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Make Your Own Topsy Turvy Tomato Planter

I hot compost and vermicompost (worms) to support gardening in my backyard. I have started growing hops (in Florida) to brew beer.


As seen on TV!

Topsy Turvy Tomato Planters have become quite popular recently. They started as an "As seen on TV" item and have spread tremendously. They don't require a plot of land like a normal garden, can be grown on your patio, and can maximize the space your garden already is using. You can hang them most anywhere. You no longer have to stake or otherwise support the heavy tomatoes your plant is producing. Topsy Turvy Tomato Planters are quite revolutionary, and work really well!


Unusable Plastic Container

Unusable Plastic Container

What you will need

A plastic planter. About a half gallon or bigger, depending on the size of your fully grown plant. Firm construction, not flimsy. The container to the right will not work!


A drill

1 drill bit about the same diameter as your cord/twine/string

1 drill bit about 1 inch diameter(optional)

1 small tomato plant

This one will work!

This is a good size for a larger plant.

This is a good size for a larger plant.

Why to use strong cordage.

I have found that the weakest link in this home made Topsy Turvy Planter is the cord. I've had multiple plants fall and get damaged, losing delicious tomatoes in the process, and slowing new growth as the plant recovers. Pick a good cord to use! Something that withstands sun, weather, and can hold significant weight. Paracord is super strong and resistant to the elements.



1. Use the 1 inch drill bit and drill to drill the plant hole in the bottom center of your pot. If you do not have a 1 inch drill bit, you can use the smaller drill bit to cut many smaller holes in the shape of your desired (larger) hole. Use a small hand saw, heavy scissors, or other cutting device to complete the hole.

2. Use the second(smaller) drill bit to drill a hole near the lip of your container. Be sure to leave some plastic around the lip, otherwise the planter will not be able to support the weight.

3. Drill another hole opposite the hole you drilled in step 2

4. Put one end of your cord through one of the holes you drilled near the lip, and tie a simple knot in the cord. Since the diameter of your cord and your drill bit are close, this knot should be larger than the hole you drilled, and support the weight of your plant.

5. Repeat step 4 with the opposite hole near the lip.

6. You now have a completed Topsy Turvy Planter!

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Ripe Tomato

Ripe Tomato

How to put your Tomato in the Planter

I found that it is easiest with smaller plants at first. Larger plants can easily become damaged when being placed through a 1 inch hole.

1. Start with a sprouted plant already in a container. You can grow these yourself, or even buy them at a local store or nursery.

2. Hold the plant in your dominant hand. Use your non-dominant hand to maneuver the completed pot over the plant.

3. Slowly maneuver the stem and leaves through your completed planter.

4. Hold both containers firmly together so that there is little movement of the soil, that way you will not damage the roots.

5. Flip both containers together, supporting the container now with your non-dominant hand.

6. Remove the container the tomato was originally planted in, if it is plastic or otherwise not biodegradable. Sometimes you can buy plants that were grown in formed containers that biodegrade. This makes it easier, does not disturb the root system, and has less waste overall.

7. Hang your Topsy Turvy Tomato

8. Fill your planter with soil. Make sure to leave room for water!

9. Water generously when first planted. Expect to get some dripping as the water makes its way through the planter. Don't put anything that can't get wet below the planter. I hang my planters over the rest of my garden.

The Epcot Greenhouse - from "Living with the Land"

Featuring alternative growing techniques. The "upside down" and supported plants can be seen at about 3 minutes and 30 seconds in.

Check out my tutorial on making a tomato tree planter.

The Originals

The originals planters sure are neat. I would have never thought of making my own Upside down tomato planter without seeing these. They look pretty nice too, but don't allow customization like when you make them yourself.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

What do you grow? Have you tried it up side down? - or just leave a comment!

GrammieOlivia on February 24, 2014:

Great for someone who is looking for more space to garden! Will move this over to our FB page too!

Shelly Sellers from Midwest U.S.A. on July 20, 2013:

We actually purchased a topsy turvy tomato plant and it seemed to work.

clevergirlname on June 11, 2013:

Good idea. We have our own upside-down Topsy Turvy but we need a few more - now we can make our own!


marktplaatsshop on June 11, 2013:

This is a nice lens, I will try to make one, thanks for sharing!

Devin Gustus (author) on June 04, 2013:

@flycatcherrr: Happy to help! Enjoying my tomatoes this year, hope yours go well! These upside down planters help keep bugs away too.

Thanks for stopping by!

flycatcherrr on June 04, 2013:

I've been looking at these upside-down planter things & trying to figure the best way to make my own - thanks!

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