Upside Down Tomatoes – Do They Work?

What should gardeners know about the idea of growing upside down tomatoes? While the practice is nationwide, there are some Colorado-specific concerns.

First off, plants know up from down. Auxins (hormones produced in the growing tips) turn stem growth upwards. When tomato plants are hung, new stem growth makesupside down tomatoes a U-turn upwards. In Colorado’s windy weather, the weight of the stems in windy weather can pull or break off the stem. The new growth will make another U-turnupward. A web search of online images of “upside down tomatoes” will readily show examples. Many on-line comments about hanging tomatoes talk about wind damage.

Some advertisements for upside down tomatoes suggest that they be hung from a tree or deck. Trees, roofed decks, and nearby houses cast shade and tomatoes need full sun for good fruit production.

Another concern is the size of the container (root size) to support a large tomato plant. One brand of hanging planters calls for two pounds of soil. This small rooting volume would not support a large tomato plant in our hot, windy climate. Only a small container size tomato variety would be suitable.

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Updated Tuesday, August 05, 2014