Skip to Content

Growing Tomatoes Upside Down in the Topsy Turvy Planters

Growing Tomatoes Upside Down in the Topsy Turvy Planters
Home » Grow Your Own Food » Container Gardening Ideas and Help » Growing Tomatoes Upside Down in the Topsy Turvy Planters

So many customers at the farmers’ markets have asked me about growing tomatoes upside down and which heirloom tomato plants would grow best in the upside down planters. 

These planters always seemed kind of odd to me, but I realize a lot of urban and apartment dwellers want to grow tomatoes and simply don’t have access to the space, the soil, or the sun, so I thought I’d trial growing tomatoes upside down to better answer people’s questions.

Tomato growing in Topsy Turvy planter
Tomato growing in Topsy Turvy planter

This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I also earn from qualifying purchases. You can read our disclosure information here– 

Tomato Varieties Selected:

I decided to try two different heirlooms that I thought would be successful in this type of planter due to their smaller fruit size which would not weigh down the planters with heavy fruit.  I planted Prescott and Raspberry Lyanna. 

  • Prescott is a small grape heirloom which is considered an early tomato (69 days) and is )determinate.
  • Raspberry Lyanna is a medium, pink, fairly early (75 days) slicing tomato which is described by some seed catalogs as determinate and by some as indeterminate.  From the looks of the plant, my bet is on determinate.

Two weeks after planting, the Raspberry Lyanna had small fruit and the Prescott only had flowers at this time. 

I also planted these tomato varieties in the greenhouse for a comparison and the tomatoes in the greenhouse are about twice the size of the same variety planted in the Topsy Turvy Upside-Down Tomato Planter

How to Plant:

Rather than use my organic potting mix and aged horse manure, I decided to use materials that the typical urban apartment grower might have easier access to. 

Miracle Grow potting mix with moisture control is the best commercial potting soil I have found for container plants.

The directions included with the Topsy Turvy planter are pretty clear on how to insert the seedling tomato and secure it.  Just be sure the seedling is old enough that the tomato stem is sturdy enough to be handled with breaking it

Also make sure your tomato plant was hardened off.  The photos here show a plant that is approximately 6 weeks old.

Tomato seedlings in 4” pots ready to plant out
6-week old tomato seedlings ready to plant out

It is a little clumsy to hold the planter upright and scoop in the soil at the same time. 

I balanced the edge of the planter on a table while using a large metal ice scoop to add the soil.  Alternatively you could get someone to help you, but it does get heavy, as it takes quite a bit of soil.

My biggest problem was finding a post or garden trellis that was sturdy enough to hold the planter once the soil was wet. 

It is quite heavy once watered, and I imagine it will get even heavier as the fruits start to mature.

Progress after 2 weeks of growing tomatoes upside down:

Both varieties in the planters seem to be doing well and they look quite healthy.  Neither are as large or as far along as the plants that were planted in the soil, but they appear to be doing just fine.

What I learned from this test:

  • The company did not supply large hooks with the planter and it would be helpful to have these. The planter should hang freely away from the post or wall and it should be high enough above the ground that you don’t get splash-back from any diseased soil on the ground when it rains. I moved my planter several times before finding a spot that worked.
  • Don’t forget to water.  The plastic sides, along with the moisture control in the potting soil should be enough that you don’t have to water daily like a plant in a clay pot. Be sure and check daily however, especially in hot weather.
  • I was able to go two weeks without watering. Watering container plants has always been the downfall for me in the past, so I am encouraged that the Topsy Turvy planter might help the sometimes neglectful gardener.
  • The Raspberry Lyanna planted in the soil in the greenhouse developed much larger fruit and it ripened earlier than the plant in the hanging container. The leaf coverage is approximately the same however. 
  • The plant’s vines can bend upwards in search of light which caused a few of the stems to snap at the ben when it become laden with fruit.

All in all, it was an interesting experiment and I wouldn’t hesitate to grow tomatoes upside down if you are limited in space and want to grow a specific variety of tomato.

If you are not particular about the tomato variety, I would opt for growing tomatoes in a regular hanging basket with one of the cascading tomato varieties.

If you like my articles about cooking and gardening, subscribe to my weekly newsletter, where I share free recipes and gardening tutorials.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  1. Joyce Bowles says:

    I have just planted my first tomato plant into the Topsy Turvy planter and I appreciated your comments on how to do it. So far so good and I look forward to your progress so that I can compare. Thanks

    • Hi Joyce, Glad to know it was helpful. I had “OK” luck with mine, but nothing to brag about. I probably won’t do it again as the yield just isn’t enough for me. It might be a nice solution for people that don’t have room for a garden however.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.