevent fruits and vegetables from receiving enough sunlight to thrive. When choosing a structure to hang your upside down garden from, look for a freestanding structure such as a clothesline or garden pergola.

Things You'll Need

  • 5 gallon bucket with a lid
  • Drill
  • Hole saw bit (used for cutting door knob holes)
  • Coffee filters
  • Light weight potting soil
  • Vermiculite
  • Peat moss
  • Moisture-retaining granules
  • Utility knife


  • Upside Down Gardening
  • Growing Tomatoes--Upside Down
  • My Experience Growing Tomatoes Upside Down

Who Can Help

  • Make Your Own Upside Down Tomato Planter
Keywords: container garden, topsy turvey tomato planter, growing vegetables

About this Author

After 10 years experience in writing, Tracy S. Morris has countless articles and two novels to her credit. Her work has appeared in national magazines and newspapers, including "Ferrets" and "CatFancy," as well as the "Lexington Herald Leader" and "The Tulsa World," and several websites.