How to Grow Upside Down Tomatoes

Newly Planted Upside Down Tomatoes

These planters are designed just for growing plants upside down! It’s very cool and great for small space gardening because they don’t take up any ground area at all.

They are commonly used for tomatoes and peppers but also can be used for cucumbers, squash and others too.

Tomatoes are easy and hard to grow at the same time. They are a bit fussy but if you keep a few rules and methods in mind then you should do just fine. 

                 Do                   Don’t
Give tomatoes warmth and shelter Place pots or plant tomatoes under trees 
Protect tomatoes from slugs and bugs      Forget organic pesticide or molluscicide*
Feed them good organic fertilizer Starve your tomatoes, they grow fast
Water carefully Splash soil up onto the leaves when watering
Water consistently Let them dry out and then over water

*Molluscicide is a pest killer made specifically for slugs and snails

The Upside Down Planter

This is a brilliantly simple invention for growing tomato plants easily while using no ground space at all. You just need a good strong hook to secure it up above. 

If you have a sun-facing wall that’s painted white and sheltered from the wind, that’s the perfect spot for the tomato hanger. It’s warm, sheltered and sunny, just what tomatoes love.

Keep the branches of the plant dry and have consistently damp but not very wet soil.

How to Hang Them

The hanging system that you choose must be very strong and made specifically for this job.

Heavy Duty Zinc Screw HookScrew long hooks into the side of your house or screw a thick plank of wood to the house and then the hook get screwed in to that. See the next section.

Use a screw in bolt like this one. They should be about 4″ long with the threads going along half way.

Newly Planted Upside down Tomatoes

The top priority is to secure the hooks properly and ensure that it’s strong enough to hold the total weight of a large plant, soil and the harvest all together.

Plan ahead for 100 pounds or more on the hook. You won’t be able to move or improve your system once the plant has begun to grow.

It will get very large and unmanageable with many branches. It gets very heavy, very quickly.

The system that you see in these pictures is very strong. It’s a 2 x 6 x 12 plank fastened to the side of the house with several 6″ galvanized twist nails placed 12″ apart along the entire length.

The hooks themselves are solid steel, 4″ long with 2″ of thread and are capable of holding 125 lbs each. Those are screwed into the 2 x 6 and into the house as well. That will be strong enough to hold the plant and planter for the whole season.

Maturing Hanging Tomatoes

Watering is very important and the amount of it required will be variable depending on the weather mostly.

When it’s a bit rainy and damp outside the tomatoes might not need much water.

As the weather turns warmer then you need to increase the watering schedule.

When the weather is hot, you might need to water your plants twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening

This will give the plants consistent water that is required for healthy growth and will help to prevent the fruit from splitting.

Usually, the fruit will split due the the surges of water from inconsistent watering. This happens because the skin does’t have time to stretch to accommodate the rapidly expanding fruit inside as it absorbs the rush of water, so the skin splits.

FertilizerDr Earth 4LB Tomato Vegetable Fertilizer

I recommend feeding the plants twice during the growing season. Once when you plant them originally and then once about a month later after the plants have had a chance to get established.

This will ensure your plants have the lasting nutrients they need to sustain their rapid growth and fruit production throughout the summer season.

Huge Hanging TomatoesI prefer to use organic fertilizers. My favourite so far is the organic Tomato and Vegetable fertilizer from Dr. Earth.

Also, seaweed and fish fertilizers like this one are great too. They are very smelly but the plants love it.

As the plant grows it’s good to lay a little straw on the soil underneath so the ripening fruit stays off the soil. If the young fruit sit on the soil the bottom will rot.

Tomato Plant Types

Let’s start with Determinate and Indeterminate. These are the two major categories of tomato plants, separated by their individual growth habits.  

Determinate means that the plant grows to it’s expected height (usually around 3′ tall), then stops sets fruit and then spends all of its energy ripening the fruit rather than growing more branches. Determinate plants are recommended for cold climates or short growing seasons where all the fruit needs to be harvested within a short time. Determinate tomato plants are sometimes referred to as “Cordon” tomato plants.

Indeterminate means that the plant grows and continues to make new branches and set fruit continuously until the season ends and the plant is killed by the winter temperatures setting in. These plants need a staking or caging system to help them stay supported under the weight of the fruit. Indeterminate tomato plants are sometimes referred to as “bush” tomato plants.

Tomato Plant Varieties

These links below are all to sets of young live tomato plants that you can order. These are not seeds.

These young plants will have a much greater head start on growth and the upcoming fruit production over starting seeds. It’s also much easier for a beginner to start with a young plant than with seeds.

All of the varieties listed below are Organic, Heirloom and Non-GMO.

Brandywine – Indeterminate – Cold Hardy – Fruit Size 1-2 lbs – 80-90 Days to Harvest
Sweet Millions Red Cherry – Indeterminate – Fruit Size: thumb tip to golf ball – 65 Days to Harvest
Yellow Pear Tomato – Indeterminate – Fruit Size: thumb tip to golf ball – 78 Days to Harvest
Black Krim – Indeterminate – Fruit Size: 8 – 12 oz. – 69 Days to Harvest
Cherokee Purple – Indeterminate – Fruit Size: 10-12 oz. – 80 – 90 Days to Harvest

Snow White Cherry – Indeterminate – Fruit Size: 1″ – 2″ – 68 Days to Harvest
Caspian Pink – Indeterminate – Cool weather suitable – Fruit Size: 10-12 oz. – 80 Days to Harvest
German Green Beefsteak – Indeterminate – Fruit Size: 12-16 oz. – 80 Days to Harvest
Great White Beefsteak – Indeterminate – Fruit Size: Large – 85 Days to Harvest
Rare Blue – Indeterminate – Fruit Size: Medium to Large – 80 – 90 Days to Harvest

Sungella Sungold – Indeterminate – Fruit Size: Golf ball – 74 Days to Harvest
San Marzano – Indeterminate – Fruit Size: Large, pear shaped 5″ long – 90 Days to Harvest
Hawaiian Pineapple Beefsteak– Indeterminate – Fruit Size: up to 2lbs – 80 Days to Harvest
Pink Lady – Indeterminate – Fruit Size: 3″ – 4″ – Very Early, 54 Days to Harvest
Watermelon Beefsteak – Indeterminate – Fruit Size: up to 2lbs – 85 Days to Maturity

Stupice – Determinate – Fruit Size: 2-3 oz. – Cold Tolerant – 52 Days to Harvest
Roma/Plum – Determinate – Fruit Size: 2-4 oz. – 70-80 Days to Harvest
Black Sea Man Tomato – Determinate – Fruit Size: Medium – 75 Days to Harvest
Tumbling Tom Yellow Cherry – Determinate – Fruit Size: 1″ – 2″ – 70 Days to Harvest
Patio Tomato – Determinate – Great for Containers – Fruit Size 8 – 12oz. – 70 Days to Harvest

I hope you have a ton of fun growing hundreds of delicious tomatoes of all sizes, shapes and colours!

How do you grow your tomatoes? Upside down or right side up? Tell me how you do it.
Please leave a comment below!

Browse Unique Gift Ideas for Gardeners Here


You may also like...

One thought on “How to Grow Upside Down Tomatoes

  1. Jolie

    December 21, 2014 at 12:37am

    This is fantastic!! I love growing tomatoes but they always take a fair bit of space in the garden bed. I’ve never come across this idea of upside down planting before but it looks great, I’m going to try this soon!

    Permalink  ⋅ Reply
    • Stacy

      December 21, 2014 at 8:40am

      I’m happy you’re going to try the upside down idea! It really is easier in a lot of ways and an almost maintenance free way to grow them.
      Taking them out of the garden bed frees up so much space, it allows you to grow so much more. Happy planting, let me kow how it goes for you in the spring.

      Permalink  ⋅ Reply

Your email will not be published. Name and Email fields are required