Growing upside down tomatoes or topsy-turvy tomatoes has become very popular in the last few years. When growing plants in upside-down containers, determinate varieties, as a rule make better choices. There are a few indeterminate varieties that stay small enough to grown in upside-down containers, but most varieties are determinate. Determinate tomato plants tend to produce their fruit in a short time frame and then become nonproductive. Indeterminate tomato
photo credit: torbakhopperplants tend to produce for longer period, but get taller, or in the case of growing upside down, they will get longer. With this in mind, you may want to either plan on choosing several varieties to stagger the plants’ productive periods, or plant several times so that as plants become unproductive, you can replace them.
Advantages of Growing Tomato Plants in an Upside Down Pot
There are many benefits to this style of growing, including being able to save space or being able to grow food in a small place, growing in upside down containers is a form of vertical growing that can make the most of limited space.
- Many people find traditional gardening difficult physically, but find gardening in elevated containers easier. Instead of bending over to pick tomatoes, these back saving inventions allow you to stand up. Container gardening saves time and work, since gardeners with poor soil do not have to bother with the task of improving soil.
- Many of the problems gardeners face can be avoided. Since sterile soil is used and it is difficult for weed seeds to get into an elevated container, there is virtually no weeding.
- Pests that are present in the soil rarely bother plants that are well tended to in containers, and many insect species never find the plants.
- Critters rarely bother hanging plants, except for the occasional bird peck.
Varieties of Tomato Plants for Upside Down Containers
Cherry Tomatoes for Upside Down Containers
Even though it may seem logical that cherry tomatoes grow on a small vine because they are small fruits, most cherry tomato plants are huge, rambling vines. Cherry tomatoes plants make up for their small size by producing lots of bite-sized fruit. Even though you will need many fruits, you can still use them in cooking just like regular-sized tomatoes, or to brighten up a salad or crudite platter. Cherry tomatoes come in many sizes, colors, and shapes, and can be picked when they give slightly when you push on their skin with your finger. Cherry tomatoes vines can produce fruit in trellises, bunches, or singly on a plant. Some types tend to ripen all the fruit in a given trellis or bunch at the same time, which makes harvesting easy.
Tumbler cherry tomato is a very early cascading tomato with 1 ¼ inch fruit. Kids love these sweet, bite sized cherry tomatoes. It is perfect tomato for hanging baskets or pots.
Micro-Tom cherry tomato, the smallest tomato plant in the world, grows to only 4-7″ high. Its crouton-sized red tomatoes mature in 75-85 days. It can be grown in a 6” pot on a sunny window sill, and will produce about two dozen fruits.
Gold Nugget cherry tomato is yellow-orange cherry-like tomato with a mild, sweet flavor and minimal acid. It will grow to 2-3ft and mature in 55-60 days. This determinate is resistant to Fusarium and Verticillium Wilt.
Tiny Tim cherry tomato is a small determinant plant that will get about 10 to 18 inches tall. It produces ¾” bright red cherry tomatoes. It is recommended for patio pots and containers, and can be grown inside any time in a window sill garden, or in hydroponic cultivation. It will mature in about 45 days. (4)
Red Robin cherry tomato does well in relatively small pots and can be grown inside on a sunny windowsill or on outdoor patios. These determinate plants grow to 8 to 12 inches tall and produce masses of 1-1/4 inch sweet, full-flavored tomatoes with a touch of sweetness. It can be grown in an 8-inch pot. This determinate plant will mature in about 55 days.
Tiny Tim cherry tomato produces bright red fruits on an 18 inch tall plant. It can be grown in a 6 inch pot or hanging basket. This determinate plant starts producing ¾ inch fruit in about 60 days.
Larger-Sized Tomatoes for Upside-Down Pots
Patio F hybrid tomato is a popular determinate variety for growing in containers on patios and decks. Plants only grow to about 2 ft. tall, and produce abundant crops of bright red, 3 to 4 ounce tomatoes. It can be grown in a container which is at least 12 inches wide and will mature in about 70 days.
Sprite grape tomato grows on a small plant that produces lots of flavorful, small red. It has crisp, thin skins much like a grape. These determinate plants will begin producing in about 60 days.
Totem tomato is a good tomato to grow and outside down pots and for indoor gardening. It grows to 10 to 12 inches tall and produces an abundant amount of small, red, flavorful tomatoes.
Window Box Roma tomato is a hybrid bred to grow in pots. It produces red, flavorful, 2 to 3 ounce pear-shaped tomatoes perfect for salads, sauces, or snacking. This determinate tomato will start producing in about 70 days, and is resistant to several diseases. VFN
Bush Champion II tomato it is a hybrid developed in celebration of the hundred year anniversary of
Ball Seed Company. This compact plant grows to only 24 inches tall, and produces big, 8 to 12 ounce meaty tomatoes. With excellent flavor, this plant thrives in most any type of climate. It is a determinate variety which matures in about 70 days and is resistant to several diseases. VFFA
Health Kick tomato is a hybrid which was bred to have 50% more of the antioxidant lycopene than other tomatoes. Lycopene as shown in studies to help prevent cancer and other diseases. The plum-shaped tomatoes are large, 4 to 6 ozs., and are good for salads or in cooking. These productive, disease-resistant, determinate plants get about 4 feet tall and mature in about 74 days. VFFA
Jubilee or Golden Jubilee tomato has won the AAS award for its mild flavor, and is recommended for southern growers. This orange tomato looks like a persimmon and matures in 72 days on a determinate vine. (1)
If you want fresh tomatoes all year round, you can plant several times per year and grow suitable varieties inside in an upside down container garden. By planting several varieties, you can have a variety of flavors and colors for salads, pizzas, bruschetta and more.