How to Make an Upside-Down Tomato Plant Holder


If you've ever driven past a home in which hanging baskets or 5-gallon buckets are suspended from the eaves with tomato vines growing from the bottom, you have probably already seen an upside down tomato planter. It may seem like an odd way to garden, but an upside down tomato planter has a few advantages over tomatoes grown in the ground. The vines don't have to be staked and the plant is shielded from soil-borne diseases that may infect traditionally grown tomatoes. Putting together an upside down tomato plant holder is simple.

Step 1

Place a 5-gallon plastic bucket on its lid. The bucket's bottom should have a circular indentation in the center of the base. Use this circular indentation as a guide. Place the spade bit into the drill, and drill a 3-inch hole into the center of the bucket's base.

Step 2

Turn the bucket back onto its base. Place the window screen mesh over the hole in the bottom of the bucket and fill with potting soil to the container's lip. Put the lid on the bucket and turn it back over. Cut an X shape into the window screen fabric with scissors.

Step 3

Water the soil until it is slightly damp. This will keep it from collapsing when you begin to hollow out a planting hole for your tomato. Scoop out a pocket of soil from the hole in the bottom of the bucket with an iced tea spoon. Strip the lower leaves from your tomato plant and free it from its seedling pot.

Step 4

Place the root ball of the tomato into the bucket through the planting hole. Plant the tomato deeply so that the top leaves are level with the opening in the bucket. The spot where you stripped off lower leaves will develop roots and anchor the plant into the soil better. When the tomato reaches maturity, this will keep the weight of the plant from pulling it out of the container.

Step 5

Continue to water the plant whenever the soil becomes dry to the touch and wait two weeks for the roots to develop. Soil should feel as damp as a wrung-out sponge.

Step 6

Lift the bucket and gently turn it over after the plant has developed a strong root system. Slip the handle into a support capable of holding the weight of a 5-gallon bucket filled with soil, water and a mature plant.

Step 7

Pull away the lid of your tomato plant and fill the top of the container with basil and marigold plants. These plants are companion plants that will chase away bugs from your tomatoes.

Tips and Warnings

  • The eaves of your home may not be suitable for growing tomatoes. Tomatoes need full sun to develop numerous fruits. The eaves of your home may shade the plants too much for this.

Things You'll Need

  • 5-gallon bucket with lid
  • Drill
  • Spade bit
  • 6-inch square of window screen fabric
  • Potting soil
  • Scissors
  • Tomato plant
  • Iced tea spoon
  • Marigold plants
  • Basil plants
  • Garden hose


  • Purdue University Department of Horticulture: Tomatoes
  • Iowa State University Extension: Upside Down Tomatoes
Keywords: topsey turvey tomatos, upside down tomato plants, growing tomatos upside down

About this Author

Tracy S. Morris has been a freelance writer since 2000. She has published two novels and numerous online articles. Her work has appeared in national magazines and newspapers, including "Ferrets," "CatFancy," "Lexington Herald Leader" and "The Tulsa World."