Upside Down Gardening Ideas – For the Urban Gardener

I happened to visit an aunt’s place last week. She is an avid gardener, fond of all things green. I entered her veranda and there it was! I thought, “Things couldn’t get weirder than this!”
There was this beautiful hanging planter that had luscious plants from both the ends; top and bottom! The pot was a lovely yellow with fresh, green spinach hanging below it and a gorgeous crown of mint at the top! Many more hanging pots in bright colours grew lots of stuff both ways, making good use of vertical space and leaving her floor space practically free.


upside down gardening ideas

“What a swell idea!”, I thought. I went right ahead and prodded her for answers. Over tea, she patiently answered all my ‘How Tos’ and ‘What Nots’. So here you go with all the information she gave me on Upside Down Gardening Ideas.

 Upside Down Gardening Ideas

So what is this all about?

The USP of this gardening approach is to make maximum use of the available space when the ground space is less. This looks great for urban apartments with small balconies. The floor space can be utilised for keeping foldable chairs and a tiny foldable coffee table. You can hang the planters from the ceiling or fix them on a wall vertically with wrought iron holders. With plants growing both ways, you can double your harvest in minimum available space.

Upside Down Gardening

Things required for Upside Down Gardening

  • Hooks to hang planters from the ceiling And/ Or
  • Planter holders fixed to the walls vertically
  • Hanging pots or baskets
  • Plants
  • Potting Soil with compost

The actual process

First decide what to plant

The plants that go into the bottom can be those that grow a bit tall like maybe tomato, cucumber , lemons etc. Then you could plant parsley, mint or some small herbs or flowering plants on the upper side of the planter.

The reason behind this is that fruits and vegetables tend to make the stem bend with their weight when the plant grows upwards. Here, we have no reason to worry. The plant hangs upside down so the fruits / vegetables will not touch the ground or make the stem bend.

Size of the planter

If it’s a vegetable / fruit bearing plant it’s better to use a slightly bigger hanging planter like a small bucket or a basket. For a two colour combination of flowering plants; above and below you could use a normal decorative hanging pot. Same goes for two herbs/ two shrub combination of plants.

How to plant

Stuff some coco fibre upto 1 inches from the top of the pot.  Invert the pot on a tray. Drill a 1.5 inch hole at the bottom of the planter depending on the size of the stem and roots that need to go through.

Add potting soil slowly into the container, through the 1.5 inch opening. Continue adding soil till you reach  the top. Next insert the roots of the sapling to be planted and fix it firmly into the soil. Press well.

Allow this to stay for a few days till the plant has fixed itself firmly into the soil. After a few days, invert the pot. Remove the coco fiber. Add some potting soil. Put in a few seeds of low growing plants like mint, parsley etc. and cover it with some more soil.

Hang this planter from the ceiling or place it in a wrought iron holder fixed to the wall.

buy upside down planters online

You can altogether avoid all this and buy a ready to use upside down planter also called a sky planter from Amazon or from your local gardening supplies store.

Upside Down Gardening Dos and Don’ts

Choose your plants carefully. The water, soil and sunlight requirements of plants that go together in a pot, must be taken into consideration. Two plants that go into the same pot must have similar requirements.

You cannot have two plants with opposite requirements for sunlight and water.

Do not over water the plants as soon as you’ve planted them. The soil may get washed out.

Use organic fertilizers and pesticides as much as possible.

Why is Upside Down gardening good for the Urban Gardener?

Urban gardening spaces like apartment balconies and terraces have space constraints. Urban gardeners may have time constraints as well. This two way method of gardening saves up on space and time.

Hanging planters can be made to hang at your chin level. You do not have to bend or sit on your knees to dig up or to add some extra potting soil or to water the plants. This is an excellent method to grow veggies and lovely herbs and flowers at the same time!

Let me know what you think in the comments below!


Picture credits:

indoor plants that purify air

10 Amazing Houseplants That Purify The Air!

indoor plants that purify air

Do you think that spending time indoors would save you from polluted air outside? Think again! The air inside your home is polluted even if you keep it absolutely spic and span. In fact, the indoor air levels of many pollutants are 2 to 5 times higher than their corresponding outdoor air levels.

Air purifiers, household cleaners, cooking and frying stuff, pesticides, radon, lead, combustion, tobacco smoke are among the various factors that cause indoor air pollution. You can often find traces of formaldehyde, benzene, ammonia, carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide in addition to several other pollutants inside your home. This is usually the case in compact, urban living spaces. To add to this, poor ventilation causes indoor air to stagnate and harbor allergies and breathing problems.

What you could do is to clean your indoor air naturally by keeping potted plants inside. These indoor plants can purify the air around you and make you feel stress free. In fact, microbes present in the potting soil also help with the cleaning of indoor air.

Must Have Houseplants That Purify The Air houseplants that purify air

Devil’s Ivy aka Money Plant

This humble vine can help you breathe clean air. It steers the air clear off VOCs (volatile organic compounds) arising from wall paints, air fresheners etc. It is a typical low maintenance plant. This creeper can get pretty invasive though and grows real fast. Make sure you keep it trimmed.


indoor air purifying plants

Peace Lily

Peace lilies are very easy to grow. They bloom throughout the year, producing lovely white flowers. They need less sunlight and can thrive on less water. Place a pot of peace lily in your living room. It looks gorgeous and filters the air to control high levels of formaldehyde, carbon monoxide and benzene.


indoor plants - aloe vera

Aloe Vera

This succulent is easy to grow and maintain. It needs minimal watering. Aloe Vera is a highly effective air purifier. It can also be used as an all purpose medicine for a variety of ailments.


Snake Plant

Can you believe this one is also known as “Mother-In-Laws’ tongue?” How true is that! The snake plant is an evergreen, ornamental plant with beautiful, elongated leaf blades that grow vertically upwards from a base rhizome. This one does not require much light and can grow well indoors.


spider ivy plant

Spider Ivy

This is very cute little plant with long, drooping leaves with white or yellow stripes. Small white flowers bloom on its stalks making it look prettier. It can withstand tough temperature variations. Inexperienced gardeners can grow a spider plant easily. It acts tough on air pollutants and purifies air by pumping oxygen back to it.

rubber plant

Rubber Plant

The round shiny leaves of a small rubber plant look very attractive. You can keep a potted rubber plant in your living room or bedroom, away from direct sunlight. It doesn’t require regular watering. Rubber plants are good air purifiers.

money tree bonsai

The Braided Money Tree

This good looking bonsai is so called as it is believed to be a harbinger of good luck and fortune according to Feng Shui principles. It looks beautiful on account of its braided trunk. The money tree can grow in dry conditions and low light. Its braided trunk sets it apart from other bonsais and easily captures the attention of guests. Its air purifying capabilities are well known.

broad leaf palm ree

Broad Leaf Lady Palm

This is another ornamental indoor plant that is an excellent air purifier. Its large palm fronds attract tropical butterflies and small birds if planted near the window or balcony. This one is pretty resistant to pests.

indoor houseplants

Boston Fern

Ferns have always been preferred house plants. They are quite easy to care for. The drooping fronds of the Boston Fern look attractive in a hanging pot. A potted fern looks elegant when mounted on a short balcony wall. Ferns purify air and keep you healthy.

house plants that clean indoor air

Corn Tree

This is another popular houseplant also known for its air purifying properties. Its shiny leaves look beautiful. This plant bears scented white flowers. The rough brown stem makes it look like a beautiful, young tree.

Are these plants safe for pets?

NASA has compiled an entire list of houseplants that purify indoor air as part of its
CLEAN AIR STUDY. Examine this list to see if the above indoor plants are toxic to pets or not.

A splash of green here and there inside your living space can prove to be a great stress buster. So go ahead and get a few potted greens for your indoors right away!



Photo Credits—
Money Plant by License
Aloe Vera by License

Snake Plant By Martin Olsson (mnemo on wikipedia and commons, Own work CC BY-SA 3.0
Rubber Plant by License

Broad Leaf Palm Tree by License

Growing Roses From Cuttings In Potatoes

Amazing Trick To Grow Roses From Stem Cuttings And Potatoes

Growing Roses From Cuttings In Potatoes

Who doesn’t love a gorgeous looking rose bush in their front porch or apartment balcony? As seasons change, your beautiful rose plant undergoes changes and withers away.  Sad? Nah! Unless you know how to propagate the same set of roses using cuttings, a humble potato and some cinnamon! Here’s how!

Growing Roses From Cuttings And Potatoes

Choosing a rose stem to cut

Cut a healthy stem from the rose plant that you wish to propagate. The stem must be approximately 9 inches long and ripe (you can tell if the thorns break off clean). Clear it of thorns and leaves. Spare a few leaves if needed. Cut it at a 45 degree angle from just below a bud.

Choose a good spot for planting your rose cutting

Choose a spot in your garden that gets sufficient morning light. This place must be well shielded from the harsh afternoon sun. You will plant your rose cutting here.

How to plant your rose cutting

Dip your rose cutting in powdered cinnamon. This is a great anti fungal agent which prevents your cutting from fungal infections and decay. It is also an excellent rooting agent. Next, cut a fresh potato in half; remove eyes if any. Scoop out a deep hole in it. Set your rose stem into this hole.

Dig a small pit some 8 inches into the ground. Add some sand at the base. Sprinkle some compost and potting mix. Place the potato along with the rose cutting into this pit. If you plant many cuttings, set them at least 5 inches apart.

Water the cutting only till the soil looks moist. Do not soak the soil.

Why should I use a potato?

The potato provides adequate moisture and nutrients for the rose cutting to grow roots. It also keeps the stem rooted firmly in the ground. After some time, as the potato begins to decompose, it also acts as manure.
In two to three months time, your cutting will have developed roots.

So try this one and let me know how it turns out.

Photo Credits: Cinnamon-Gualberto107, Potato-anankkml” Photo Credits: Wikimedia Commons, by JLPC under CC BY-SA 3.0

curry tree

Amazing Natural Fertilizer For Curry Leaf Plant

I was looking for a safe to use, natural fertilizer for curry leaf plant. I love my curry leaf plant; and not without reason. South Indian cooking can’t do without the inclusion of green, fragrant curry leaves. These leaves are packed with medicinal magic. They’re good for your hair and aid digestion. These also help in keeping your blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol levels in check. These leaves also top the list of herbs that facilitate anti-ageing.

It broke my heart to see an army of slimy slugs making a meal of my plant. I did get rid of the slugs, but my plant was reduced to a mere stick with a few leaves on it.

Natural Fertilzer For Curry Leaf Plant

curd - natural fertilizer for curry leaf plant

That’s when my mom came visiting. She loves gardening and is an expert at it. She made a quick solution of 3 teaspoons of sour curd in 2 cups of water. This was poured at the base of the curry leaf plant. “ Of all things CURD?”, I thought. This actually worked like magic. Two weeks later, my curry leaf plant grew taller, stronger and greener with lots of aromatic leaves.  The trick is to keep using the sour curd fertilizer for your curry leaf plant thrice a week, initially. Later on, once a week is more than enough.

Natural fertilizers are the best for your vegetable garden. Note that curd has so far worked only for the curry leaf plant. I am yet to try this on other plants.

I have since then given more importance to natural pesticides for plants as well. In case we have another aphid infestation or slug attack, I’m better prepared to handle it.


Photo Credits: Curry Leaves – dlanglois  CC BY-SA 3.0, text added
Curd – ji-elle CC BY-SA 3.0, text added

organic pesticides, homemade pesticides

Organic pesticides – Homemade pesticides for small gardens

Organic pesticides are the best alternatives to harmful chemical pesticides for small gardens. Gardening in urban spaces means either you have a rooftop garden, a simple balcony garden, planters in your window sill  or indoor plants.  These pesticides are very effective in removing a scourge of garden pests and insects.

organic pesticides, homemade pesticides

Check out these super inexpensive and natural organic pesticides to bust harmful pests and insects in your home garden and indoor plants.

DIY – Organic Pesticides

Garlic-Onion-Pepper spray

Finely chop 6 cloves of  garlic along with a small onion. Add a liter of warm water. Keep it aside for 3-4 hours. Add 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper and one teaspoon of liquid soap. Mix well, strain and use as an insect repellent spray. Make sure you do not add liquid detergent. It must be liquid soap – You can use any liquid hand wash for the task.This will last you for a week, if refrigerated. Garlic – Onion – Pepper organic pesticide spray is an excellent remedy for aphids, flea beetles, caterpillars and other sucking/chewing insects.

Neem Oil

Neem oil is a very powerful organic pesticide and repellent. When used alone, it does ward off pests but the plants get all oily. So mix 8ml neem oil and 5 ml liquid soap with 1 liter of warm water. Shake the spray bottle well. Spray this all over the plants. Neem oil is an excellent remedy for getting rid of spider mites, mealy bugs and practically most of the plant pests.

Basil Tea

Boil 1 cup of fresh basil (Tulsi leaves) in half a  liter  of water. Add 1 teaspoon of liquid soap to this mixture. Spray this on the plants. This acts as an excellent homemade pesticide  for aphids.

Epsom Salt

Dissolve 2 teaspoons of Epsom salt in  1/2 a liter of water. Spray this on the plants. Epsom salt does not harm the plants. It contains magnesium which is nutritious for the plants. This is an organic pesticide that also acts as a nutrient for the soil.

Baking soda spray

Mix together 1 teaspoon of baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon oil and 2 liters of warm water. Put this mixture in a spray bottle and spray it on the plants. Baking soda gets rid of fungal infections of plants. Baking soda spray must be used regularly till the fungal infection is gone completely. The mixture has to be made fresh for every use.

Eucalyptus Oil

Put a  few drops of Eucalyptus oil on the affected areas of plants. It drives insects and pests away immediately. Eucalyptus oil is great for flies, slugs and aphids.

Dried Chrysanthemum flowers

Chrysanthemum flowers(guldaudi or chandramallika in hindi) have a natural pest repellent called pyrethrum. Pyrethrum plays havoc with the nervous system of insects. Boil 50 grams of  dried  chrysanthemum flowers in half a liter of water. Cool, strain and use as a spray. This can be used for a week. This homemade pesticide spray kills mosquito larvae breeding in your home garden or in the water collectors placed under flower pots.

Organic pesticides are the best for home gardens and indoor plants, especially in urban areas. They can be easily made at home, give instant results and come sans the harmful effects of chemical pesticides.

Note: For making small amounts of organic pesticides at home, just halve the proportions mentioned above.


how to build self watering pots

How to make a Self Watering Plant Pot

Do you often forget to water your plants? Or do you wish to go on a vacation without having to bother about watering your plants? Then why don’t you check out how to make a self watering plant pot? These intelligent planters do not need manual watering daily, you just need to water your plants once and then these self watering plant pots will take care of the rest, say for a week or even two. Your plants will be just as fresh, when you return from work or from a week long vacation.

how to make a self watering plant pot

Image credits:

 Let us check out how these intelligent containers work. Self watering planters have a container that is filled with water. This is the water reservoir from which the soil draws water every time it dries up, by the basic principle of Osmosis. This also ensures that plants get just the right amount of water and not a lot of it. You can add a dilute solution of fertilizer to the water in the reservoir to achieve optimum results. These innovative planters save prevent wastage of water by way of evaporation and excessive watering. You can make eco-friendly, self-watering planters from recyclable materials instead of going for the more expensive ready-made ones.

how to build Self watering pots Photo Credits: Sugar Pond

Points to note
1. This works wonders for many herbs, climbers and flowering plants. But some plants need drier soil conditions and cannot be planted in self watering plant pots. You have to ascertain this before planting.
2. Mosquitoes may grow in the water reservoir. You can prevent this by adding some drops of light weight vegetable oil to the water. The oil will float and suffocate the mosquito larvae.

How to make a Self Watering Plant Pot

Here is a very informative and useful video by GrowVeg that precisely tells you how to build a self watering plant pot.

Now these self watering planters need not be all drab and ugly. You can add a dash of creativity by spray painting the outer container with some nice Krylon paint or arranging containers of different shapes and sizes on beautiful planter stands.

self watering plant pot

You can user beautiful pots made of  terracotta, stone and ceramic for making these planters. Large patio planters can be made from large buckets and barrels. By proper arrangement of these self watering planters, you can add a beautiful design to the landscape of your garden.

Photo Credits:Walmart

If you are not the ‘DIY’ types, you can even shop online for some beautiful self watering plant containers (below Rs.600)  that embellish your garden. Overall, a self watering container can be an interesting add-on to your indoor as well as outdoor garden in addition to being a boon to your plants.