If you want to grow many popular garden plants including vegetables, fruits, and herbs but don’t have the room, upside down gardening might be the answer for you! The gardening trick is exactly what it sounds like: A way to grow your plants upside down. Essentially, you place plants in a hanging planter with the stalk coming out of the bottom hole.
Growing your plants upside down boasts many benefits, like ample water and air circulation. Learn all about why this approach might be the right choice for you, as well as different plants that will work using this method.
About Upside Down Gardening
Upside down gardening makes it easy to grow plants in smaller spaces. The planters are hanging, meaning you can free up ground space and make use of vertical space you might not otherwise notice. It also keeps the plants away from ground soil where pests hide and easily damage plants.
On top of that, there are fewer weeds, if any. By change your hanging plants get an unwanted visitor, they’re easier to remove. Gravity also means that nutrients and water get to the plants easier, while the plants get more sunlight exposure and better air circulation.
To grow plants upside down, you’ll need a pot specifically designed for upside down planting with a hole in the bottom. You can also use a large bucket (3 to 5 gallons) with a 2-inch hole drilled in the bottom. Alternatively, you can use commercially sold long grow bags with planting holes cut into the sides. These options work for a variety of different plants.
Then, place your plant into the container upside down and gently pull the stems through the holes. Top with well-draining soil and follow the care directions for each plant as outlined below.
Tomatoes a popular plant to grow upside down. To care for the tomatoes, keep the planter in bright sunlight and water when the top inch of soil is dry. Prune the plant regularly, removing dead vines and leaves, as well as weak stems to help the plant grow juicer, healthier fruit.
Large, determinate (bushy) tomato varieties can weigh the planter down and the fruits may fall off the stem before they are mature. Avoid large tomato varieties and instead opt for indeterminate (vining) varieties with small fruits like cherry, grape, and Roma.
You can also grow various pepper varieties upside down. Small fruit varieties, such as jalapenos, habaneros, and cayenne, work best since the planter won’t need to bear too much weight. Though there are lots of different peppers to choose from, care is generally the same.
Peppers prefer at least six hours of direct sunlight per day, liquid fertilizer when they develop buds, and regular watering to keep the soil moist. Don’t forget to prune and overwinter the peppers so you can enjoy them again next year!
If you don’t have space on your kitchen windowsill but want constant, year-round access to herbs, try growing them from a hanging upside down container! Since herbs have a shallow root system, they grow easily in a small area such as a container.
You can choose a variety for a unique herb garden or stick to the classics like basil, rosemary, and thyme. In general, herbs need fertile, well-draining soil and lots of sunlight.
Pro Tip: Plant herbs on top of plants in upside down containers as companion plants. A good duo is tomato plants and basil!
If you want to add a little vertical color to your garden, try growing marigolds upside down! They prefer plenty of sunlight and good drainage and cannot tolerate any frost, so it is best to keep them somewhere nice and warm. Add organic fertilizer or compost into the soil prior to planting for beautiful blooms.
Pro Tip: Marigolds are edible flowers. You can eat marigold petals, but the signet marigolds are known to be the most delicious. You can add them to soups and salads, but cheesy dishes will really bring out their savory flavor!
Beans, beans, the wonderful fruit! These are another scrumptious vegetable you can grow upside down, replacing the need for a trellis. This is ideal for climbing beans, also known as pole beans, which includes ‘Kentucky Wonder,’ ‘Scarlet Runner Bean,’ and ‘Climbing French Bean.’
You can grow a high yield of beans in a sunny spot with well-draining soil. They also prefer fertile soil, so mix in some compost before planting. Keep them well-watered, especially when they begin to flower, ensuring the soil remains moist.
Ever-bearing or day-neutral varieties of strawberries produce fruits all throughout the season, ideal for planting in an upside down container. June-bearing types may produce too much fruit at once, which could be too much weight for the hanging planter.
The plants dry out quickly, so it is important to water regularly – even daily – to keep the soil moist. Don’t forget to fertilize the strawberries when you plant them and give them plenty of sunlight.
The Upside of Upside Down Gardening
Whether you’re cramped for space or simply want to see things from a new angle, upside down garden is an easy and effective method. It also prevents pests and efficiently delivers water and nutrients. With that said, it only works for vining plants so it is important to do your research before you begin gardening!
Do you know of any other plants that work well in upside down gardens? Share in the comments below!