Go Green Upside Down Hanging Planters

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About: I am 51 and hail from sunny Southern California but originate from back east. I am a Web Designer by trade and own a small Web Design Service and a few online stores around the net and enjoy meeting folks...

Intro: Go Green Upside Down Hanging Planters

Remember when the Topsy Turvy Hanging Tomato Plant commercial seemed to run incessantly on T.V.? What it really amounted to was a plastic green bag with plastic rings at the top and bottom with a hole for the plant to go through and a hanger.

The concept is that it keeps plants off the ground away from pests and by hanging upside down the plants will naturally grow upward toward the sunlight. With the water flowing downward onto the plant itself it also gets moisture and nutrients onto its leaves, thus producing a hardier plant yield.

Here's a generic version that can be used for a variety plants, from tomato's, green beans or any vine type plant.

I use it to make a Hanging Herb Garden just outside my kitchen door for a year round supply of fresh herbs to cook with. Living in So Cal most growing can go year round but we occasionally get those too cold days and rather than let my herbs die it only takes a minute to grab them and stash then on hooks in the garage until the weather warms up.

This article was submitted to the Keep The Bottle Contest. Please consider giving it a vote and comment if you deem it worthy. Thank you.

Step 1: You Will Need:

To start your project you will need:

A young leafy plant, such a Tomato, Green Bean, Cucumber or your favorite Herb. I used Italian Parsley for this project.
A Two Liter Green Soda Bottle
A Hole Punch
A Roll of Duct Tape
Scissors and/or a sharp Knife
Enough soil to fill your bottle at least 3/4 full
A little Garden Mulch or Bark
Something sturdy to hang your planter with, such as twine, leather string, a cut coat hanger, etc.
A weather resistant hook to hang your planter on

Note: I had stated before that using a green bottle aids in photsynthesis, I stand corrected as you will find explained in the comments below by Dwygrshpr.

Step 2: Cut the Bottle

Cut the bottom portion off of the bottle.

Step 3: Wrap the Tape

Wrap a length of Duct Tape around the cut end with half of the tape above the cut.

This will add stability to your planter and prevent the plastic from stretching from the weight of the soil after it has been hung up.

Step 4: Fold Tape Inside

Cut a few slits in the portion of tape above the bottle and fold it to the inside of the bottle.

Step 5: Punch Holes

Punch four holes in your bottle as close to the center of the duct tape as possible

Step 6: Insert Your Plant

Insert your plant into the bottle and gently work the plant through the bottle opening.

Press the dirt ball up as far as it will go.

Step 7: Untangle Your Plant

Very gently untangle your plant and work it the rest of the way through the bottle opening.

Spread the root ball out inside the bottle to prevent your plant from becoming root bound.

Step 8: Fill the Bottle

Fill the bottle with soil to within 2 - 3 inches of the top.

I used the scoop I made in my earlier article Handy Go Green Scoopsto fill the bottle.

Step 9: Add a Hanger

Add whatever you choose to use for hanging your planter through the holes made in the Duct Tape.

Step 10: Hang and Water

Find a nice sunny spot to hang your planter and add water to soak the soil until it drips through the opening.

Cover the opening with some layers of cheesecloth, garden bark or mulch to help keep the soil moist and prevent rapid drying out of the soil.

Keep the Bottle Contest

Runner Up in the
Keep the Bottle Contest

2 People Made This Project!

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237 Discussions

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alh2014

3 years ago

Love the idea of using those 2 liter bottles! A little added trick I know of is to take the guts from cheapo preemie diapers and mix that in your potting soil. the polymers used to absorb wetness in the diaper will retain moisture in the soil without being soggy and encourage root growth.

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SP Riley

4 years ago on Introduction

I plan on doing this with this instructable:

https://www.instructables.com/id/Wire-Hanger-Bottle-Hanger/

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SkyKing101010

4 years ago on Step 10

Excellent! Thanks for posting this. This is a great way to get in some early planting if you start it indoors and hang them in windows. It'll be interesting to see how it works out. Thanks again.

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dana-dxb

7 years ago on Introduction

hi there
i was wondering how 2 stop the dripping from the nick of the bottle ???
and thanx a banch 4 sharing all those nice ideas
im making thees now so thanx

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milegrindana-dxb

Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

I put a little cotton wool around the base of the plants before gently pulling them through the bottom hole. Does not stop water dripping completely but slows it down (I try not to over-water causing excessive dripping) and prevent the soil leaking out with the water while the plants are still small.

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dana-dxbmilegrin

Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

thanx a big time for the reply i dont know way but no mater what i do my upside down plants dont survive!!!

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milegrin

5 years ago on Introduction

I sat down and figured this out after reading a news paper article about school children and their prize winning "Upside-Down-Tomatoe" experiment at a local science thing. The only 2 differences is I use a used 1Lt plastic yoghurt bucket and put a little cotton wool around the plant stem to prevent soil leakage and protect the plant while they still small (The plants almost fill the bottom hole once grown so soil leakage is not a problem then).

I grow my tomatoes out the bottom pretty much like you do (works brilliantly!!) and then plant herbs and similar vegetables in the top so I get a two-for-one deal :)

These planters are especially suited to "hanging gardens" in flats or similar residences with little or no garden.

I think the 2Lt bottle will work great for carrots in the top with tomatoes (or similar) out the bottom and will definitely try it with my next crop!

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abaneyone

5 years ago on Step 10

Excellent! For sure I will follow this! Thanks!!!

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kirnex

5 years ago on Introduction

Great instructable. So glad you shared it--I think it's going to inspire a lot of people to repurpose their plastic.

The one thing I'd definitely recommend is adding some sort of stabilizer for the plant's base. I've been doing this project for years with recycled containers, but the one thing I've discovered is that if you live anywhere with wind, your plants are still going to snap in a gust. (I've lost some beautiful tomato plants this way). I just anchor a bamboo stake into it through the top (I tie it off with twine), and tie my plants to it with an old nylon stocking.

The comment about allowing sunlight to the root area is a good one as well. Definitely also recommend somehow making the soil container opaque, in order to prevent algaenation in the soil.

Another tip I can offer (through years of experience making these planters) is to cover the top with mulch and/or pebbles. This will help to prevent water evaporation on hot days, and will thereby not only reduce the amount of watering you need to do, but also help ensure the plant stays healthy (microbially and otherwise).

I usually will do a 1 inch layer of mulch, then cover it with a 1/2 inch layer of baby pebble (river rock). This serves to:

1) provide a buffer between the plant's roots/soil and the rock on hot days (rock heats up quickly and can cause your plant's roots to burn)

2) keep the pH of the plant more acidic (mulch is slightly acidic), which is good for tomatoes (and also helps prevent fungal development) and

3) keep the mulch layer from blowing away.

Last thought: not all plants like to be upside down, obviously. It probably goes without saying that some plants will do better than others this way.

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busybea915

6 years ago on Introduction

THIS IS FAB.I ALWAYS HAVE PLASTIC BOTTLES LAYING AROUND.GREAT IDEA DEB.I WONDER IF IT WILL WORK WITH STRAWBERRIES.

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AstralQueen

9 years ago on Step 10

Thanks for this great idea! My herbs have been struggling to get enough sunlight - they've shared a square ceramic box with a mint plant, and my basil has been smothered to the point where they've began to die off. Now with this, they'll get enough sun and water. :D I even replanted things andorganized them properly so they all get enough space and water! Thanks again!

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lizspiceAstralQueen

Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

Mint is a very aggressive plant, it will take over your whole garden if you let it! Keep mint seperate in a container, your other plants will thank you! :)

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jcewazhere

7 years ago on Step 10

Could you plant another plant on the top of the planter? Grow out of the bottom and the top?

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Mirime

7 years ago on Introduction

Very interresting. But I do have a question, Instead of pop bottles could I use kitty litter jugs? They are about 14 lbs so 8in x 18in x 12in in size.

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Nick_Zouein

7 years ago on Introduction

What to do when the roots start growing upwards and out of the soil ?