Upside-Down Gardens

Grow an upside down garden!

It’s true, you can grow plants upside down! It’s a great way to save space and requires less work because upside down plants don’t need to be staked.

An upside down garden can be grown inside, on your patio, balcony, or in the backyard. Good plants to use are:

  • tomatoes
  • peppers
  • eggplants
  • beans
  • cucumbers
  • squash

Because you need to cut a hole in a bucket, it’s important that you start this project with adult supervision. This is a great project to share with friends as it needs many hands!

Tools you will need:

  • A large 16-20 litre heavy-duty bucket (restaurants often have extra oil buckets that work well)
  • A sharp tool like a knife or an ex-acto blade
  • Lightweight potting soil
  • A plant that is at least 6-inches tall. It’s best to choose a miniature or dwarf variety
  • A 6-inch circle of lightweight foam or sponge
  • Strong string or wire that will hold the weight of the planted bucket
  • A heavy duty hook that will attach to the ceiling and support the weight of the fully planted bucket, roughly 40 pounds (ask at a hardware store for recommendations)
  • A hose or watering can
  • A marker
  • Newspaper or an old sheet
  • A tray to catch the water


  1. Before you start, find a sunny spot in your apartment, balcony, or patio and attach the heavy duty hook.
  2. Cover your work area with newspaper or an old sheet
  3. Place your bucket on the ground, upside down, and use the marker to draw a 2-inch circle in the middle of the bucket.


  4. With your sharp tool, cut along the circle, creating a hole in the bottom of your bucket where your plant will grow!


  5. Turn the bucket right side up and, spacing evenly around the top, cut three small holes an inch from the open end of the bucket. Using heavy-duty string, or wire, tie three loops of even length that will be used to hang the bucket from the ceiling hook.


  6. Cut a half-inch hole in the middle of your piece of lightweight foam or sponge. Then cut a straight line from the outside edge to the hole in the middle.


  7. Place the bucket with the bottom (with the cut hole) up. Remove your plant from its container and gently fit the roots through the hole.


  8. Place your piece of foam inside the bucket and around the base of the plant. This is what will help keep your plant in place when it’s turned upside down!


  9. This next step will require some helping hands. Have one person hold the bucket, with the plant hanging upside down while you fill the bucket with soil until it is half full.


  10. Place the tray under the plant to catch any water.
  11. Lightly water the soil and then continue to fill the bucket all the way to the top.
  12. Hang your bucket by collecting the three strings or wire loops and slipping them onto the hook.
  13. Thoroughly soak the soil until water runs out the bottom. This will give the roots enough water to start spreading out. Be sure the tray is placed under the plant to catch the water!
  14. Check the moisture of the soil daily, especially during hot spells. If it’s dry be sure to water it.
  15. Rotate your upside down plant clockwise every week to ensure all sides of your plant receive an even amount of sun and shade.

It’s possible to plant other plants at the top of your bucket! Think of plants that will compliment your upside down plant such as herbs and lettuces.