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.
“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.
All About Upside Down Gardening
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
- 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.
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!