While garden vegetables and flowers don't naturally grow upside down, there are some advantages to growing this way, including disease and pest prevention, saving space and avoiding weeds. While many plants are not suitable for growing in a Topsy Turvy brand upside-down planter, a wide variety will thrive in such a controlled growing environment.
Tomatoes are the most popular plant grown upside-down. In fact, the Topsy Turvy is advertised as a tomato planter. This is due in part to the fact that tomatoes, while easy to grow, are susceptible to a large number of diseases transmitted through the soil. While the Topsy Turvy is designed with tomatoes in mind, not every variety is ideal for growing upside-down. Choose determinate varieties that have a compact, shrub-like habit. Indeterminate varieties can grow too large and break under their own weight. Also look for varieties that produce smaller fruit that is not likely to fall before it can be harvested. Most tomatoes suitable for growing in a container will work in the Topsy Turvy. Popular varieties for growing upside down include cherry, grape, Roma, Tiny Tim, Patio VF, Small Fry, Gardener's Delight, Husky Red and Husky Gold.
Common garden herbs that are compact and leafy will grow well in a Topsy Turvy as long as they are kept moist and receive plenty of sunlight. Choose herbs that would normally be grown in a small 6- to 12-inch pot. Herbs that have a tall and thin appearance, like chives or lavender may not do well when grown upside-down. Garden herbs suitable for a Topsy Turvy include basil, mint, coriander, parsley, oregano, summer savory, thyme and tarragon.
Like tomatoes, peppers like plenty of sun and heat, and will do well in a Topsy Turvy as long as the size of the fruit is taken into consideration. Varieties that produce large, heavy peppers, like sweet bell, Anaheim and banana, are not suitable for upside-down growing since the weight of the mature fruit often breaks the stem. Peppers that do well in a Topsy Turvy include jalapeno, cayenne, cherry, habanero and serrano.
Most vegetables that can be grown in containers will thrive in a Topsy Turvy. The key to a successful harvest, however, is to choose plants that produce smaller fruit and have a compact or bush habit. Vegetable varieties that grow long, leggy vines may become too heavy and break. Cucumbers such as Spacemaster, Salad Bush Hybrid, Midget Bush Pickler and Bush Crop will do well upside-down. Squash suitable for a Topsy Turvy include Black Magic Zucchini, Peter Pan, Bush Crookneck, Bush Acorn and Butterbush. Be sure to pick the squash before it becomes too large and falls from the plant. Eggplant can also be grown upside-down. Appropriate eggplant varieties are Morden Midget, Millionaire, Dusky and Bambino.
Flowers that thrive in hanging baskets can usually be planted in a Topsy Turvy. Unlike vegetables, which must have stems strong enough to support fruit, flowers that have a vine-like habit, rather than compact bush-like growth, work best in an upside-down planter. Geraniums and trailing petunias do especially well in a Topsy Turvy. Nasturtium, bougainvillea, ivy geranium, verbena, fuchsia and Million Bells also grow well upside-down.