Growing Upside Down Tomatoes

Are you a traditional outdoor garden tomato grower? Are you bored with growing your tomatoes the same back-breaking way year in and year out? Well I have something fairly new for you to try that may just revitalize your tomato growing efforts once again. During your next planting season, try growing your tomatoes upside down. Yes, you read that correctly. A fairly new, and very successful method of growing tomatoes is to grow them upside down.

Yes, I know what you are thinking. “Isn’t that a bit strange?” Well, yes, it does go against all traditional thinking and at first glance, it does seem strange but after stopping and thinking about it for a little bit, it actually makes very good sense.

Growing your tomatoes upside is advantageous in a few ways. It eliminates the need for stakes, cages or other support mechanisms because your tomato plants are allowed to grow naturally toward the ground at first, then turning toward the sun. You will also save your back as your tomato plants will be suspended in air near eye level for easy care. Speaking of being suspended in air, this will also keep your mature tomatoes from ever touching the ground and rotting. By growing them in containers, your plants are portable so they can be moved to get the most sunlight possible. You never have to worry about poor garden soil or the hassle of weeding as you will fill your container with the ideal potting mix to grow healthy tomatoes. You also do not have to worry as much about diseases and pests which often come from the surrounding soil. So you can see that there are many reasons why you would want to grow tomatoes upside down and I have only touched on a few of them.

First you need to scope out your location. Choose a location that is sturdy enough to support the weight of the tomato plants and their containers when fully loaded with tomatoes which could be 40 pounds or more depending on the variety you choose. You will also need a location that gets at least 8 hours of sunlight each day if you do not wish to move them each day to meet this requirement.

Next you will need to choose your container. Many people like to use a cleaned out 5 gallon paint bucket as they know that they are capable of good support but for those that find this unsightly, you can also select a nice hanging container of your choosing as long as it will support the weight. Whichever you choose you will need to cut or drill a 2 to 2.5 inch hole in the bottom for your tomato plant.

You can either grow your seedlings from seeds or purchase them at a nursery or garden center. Take your small seedlings and insert the top of the seedling down through the hole until half of the stem is sticking out of the bottom. Wrap some moist newspaper or paper towels around the main stem to hold it in place and fill up the rest of the hole so your soil does not spill out. Now slowly pour in some potting compost and gently pack it around the stem and root ball. Once the plant is in place, fill with about 4 inches of soil and water thoroughly. Fill the container the rest of the way to the top leaving about 2 inches at the top. Water slowly until water begins dripping out of the hole in the bottom to ensure water reaches the roots.

Hang your container in the location you selected earlier making sure to check it every day or two to make sure that the soil remains moist to a depth of about 4 inches. The only other thing left to do is to rotate the container every couple of days as the plant will naturally grow toward the sun. This will keep the plant growing evenly. Soon you will be enjoying the freshest and best tasting tomatoes imaginable.

Steve Haupt is a tomato growing enthusiast who enjoys helping others in getting started in this new “green” hobby. For more great information on how to grow upside down tomatoes, visit our website at

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