DIY Upside Down Tomato Planters

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DIY Topsy Turvy Tomato Planter

Last year I discovered the magic of growing tomatoes upside down. I was renting a house where the dirt was horrible quality, and we had feral cats in the neighborhood who dug up all of my attempts at gardening. It was exactly as charming as it sounds. I was complaining to someone I knew about my gardening situation, and she showed me how she’d hung her tomatoes upside down in plastic pots in the past. So I did that. And it worked like a charm. 

But I can never leave well enough alone and I wanted more space for the roots. I wanted HUGE tomato plants. I had this on my brain as I was carrying a particularly heavy reusable bag from Trader Joe’s, and something clicked in my brain. The bag had handles! I wouldn’t have to use a drill to make a hole in it! It was the perfect size! 

So I tried it out. And the results have exceeded my expectations. My tomato plants are enormous and covered with baby tomatoes. And while I didn’t think very far ahead this year, next year I plan to find a bunch of funky bags and make my tomato bags a focal point in my garden.

*Fun Fact – while your plants start out upside down, they will start to grow right side up toward the sun! Which is good, because they could end up dragging on the ground if they just grew straight down.

Tutorial Video:


You will need:

  • A plastic, reusable grocery bag (this is the one I used)
  • A coffee filter (I used this style, but you could use this style and it will work just fine)
  • Scissors (I like these)
  • Soil (choose an organic soil like this)
  • A tomato seedling (I grew my seedling using heirloom, non-gmo seeds from this company.)


  1. Cut an x shaped hole in the bottom of your grocery bag. Make sure it’s large enough for your seedling’s leaves to fit through.
  2. Fold your coffee filter into quarters (if  you’re using a chemex filter this step is done for you) and snip off the corner where the four folds meet. This will give you a hole in the center of the filter. Make sure this hole is large enough for your seedling’s leaves to fit through, but smaller than your seedling’s root ball. 
  3. Thread your seedling, leaves first, through the coffee filter.
  4. Repeat step three with the grocery bag. 
  5. At this point, your seedling should be hanging upside down when you hold up your grocery bag, and it should be threaded through both the bag and the filter. Spread the coffee filter out so that it covers the bottom of the grocery bag.
  6. Fill your bag with soil. While you do this, have someone hold the bag open for you (just a warning, it will get heavy!), or find a surface with a hole like a small drawer or cinder block and rest the bag there with the plant inside the hole. If you place the bag on a flat surface for this step, you will smoosh your little seedling and kill it! 
  7. Water your plant. Do this with a watering can or slowly soak it with your hose. The point is to both water your plant (duh) and to get rid of any air pockets in the soil. 
  8. And you’re done! Remember tomatoes love lots of sunlight and lots of water. 
  9. OPTIONAL- Sometimes I plant herbs and flowers on top of the bag. It adds a pretty, decorative touch to what would otherwise be wasted space. Flowers I like to plant are marigolds and nasturtiums. I usually use herbs that pair well with tomatoes such as basil and oregano. Salad greens are a good option as well!

If you use this tutorial, take a picture and post it on my Facebook page, tag me on Instagram, or tweet it to me! I’d love to see it! 

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Make your own DIY Topsy Turvy Tomato Planter


About Kelley

Hi! I'm Kelley. Real foodie and crunchy mom to a teenager and a toddler. My husband and I live in Southern California.