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» How to Grow Hanging Tomato Plants

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Cherry tomatoes are a great variety for growing upside down in hanging containers.
Cherry tomatoes are a great variety for growing upside down in hanging containers.
If you don’t have room for a garden but you want to grow some awesome tomato plants, you can make space in almost any outdoor place that gets sunlight and has room to hang a potted tomato plant!

Nothing is as tasty and fresh as home grown fresh tomatoes and you’ll enjoy ripe fruit from late spring through fall if you plant your hanging tomato plants in early spring.

Some people even claim that growing tomatoes “upside down” yields more fruit than planting tomato plants in a garden.

Read on to learn how to grow your own hanging tomato plants; it’s a quick and simple do-it-yourself project from which you’ll enjoy the fruits of your hour’s labor all summer long!

What You Need:

    A five gallon bucket with a hole in the bottom and some cord to hang is all you need to grow upside down tomato plants!
    A five gallon bucket with a hole in the bottom and some cord to hang is all you need to grow upside down tomato plants!

  • Five gallon bucket purchased at your home and garden center
  • Soil with the correct vitamins additives recommended for growing tomatoes (you will need one 40 pound bag of soil for each plant)
  • Tomato seedling (preferably a smaller variety of fruit like Roma)
  • Several feet of 1/8 inch cord
  • Utility knife

Instructions for Hanging Upside Down Tomato Plants:

  1. You can purchase your empty five gallon bucket at any home and garden center. A green bucket will be less ugly than the orange or white ones or you can paint your bucket whatever color you like. Be sure the inside of the bucket is clean, using warm water and mild dishwashing soap and then rinsing it well.
  2. Next, cut a hole about two to three inches in diameter in the center of the bottom with your utility knife.
  3. Lay several layers of newspaper in the bottom of the bucket and cut a small slit in the newspaper through the hole in the bucket; this will help hold the seedling in place when you initially hang the bucket.
  4. Drill four small holes evenly around the top edge of the bucket to attach your cord. You will want to measure the distance from the hook or other point you will hang the bucket from. Cut four lengths of cord and tie one end of each piece to each of the four holes.
  5. Turn the bucket on its side and carefully remove your tomato seedling from the container it came in and thread it through the slit in the newspaper so that the stem protrudes through the hole in the bucket and the roots are inside the bucket.
  6. Fill the bucket with the potting soil, which you can purchase along with your bucket at any home and garden center or local nursery; be sure it contains the right vitamin additives suggested for tomatoes. Be gentle to your seedling and try to allow it to protrude about three inches out of the hole in the bottom of your bucket.
  7. Cut several holes in the lid and place the lid on the bucket, taking care you do not harm your seedling in the process!
  8. After hanging for 75 days, your hanging tomato plant should be full and flowering and soon be ready to produce delicious, fresh tomato fruit.
    After hanging for 75 days, your hanging tomato plant should be full and flowering and soon be ready to produce delicious, fresh tomato fruit.

  9. Now you are ready to hang your bucket in a sunny place with plenty of room below for your tomato plant to grow down. Tomatoes need a lot of sun so do not hang it in a predominately shady spot; it should get direct sunlight at least fifty percent of the day.
  10. Keep your upside down tomato plant well watered and in about 50 to 75 days you should begin to see flowers and not long after you will have tomatoes. Let your tomatoes ripen on the vine and pick them as they become red and firm and ready to eat!

Hanging Tomato Plant Tips:

  • Plant tomatoes such as cherry or Roma varieties that have smaller fruit, which do best with the upside down hanging tomato growing method.
  • If you don’t like the look of a five gallon bucket, you can also purchase planters specifically made for hanging tomatoes.
  • Be sure to pick a solid place and use a good strong hook or other means from which to hang your tomato plants; each planter will weigh between 35 and 40 pounds.
  • Plant your hanging tomato plants in spring (between late April and early June depending on how far north you are located) so that you can enjoy fresh tomatoes all through the growing season.

Comments

77 comments
  1. krista
    April 25, 2010

    Never, ever, ever, EVER spritz your tomato plants, Chris. Tomatoes HATE to be wet, they are extremely susceptible to blight and other diseases and moisture guarantees your plants will get sick. Tomatoes always need to stay dry and be watered at ground level ONLY. They need protection in wet climates by using a hoop house or other plastic cover. They also need lots of space for good air circulation which also ensures the plants will stay dry. I like to sink a tin can (with both ends removed) beside each tomato plant when growing in the ground, then water in the can so that water and/or fertilizer can go directly to the deeper roots. I am trying this hanging plant method for the first time this year and am so curious to see how it turns out! I love your photos but wish that I could see how the plants hold up when in full fruit. Do the branches break at all under the pressure? I guess if they can handle the weight when growing in the ground, why would hanging in a bucket be any different. At any rate, I’m excited to give this a go! Thanks for the info!

    Leave a reply
  2. Kelly
    May 1, 2010

    FYI to anyone that wants an asthetically appealing hanging tomato plant! Use those hanging baskets that are made out of coconut fiber, and cut a hole in the bottom. Stick the plant through (the hardest part!) and then fill the basket with dirt and you can even plant a short rooted flower on top so you have two great looking plants- growing out the top and the bottom!
    Here are a couple pictures of how mine turned out. I did this last year as a mother’s day gift for my mom, and saw how amazing it turned out in the end and how many tomatoes it produced- I had to do it for myself this year! And two of course!

    http://i29.photobucket.com/albums/c280/1948dodgegirl/P3270402.jpg

    http://i29.photobucket.com/albums/c280/1948dodgegirl/P3270403.jpg

    Leave a reply
  3. Sharon
    May 19, 2010

    Enter Your CommentAnyone have any idea what to do when the plants hung yupside down start growing for the sky?

    Leave a reply
  4. Upside Down Gardening: Make Your Own Hanging Tomato Planter » After Hours Inspiration
    May 25, 2010

    […] Here are simple instructions for making your own Hanging Tomato Planters. […]

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  5. Bill in Arizona
    June 13, 2010

    Enter Your Comment My plants flourished and have produced dozens of fruit. Now, however, while there is still fruit, the leaves have become brown and crisp, dead. I pulled them off early, but now most of the leaves have turned. The fruit is still ripening but no new blossoms are coming on.
    What can I do?

    Leave a reply
  6. KM
    June 21, 2010

    Don’t know waht went wrong. set a store bought unit as directed using good bought soil, tomato plant enhancer and what looked to be a strong seeding. It immediately witlted and has now all turned brown. looks terrible. Is this a shock phase. I keep watering with a gallon of water twice daily but doesnt seem to help. about 4 days now.

    Leave a reply
  7. JEAN ROBLES
    July 14, 2010

    Enter Your Comment I THINK I HAVE THE SAME PROBLEM, MY LEAVES ARE TURNING YELLOW AND DRYING UP. THE SAID IT WAS A NEED FOR NITROGON AND AGAIN BE CAREFUL NOT TO OVER FERTILIZE. SO DO YOU THINK MAYBE PART OF THE PROBLEM MAYBE LACK OF WATER?

    Leave a reply
  8. WAYNE
    August 3, 2010

    I’m growing mine in 3 gallon containers mine are also growing upward maybe I can put some weights on them. Next time I do this I will put them closer to the edge.

    Leave a reply
  9. hippo
    August 5, 2010

    omg this is the best idea eva , u r the best bru keep rockin on bro !!!, lavv ya xxxxxxxxx

    Leave a reply
  10. Alice
    August 6, 2010

    I am in Denver. My large hanging tomato plant has 12 bunches of yellow blooming flowers or small tomatoes. It is in a commercial plastic container… probably a 3 gallon container. I planted it in mid-June. I water it (about a quart) daily but it seems to look wilted nearly every day. One of the tomatoes had 3 black spots on the bottom. I thought it might be a worm. It wasn’t. I have read that the black spots might be caused by too much water. So what should I do? I would appreciate advice. Thanks.

    Leave a reply
  11. Paul S of BGM
    August 8, 2010

    I am not a gardner but, in retirement I decided to try growing upside down tomatoes today. Got a fully grown plant with a couple of tomatoes and a few buds on it, hung in the sunniest place I have which is about 50%. I am in Zone 6 , typical northern winter. Put about a tablespoon of miracle gro and half filled one of the planters , the other planter (with growing tomatos) was purchased already. filled up.
    I intend to keep them going beyond the usual cooling dates of mid September. IF the weather gets below 40 degrees, I will put a grow lamp above the plants to go on whenver the temp falls that low. I put a gallon of water in each planter but very unsure of how to ascertain when it needs more water., I could make an automnatic water feeder device but not knowlegeable enough to know how much such plants should get

    So I invested a bit of cash and hoping my lamp will allow the plant to survive longe than usual — all to get that fresh tomato taste.
    Thahnks for any advice you can offer this relative neophyte!!
    Paul of Binghamton, NY

    Leave a reply
  12. Enter Your Name vonn
    August 16, 2010

    Enter Your Comment well after a very dry and disheartening year last year I thought I would try again this year with the hanging tomato plants.. having same problem as last.. the tops near the stems are cracking… what am I doing wrong.. watering everyday and feeding once week.. thanks for any assistance

    Leave a reply
  13. somayeh
    October 2, 2010

    can we buy it? and where can i buy and call ?

    Leave a reply
  14. kent
    December 21, 2010

    hello everyone….. am sorry to say that this method was made up to sell peps those upside down hanging basket … things. save your self the heartache and plant the right way in the ground… raised beds…. containers … pots anything but upside down it just doesnt work. its hard on the stems.. water is forced down the stem cus of gravity ….. there you go! kent the green thumber

    Leave a reply
  15. Nancy L. Sparks
    April 12, 2011

    Yes,I used Regular Basket Flower pots The kind with the stuff in them that looks like a Birds Nest.LOL I cut a hole in the bottom about the size of a quarter & insirted my Tomatoe plant in 1pot &2Bell Pepper plants in the other pot added my mixture of good potting soil & some good compost dirt I had bought.. Everything I needed including the plants I got at my local shopping Center, So I only had2 make 1 stop 4 it all..Happy plant hanging..Nancy L Sparks

    Leave a reply
  16. Andrea
    May 10, 2011

    Growing your own vegetables is a fantastic way to save on your grocery bill. This year I am going to try this hanging tomato plant. Thanks for the tip about using an old newspaper. Great idea … thanks for sharing!

    Leave a reply
  17. growing upside down tomato plants
    May 12, 2011

    […] How to Grow Hanging Tomato Plants | How Did I Do It? Some people even claim that growing tomatoes “upside down” yields more fruit than planting tomato plants in a garden … […]

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  18. hanging pot plants
    May 13, 2011

    […] How to Grow Hanging Tomato Plants | How Did I Do It? Enter Your Comment I grew tomatoes in an ordinary hanging basket. three plants to a fourteen inch pot and had a … […]

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  19. garden hanging planter
    May 13, 2011

    […] How to Grow Hanging Tomato Plants | How Did I Do It? Here is the link to an article that provides many more details on what you should do to get such a garden: * Plant … […]

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  20. hanging baskets for plants
    May 13, 2011

    […] How to Grow Hanging Tomato Plants | How Did I Do It? You could also plant the cherry tom upside down in a hanging basket. Just put the seedling through the bottom holes … […]

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  21. How to Grow a Hanging Tomato Plant
    June 4, 2011

    […] Five gallon bucket purchased at your home and garden center […]

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  22. Leann
    June 22, 2011

    I need some help please! Last year I tried growing tomato plants upside down in 5 gallon buckets; they did great until mid summer. The plants were flowering and producing good looking tomatoes and then the stem started to almost shrivel and turn brownn right at the base of the plant. I thought it might have been too much weight on the plant. This year I used a much lighter “soil mix” and used Roma plants but it appears that it is happening again. Does anyone have any suggestions as to what causes this? Thanks.

    Leave a reply
  23. Karyn Craig
    June 27, 2011

    I have nodules on the stem of my hanging Roma tomato plant. A lot of them about six inches down from the root. Obviously I can’t mound dirt around it. What can I do? I already have about six tomatoes growing. Is the plant in danger or should I just water it less often?

    Leave a reply
  24. Liz
    June 29, 2011

    Thank you for your site. I purchased a “Hang N’ Go” tomato pot a few days ago but the directions were more than sparse. I now know how to plant it thanks to you.

    Leave a reply
  25. Sandy B
    July 10, 2011

    I have a tomatoe plant in a topsy turvey planter. from the day i first hung it in May till July 10the the plant started curving up as it grew. Today it suddenly was hanging down . I inspected the stem and there are open cracks in the stem from the sudden direction change the plant took. Will my plant survive ?

    Leave a reply
  26. Pictures of a hanging
    July 31, 2011

    […] How to Grow Hanging Tomato Plants | How Did I Do It? Not sure if that works as well as the method we outline here, but I have seen photos of tomatoes grown in hanging … […]

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    November 14, 2011

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