What is an Upside Down Tomato?

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  • Written By: J.S. Metzker Erdemir
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 26 September 2019
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An upside down tomato is a tomato plant that is grown in a hanging container, where the plant grows out of the bottom of the container instead of the top. Growing an upside down tomato plant is a way to maximize limited gardening space. The plant saves space because the it's sprawling growth is downwards, and other plants or flowers can be grown normally in the top of the container.

Tomatoes are an annual plant, which makes it possible to grow them upside down. Because they only live for one season, any negative effects of the unnatural situation don't have a chance to manifest themselves. Growing an upside down tomato in a very sunny place may actually allow it to get more sunlight, as the plant won't shade itself out as it grows.

Vining or spreading varieties of tomatoes that might be too large for a small garden can be grown in a small space hanging upside down. Additionally, there is no need to trellis or stake an inverted plant, and the vines don't have to be trained or pruned. The inverted container also adds space to a small garden because the top may also be used to grow other things, particularly plants such as basil, chives, or marigolds that benefit tomato plants and grow well alongside them.


To make an upside down tomato planter, use a large bucket. The container should hold three to five gallons (11-19 liters) of soil. The bucket should have a lid, and a handle to hang the the container from. With a hole saw — the attachment used on a drill to make holes for doorknobs — make a hole in the bottom of the container. Cover the hole with a piece of landscaping fabric.

Turn the bucket right-side up and fill it with rich, light potting soil. Place the lid on securely and turn it upside down. Make a slit in the coffee filter or landscaping fabric and plant the tomato seedling or seeds. For seeds, the bucket should not be hung upside down until the seeds have germinated and become established, usually when they have two sets of true leaves. Seedlings should not be hung for a couple of days to give them a chance to recover from the shock of transplanting.

Hang the bucket from a sturdy hook or plant hanger. Remove the lid to water the plant, or to plant other seeds or seedlings in the top.



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