I started using Topsy Turvy planters about four or five years ago. They look interesting enough. The plants in them hang upside down out of a non-porous cylindrical bag, which has a cover on the top with a hole to pour water through, and an opening in the bottom that the plant emerges from. I thought I would give them a chance. Now, after two years of close observation, I think I am ready to voice an opinion about them.
I have attempted to grow several different types of plants, using both the individual planters and the larger Topsy Turvy garden planter. I have planted numerous types of tomatoes, various chilies, bell peppers, and lemon cucumbers. I have had mixed results.
The cucumbers were a complete failure. I got one cucumber from the individual planter, and it was small and underdeveloped.
I have only been moderately successful with tomatoes. Tomato plants never grew very well and did not ever provide more that one or two small growths of fruit. Meanwhile, I have tomato plants in the ground that were massive and produced fruit for months. There was no comparison, tomatoes in the ground performed spectacularly better than those in the Topsy Turvy planters.
The quiet success has been a jalapeno pepper that I planted in the summer of 2013. The plant itself is not large, but it produces a moderate number of peppers consistently. I also have a bell pepper and habanero plants that are doing pretty well, though they haven’t produced a lot of fruit. Peppers seem better suited to life as an upside down plant than anything else I tried.
I may not be completely without blame in this limited success. I am sure I could have done something better, like water more, or use better nutrients. However, I like how when I stick a plant in the ground my biggest problem is keeping it from overtaking too much of the yard.
It might also be a problem of expectation, perhaps I expected too much from these planters. I like when my plants establish themselves and depend on me for an occasional watering. I am a lazy gardener. Perhaps these planters don’t fit my gardening style.