How to Plant Hanging Upsidedown Tomatoes




Using hanging baskets instead of 5 gallon buckets, I will show you how to grow a hanging tomato plant. There are many instructions online to make hanging tomato plants out of 5 gallon buckets, but I think they are ugly (no offense meant). I had tomatoes in my ground garden last year, but i had a very hard time with tomato bugs. I also had cut throat bugs too. The best solution I could think of was to hand them :)

Step 1: Materials Needed

You will need the following materials:
-hanging coco basket with a hole in the bottom of the frame
-dirt (more on this later) I used peat moss, manure, and vermiculite
-something to hang it from (I used a Shepard's hook)
-and a tomato plant!!!!

The plant needs to be a baby plant, not one of those huge 1 gallon bucket plants.

Step 2: Cut the Hole

Using very large scissors, cut an "x" shaped hole in the bottom of the coco liner. This is harder them it looks, at least it is if you are female. Try to place the cut so that the basket will support it later if possible.

Step 3: Put the Plant in the Basket

Next you need to put the tomato plant in the hole. You can put it in plant first, or root first. This plant has a very small root ball, so I put it in root first. one other one I did had a much larger root ball, so I put it in plant first. When you plant tomatoes, put part of the stem int he dirt. I buried the first 2 leaves.

Step 4: Check the Placement of Your Tomato Plant

This step is very important!!!!! Check the placement of your tomato plant. Ensure the stem is not to close to the frame. As you can see my baskets have a cross in the frame under the coco liner. I also have ones with a circle hole with no cross. These with the cross work better. They prevent the cut from opening with the weight of the dirt and water.

Step 5: Hang It Up

Be Sure you hang it up now. Do not lay it on the ground or you will smash the baby tomato plant.

Step 6: Mix the Dirt

Next you can mix your dirt. I do Square Foot Gardening, so I used that mix recipe:
1/3 Vermiculite
1/3 Peat Moss
1/3 Compost or manure

Step 7: Fill the Basket

Fill the basket with your dirt. Be sure to support your tomato stem and root ball by building up the dirt around the plant. Once the plant is supported, fill the rest up. I found it easy to hang the dirt container up next to the basket, that is what the last 2 pictures are showing.

Step 8: Plant the Top of Basket, If You Want

This step is optional.
I planted peas in the top of my pot to help as the tomatoes are growing, these will die as soon as it warms up much. I pushed the peas under the surface after I took the pictures.

Step 9: Be Sure to Water.

Water your tomato plants every day as they will dry out faster. I placed 3 of mine near the front door so I will see them and remember.



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    144 Discussions


    3 years ago on Introduction

    Hi Zoe

    Thank you for useful article. Tomato juice is my favorite drink and I have tried to plant a small garden of tomatoes. But this tomato juice is not sweet. As you know, I live in Vietnam, the high temperature of 30 to 40 degrees. Please give me some tips for growing tomatoes in this temperature.

    3 replies

    Reply 2 years ago

    Correct me if I am wrong, tomatoes are not sweet, its as vegetable, so don't expect it to be sweet as a fruit. I am from India and the temps are almost the same


    Reply 1 year ago

    Sure, I'll correct you. Tomatoes are a fruit. Although that is a technical distinction, tomatoes were first used as a dessert fruit, and only within the past 100 to 130 years started being used in salads etc. My own grandfather used to grow beautiful sweet tomatoes, and we ate them with sugar and cream. We now use them as a vegetable far more than as a fruit, and many varieties now are not very sweet. If you want sweet varieties, many of the 'cherry tomatoes' are sweet. Also old heirloom varieties such as Grosse Lisse are sweeter than modern hybrids.

    A fruit or vegetable is determined by what part of the plant it is.

    So tomatoes, chillies, and even drumsticks are fruits.


    Reply 3 years ago

    just let the tomatoes ripen fully, then cook for an hour with a little salt and sugar. will be very nice


    2 years ago

    Any alternative to coir baskets? Can palm leaf baskets be used?

    Razor 911

    3 years ago

    this is so cool i heard of people planting them up side down but could never quite figure it out thanks for the picks and advice


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Other than space-saving (and avoiding land-based bugs), what is the advantage of growing the tomato plants upside-down? Also, have you had difficulty with any tomatoes falling off the plant as the ripen and gain weight? Also, what types of tomato plants are especially or not good (i.e., climbing vs. bush/patio types). Thanks, MMZ

    13 replies

    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    MMZ and others: Yes, it is my understanding that bush (determinate) tomato plants are better suited for upside down planting than vining (indeterminate) tomatoes. The reason being that vining tomatoes put more energy into growing plant than fruit and will spread as far as possible. Hence, if your planter is say, four feet off the ground and the plant wants to grow twenty feet, you will be walking on your plants on the ground, patio unless you continually raise the planter to accommodate. Haven't tried this myself yet, just my 2c.


    Reply 3 years ago

    I'm going to try wiring a cage to the planter which would be easy to do since it's also made of wire. First if you're worried about the looks, I would spray paint the cage to match the planter. After it dries fit it under the planter and bend up the ends. Next I would add my plant, soil etc. This way as the plant grows you can manipulate the branches through the cage so it doesn't grow so wild looking. Most importantly, it will stabilize the plant. Also, it would help when planting because the tomato plant wouldn't get smashed. Later as the plant grows you can manipulate the branches through the cage wires. Then you'll be able to prune the plant as needed so it doesn't waste its energy growing the plant instead of growing the fruit.
    I always prune my vining (indeterminate) plants that are planted inground too. This is just my idea. When I do it I can post photos.


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    I agree with goatgirly and slezridr, they are better in the ground. Since I live in an upstairs apartment, I got Early Girl, which is shade tolerant. I found a spot where the plant can hang out of the way and found it gets more sun on my porch than the last one I grew in a bucket. I will send pics if/when it succeeds.


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    I don't really think it works. It looks cool and maybe it keeps the fruit from rotting but, the planter shades the plant too much and any fertilizer just runs down when you water it and can cause the poisonous fertilizer to get on your tomato. Even if you wash it the fertilizer could still be there. It's not really a good idea for anyone unless you live in an apartment and just want to grow it on your porch. If you can grow it in the ground you should.


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    actually, it does work! You need full sun like you would with a normally planted tomato. I just didn't over water or over fertilize and my kids loved eating cherry tomatoes all summer long.


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    Alright, maybe it works for other people but i planted 5 tomato plants in the ground last year and was OVERRUN with tomatoes so, I'm not changing. I canned them, used them for chili sauce and soups, froze them, gave them away, put them in salads and sandwhiches, and even entered some in the fair.


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    One vote for growing upside down is that the plant gets to spend more of its energy on growing tomatoes than growing strong to hold itself upright


    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    OK, here's a rebuttal.

    1. You "think" it doesn't really work. The author is proving it *does* work. You're wrong.

    2. The leaves will grow to reach more light. At first they'll have direct light until late morning and after early afternoon, but will quickly grow out to follow the light, and have it day-long.

    3. Fertilizer isn't a deadly, deadly poison.

    4. If fertilizer runs down when you water it, it's highly water-soluble, and washes off easily.

    5. If fertilizer runs down when you water it, you're overwatering.

    6. "You should" is a controlling statement. Don't be like that.

    Works nice..Space issue....Ground is good..or hanging..poisonous...Well what do you grow it in? that's your choice=)


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    this method stops the bunnies from eating them.