Posted on 21 February 2011 by

DIY Upside Down Planters With Style

By Mindy McIntosh-Shetter

Upside down planters have been around for years but some ingenious individuals are using what they already have instead of falling for horticulture consumerism.

Everyone has something sitting around that can be converted into an upside down planter.

Hanging baskets, food-grade plastic buckets, bottles, and even planters can find a new life as upside down planters.

But what is the gardener supposed to do if they want an upside down planter that is both stylish and functional at the same time. The answer to this gardening faux pas is the lonely steel can.

Steel cans that have had their first life as food storage containers work perfect. They come in assorted sizes that range from short and fat to slender and thin and everything in between. But what makes these DIY upside down a planter different is that they are covered in a stylish finish.

Directions for this Stylish Upside Down Planter


  • Assorted food-grade steel cans, washed
  • Drill with both ¼-inch and ¾-inch drill bit
  • Goggles
  • Coffee filters
  • Shelf liner material, decoupage material and/or paint
  • All-purpose potting soil
  • Slow-release fertilizer
  • Small chain or decorative string
  • Plants or seeds for plants such as basil, tomatoes, peppers, or cucumbers


  1. Divide the open rim of the can and mark. Drill one ¼-inch hole on each mark. This is where the chain or decorative string will be placed to form a hanger.
  2. Turn can upside down so the bottom is on the top.
  3. Measure the center of the can and drill one ¾-inch hole. Drill four ¼-inch holes in the bottom for drainage.
  4. Place one coffee filter in the bottom of the can. If a small can is used cut down the filter. Cut an “X” in the filter where the center hole is located.
  5. Cover the sides of the can with shelf liner that is sticky on one side or apply decoupage to the can. If one gets a designer brain freeze one can always fall back on just painting the can but regardless of what you choose make sure it goes with the planned plant material or the environment.
  6. To plant the can simply push plant through coffee filter hole and hole in can. If using a tomato plant remove all leaves except the top five leaves. Push plant through hole and adjust plant according to how deep you want to plant it.
  7. Attach chain or decorative string and hang in a location that makes it easy to work on.
  8. Mix soil and slow-release fertilizer and fill can with soil mixture within 1-inch of the top.
  9. At this point one can even plant in the top with such plants as basil or Bibb lettuce.
  10. Water planter in until the can begins to drip.

These planters are great as far as a repurposing project and when they wear out simply place in the recycling bin. When using an upside down planter there are some things that need to be considered. One if the planter is placed inside or on a surface that you do not want wet place a pan or move to the sink to water.

Two this type of planter dries out quickly so one may consider using a hydrogel to help keep the soil moist. Three do not limit yourself to what you have seen growing in upside down planters commercially. Many hobby gardeners have found that these planters are great for not only many vegetable plants but also houseplants such as orchards and since these upside down planters are so stylish they can fit into any home décor without looking out of place.

Until we blog again, Upside down gardening is the fad for everyone without land. What can the stylish gardener do when the commercial planters are brown, green, and any dull hue? They can re-purpose a container with covers of choice and save the fashion world from any gardening faux pas without any choice.

2 Responses to “DIY Upside Down Planters With Style”

  1. Ashley @ Backyard Bliss Says:

    What a great DIY project! Thank you for sharing! 🙂

  2. Garden Planters Says:

    Won’t the plants die of they are upside down? Cool idea.

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