Matt's Original Inverted Planter A.k.a IPlanter.

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Introduction: Matt's Original Inverted Planter A.k.a IPlanter.


Step 1: Why.

The logical choice for my indoor gardening is 1: container and 2: hanging. So after doing a few searches on the net I had come across a few options. There were of course the usual hanging planters that are really nothing more than a regular pot with strings tied to a ceiling hook. These really didn't appeal to me due to previous experiences where the water flowed down through the soil and filled the overflow basin at the bottom. Another option is hanging inverted planters which have been around for a very long time. Some in a much older design made from terra cotta in a traditional Mexican style and a newer one made of plastic that had internal foam spacers for dirt/water containment.
This naturally put my mind into make it myself mode. Whenever I get one of my project ideas. I start drawing different options in paint. I wanted it to be a conical-type container for water retention purposes. After drawing a few designs the one I decide on was to use a inverted 2 liter soda bottle with a few modifications to make it better suited for planter use.

Step 2: What.

You will need
1- two or three liter soda bottle.
4- equal lengths of string.
1- hook to hang it from.
1- piece of plastic wrap. (used to cover the opening at the bottom of the planter)
soil
A metal tool such as a pliers or locking pliers.
A scissors, dremel or other cutting tool.
A vine variety plant. Tomato, bean etc.
A heat gun. I purchased mine a while back at Harbor Freight for $10. It also works great for thawing pipes.

So without further rambling here we go.

Arrange your parts and supplies on a level surface in an area where you will be able to hang the planter from to fill it with soil. (Basements are a great place.)

Step 3: Melty

Stand the soda bottle upright and heat around the perimeter of the mouth slightly above where the cone portion begins.

Step 4: Push It.

Next push down on the bottle mouth using the pliers, I find it works best to heat on a low setting while pushing down as you will see in these next two pictures. Be careful not to get too close to the plastic or stay in one spot as it will melt a hole completely through the bottle.

Step 5: Now What?

Here is the bottle with the mouth pushed inward. I forgot to remove the cap ring before I started so I had to carefully cut it off afterward. Big Surprise! It's easier before it is pushed in and surrounded by hot plastic.

Step 6: Cut.

Then I cut the original bottom off the bottle using my dremel with a cutting wheel. I prefer the dremel because it is fast and it melts the edges slightly so they are not sharp. You can do the same or use whatever cutting tool you have at your disposal.

Step 7: Punch.

Next come the three holes at what is now the top of the planter. Space them evenly and tie three of the four strings in each hole and then tie the three together at the opposite end.

Step 8: Ready, Set, Plant!

Here it is, ready for a plant and soil.

Step 9: Make Sure That Only the Plant Gets Water, Not Your Floor!

I took this picture to demonstrate how the water can sit in the bottom of the planter for the roots to soak up. With this method, the chance of leaks are virtually non-existent providing you don't get crazy with the watering.

Step 10: Traumatize Your Plant.

Next separate the plant roots from the soil and gently push the roots into the bottom of the planter. At this point I hung the planter from basement ceiling after I tied the fourth string to the knot of the other three. This makes it much easier to fill.

Step 11: Wrap It Up.

Hold the plant in place, push the root ball off to the side from the inside of the planter. Then cover the opening with the small piece of plastic wrap. You do not need to wrap it tight in the area around the roots, just the rest of the opening where there are no roots, the weight of the soil will hold it all in place.

Step 12: Top It Off.

Fill to the top with soil.

Step 13: Hang the Thing Already.

Hang from the hook on the ceiling or other strong support in a well lit location and water. You will see some water run down the sides. No need to over water. Keep in mind that the first few days to a week the plant will be in shock from the transplant. Once it establishes a strong root network it will thrive.

Step 14: Success.

Here are my three IPlanters in my bay window. From left: ITomato 1, ITomato 2, and the first IBean.

Step 15: Look Up, See Green.

This last one is a shot looking up underneath the planter I made.

You have unlimited creative options that other inverted planter makers have come up with such as covering the outside with decorative cloth or paint. Using other larger containers such as buckets, bags or jugs. This is my method which you can use as a reference or starting point. A few people have expressed concern about sun damage to the roots. I never experienced that, the only thing that did happen is some of the roots on the outside actually started growing leaves! Again, you could use an opaque container, cover it with something or paint it to prevent this. I didn't because I thought it looked cool being able to see the roots.

If you like my Instructable please vote, I need the encouragement to write more!

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    97 Comments

    IF YOU CAN FIND ARROWHEAD WATER THEY HAVE A 3 LITER WATER JUG THAT SAVES THE STEPS OF MELTING WITH MINIMAL EFFORT :)

    1 reply

    A larger bottle will certainly produce larger happier plants. There are also a few generic brand 3 liter soda bottles out there.

    I've been reading on and on about hanging tomatoes & other various garden ideas, trying to find the best option for my situation. I have to say that your Instructable was the best yet. Not only is it a great idea, but it was an entertaining read as well, complete with easy-to-follow instructions and random humor! I loved it; thanks so much for sharing!

    1 reply

    Thanks for the kind comments, happy planting!

    Cool concept. I've been using soda bottles as planters for a while myself. One thing I've learned is if you use the green plastic, you don't have to worry about algae or root burn inside the bottle. I also use an old soldering iron to cut the plastic. Make sure you do it outside in a well ventilated area, fumes are toxic..

    Also if you cut a smaller hole in the bottom of the bottle (now the top) you keep the ribs which would give you more structural stability and you can put the rope at the ends of the ribs in the plastic.

    1 reply

    Green bottles work great. Of course you can paint as well. Your suggestion of cutting a smaller section off is a good one.

    Seriously cool!
    Bought a topsy-turvy planter, only lasted one season! Too much to try again!
    Can use a hairdryer, as I use for embossing and it works!
    Will send pics if plants survive!

    Very nice project, I will make one with my kids to plant tomatos. Thanks for sharing it.

    This is a great and unique idea

    Great job. I was just shopping today for a decent hanging planter that doesn't leak on the floor.

    Finally! A way to have houseplants my cat can't tear out! Thank you! :)

    thanks for inspiring me, this is one of answer of urban agriculture technique.
    I'll try to develop it.

    hey, does this method work with all plants or just some? because i know many different plants have their roots which grow towards gravity, and the plant which defies gravity. does the inverted thing trick it? >:3 im decent with plants. but my specialty is electronics and being a redneck(what would the world be like without em). so please excuse the sillyness of my question :P

    I use this kind of planter to plant my cat's cat nip. This way, he can't knock the pots over and roll around in the crushed leaves and dirt and then later on sleep on my bed with clean sheets leaving dirt marks and soil all over the place. :D

    1 reply

    Sounds like some parties I attended in the 70's!

    you just HAVE to mess with the order of things, don't you....

    1 reply

    Yes. I have two tomatoes hanging off each end of my clothes line poles right now as a matter of fact.

    Thanks for the tutorial but I'm wondering why people use this technique: because of lack of space?
    thanks