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)
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.
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