Do Not Use Soda Bottles for Upside Down Herb Planters

Posted on Aug 3 2009 - 2:31am by Mike Lieberman

It’s been a bit over a week since I planted my upside down herb garden on my fire escape again. I planted them in soda bottles that were recycled into the upside down planters.

The results are the same though. Death.

So unless I am doing something horribly wrong, I wouldn’t recommend building and using this contraption to grow your herbs.

The first time I planted them, the herbs died quickly as well. It could’ve been because the soil was too heavy or because of my not so gentle hands. So I decided it was time to give it another go.

This time I used the coconut coir based soil and was definitely much more gentle, but the results were still the same.


Now I need to figure out another way to grow herbs on my fire escape. I need something that I can hang from the railing. Any ideas?

10 Comments so far. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. Pam February 27, 2010 at 2:51 pm -

    I've seen plants growing upside down (in other people's gardens) — but they all had sort of a vining or branching growth habit, like strawberries and tomatoes. Parsley is just simple stems straight up from the roots. Also, tomato roots grow sideways a lot, so maybe that helps them.
    How about trying nasturtiums?

  2. Mike Lieberman February 27, 2010 at 3:55 pm -

    I've totally given up on this concept. Much easier to grow things rightside up.

  3. Maya October 11, 2010 at 11:52 pm -

    hi…we have the same dilemma with regard to the space.. i barely have enough space on my balcony but would love to start planting herbs and some vegetables…. i wanted to try the upside down thing for a tomato… will start this weekend… hopefully it will work…

  4. Mike Lieberman October 12, 2010 at 1:04 am -

    I’ve heard of people that have success with them. I just turned the soda bottles upside down and planted in them that way

  5. Micahlynn November 26, 2010 at 11:57 pm -

    just a thought… but when it comes to watering and growing an upside down garden… when you grow something upside down, gravity pulls all the water to the “top” of the plant, instead of the bottom where the roots are – which need the water, so in essence you’re watering the stem instead of the roots which could be part of your problem. You might just try planting them right-side up and may have better success. The upside-down theory was for pest management, which in a city environment shouldn’t be too much of a factor, especially in such a small contianer. Probably your biggest pest will be the avoidance of a fungal or bacterial infection due to over-watering your plants.

    Just some thoughts… hopefully they help…

  6. Mike Lieberman November 27, 2010 at 9:04 pm -

    Thanks for the input. I decided to grow them out of the tops with much more success

  7. yardener February 24, 2011 at 7:14 am -

    It looks like you left the lids on your upside down soda bottles! If so, try removing them and placing a flat rock there, so that the soil doesn’t fall out, and then the soil will also have drainage. If the soil doesn’t have good drainage, you will always have plants die. They will get root rot no matter how careful you are. Just a thought. Hope this helps if not with soda bottles,then with future endeavors. 😀

  8. Mike Lieberman February 24, 2011 at 3:04 pm -

    The lids weren’t on. The plants were hanging out of the bottom.

  9. Kutzfam88 June 4, 2012 at 7:12 am -

    get an old over the door plastic or cloth shoe hanger – could probably be cut in half to make two… each little pocket for shoes can hold a plant 🙂 

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