[New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station]
Jersey Fresh Information Exchange
Photo: Jersey Produce

Would you recommend the upside down hanging pots for growing tomatoes?

While these pots are promoted as a space saving system, our Rutgers NJAES agricultural agents don't necessarily recommend them. They do, however, offer a few suggestions below:

We have no formal research data on this system but it should work as long as the plant is kept watered and fertilized like in any other container.  Gardeners should be aware that a mature tomato plant with fruit plus wet potting soil will get very heavy and consider that when hanging it. They normally require more management than most people are willing to provide. In full sun, these relatively small containers for hanging can dry out rapidly and expose roots to high temperatures. Your best bet is to provide adequately sized light-colored pots that won't get too warm during hot days. In the early season, warmth helps roots to establish, but in late season, temperatures can climb too high and damage roots of vegetables.

A drawback of this system is that the plant will try to right itself (towards light, away from gravity), but as it grows, the weight of the plant will keep it growing downward. The roots will continue to grow downward from the rootball until they hit the bottom of the pot and then grow in circles to fill the pot. Plant the rootball as 'deep' as possible, i.e. as close to the top of the container so the roots have more room to fill the pot before hitting the bottom. To do that, it would help to grow a tall, leggy seedling so there's a longer stem allowing the top of the plant to reach out of the bottom of the container. Make sure the container has adequate drainage besides just the hole where the plant is coming out.

Also - try web reviews/garden blogs for people's experiences with them.