How to Grow Upside Down Vegetables

Overview

Though a useful space-saving measure, growing vegetables in a hanging planter requires a higher level of care. Upside-down planters, a recent trend in hanging planters, is a twist on container gardening. Several varieties of these planters are available. Growing vegetables with the roots up and the stems down defies a plant's natural growth tendencies, but with proper care, you can increase your chances of vegetable-growing success.

Step 1

Hold the container right-side-up to plant the seedling.

Step 2

Position the root ball as close as possible to what will become the top of the planter in order to give the roots maximum growing space, Rutgers recommends.

Step 3

Moisten the potting soil and fill in around the roots with it. Add moistened soil until the container is filled to 2 inches from the present top. Secure the cover, making sure the seedling's leaves are sticking out of the top.

Step 4

Hang the upside-down planter on a sturdy hook in its designated location. Keep in mind the hanging apparatus must be able to hold a mature plant plus wet soil. If you are growing a vining vegetable, position a trellis nearby for it to climb on.

Step 5

Water the plant through the hole provided in the top of the container. Keep your vegetables supplied with adequate water throughout the growing season. You may have to water two to three times a day in hot, dry weather because small containers in the sun can dry out rapidly and expose the roots to harmful high temperatures.

Step 6

Fertilize your vegetables regularly, approximately every two weeks. Apply fertilizer when the soil is already moist. North Carolina State University suggests applying half the recommended fertilizer and fertilizing the plant twice as often.

Step 7

Watch your plants closely to detect any signs of pests lingering on them. An occasional aphid, for example, may be removed by hand. If many insects appear, mix equal parts of liquid dish detergent and water in a spray bottle and spray on the vegetable leaves, or purchase a commercial insecticide specifically made to combat the pests on your plants.

Step 8

Prune out any dead or damaged vegetable plant parts as they become visible. Harvest produce as it matures.

Things You'll Need

  • Upside-down planter
  • Potting mix with food and water retention crystals
  • 1 vegetable seedling of your choice per planter
  • Sturdy post with secure hanging hook
  • Watering can
  • Fertilizer, either a 5-10-10 or 10-10-10 mix

References

  • Garden Décor Galore: Growing Upside Down
  • Rutgers: Would you recommend the upside down hanging pots for growing tomatoes?
  • University of Illinois Extension: Successful Container Garden Fertilizing

Who Can Help

  • North Carolina State University: Container Vegetable Gardening
Keywords: upside down growing, inverted vegetables, vegetables upside down, upside down container

About this Author

Ann Wolters, who has been a freelance writer, consultant, and writing coach for the past year and a half, has had her writing published in "The Saint Paul Almanac," and in magazines such as "Inventing Tomorrow" and "Frontiers." She earned a master’s degree in English as a second language from the University of Minnesota and taught English as a foreign language for nearly seven years.