Tipsy pots, also known as topsy turvy planters, are flower pots arranged in a stack to look like they are tipping over, even though they are sturdy. Once you know the trick, they are easy to make.
This is part of a series featuring creative garden container ideas.
Tipsy Pots: How To Make A Plant Tower
The magic of staggered flower pots is they look like they are falling over but they’re not.
Tipsy pots have been around for years although they go by many names:
- Tipsy pots
- Topsy turvy planters
- Plant towers
- Vertical planters
- Planter tower
- Staggered flower pots
- Tiered flower pots
- Stacked terracotta pots
- Stacking planters
- DIY stacked planters
It can be difficult to find them online when you don’t know what they are called but the words listed above should help.
The words ‘topsy turvy’ are also used for upside-down hanging planters like these ones used for tomatoes and strawberries (Amazon) but that’s a whole other thing.
The Trick to Making Tipsy Pots
It’s this simple: a long pipe is secured in the ground and the flower pots are threaded through the pipe, with one sitting on the next.
There are countless variations you could make, depending on the choice of pots and plants.
So long as the support pipe is long enough, strong enough, and fits through the holes in the pots, you are set.
You can also use unusual containers like old metal pots or galvanized watering cans if you’re willing and able to drill holes in them.
If you would like the free project tip sheet for making Tipsy Pots, you can download it here:
Tipsy Pot Supplies
You could use:
- Wood dowel
- Metal fence post
The support post should be:
- Strong enough to hold the weight of the pots.
- Long enough that you can drive a foot or two into the ground.
- The right size to fit through the holes in the pots.
You may want to do a test run.
- How far the support post will go into the ground will depend on your soil quality (clay, sand, loam, or a combination).
- You want it sturdy and long enough (above ground) to hold all your pots with the top ending in the upper-most pot without showing.
2Pots or Other Containers
Use any pots or outdoor-friendly containers with holes in the bottom. The hole doesn’t have to be in the middle of the container but needs to be wide enough to fit the pipe/dowel through.
- Clay pots
- Old metal teapots
- Coffee pots
- Cooking pots
- Watering cans
- Anything you can drill a hole in (if it doesn’t have one already). The larger the pot, the better the ‘tipsy’ effect – especially if the holes in the pot are off-centre.
Related: 40 Unique Container Gardening Ideas
3Plants & Potting Mix
The size of the planting area may determine what you can plant.
When it comes to planting containers, it’s all about fill, thrill, and spill.
You could plant annual flowers, herbs, perennials, or even vegetables—any plant that grows well in a pot— varying colours, texture, shape, and size.
Perhaps your theme is a bold pop of color and you use favorite flowering annuals.
If you have a winter storage plan, any perennials could also work.
One sweet idea (pun intended) is to plant strawberries or dwarf tomatoes.
Or, how about a mini herb garden tower?
If the containers are interesting enough, you may like it without plants—just potting mix or some sort of art in the pots.
Potting Mix: Use a mix made for your plant choices. If planting edibles, be sure to choose a food-safe mix intended for food crops.
Container Gardening Complete
by Jessica Walliser
This has everything you want to know about growing plants in containers: flowers, herbs, veggies, and more.
It’s packed with useful information, creative container projects, and lots of beautiful photos.
How To Assemble Tipsy Pots
- Hammer the pipe/dowel into the ground until firmly in place.
- Have your pots, plants, and potting soil ready.
- Thread each pot through the pipe, one at a time, adding soil and plants as you go.
Be sure you can water the plants (without spilling) and the plants are securely in place.
I leave about an inch between the top of the soil and the lip of the pot and water very slowly so the potting mix absorbs the water.
- Each pot will need a sturdy resting place. I add soil and stones to secure each pot in place, sitting on the pot below it.
- So long as the structure is secure, you can build your plant tower as tall as you want.
Staggered Flower Pot Ideas
1Teacup Stacked Planter
This first one does not have a support post.
If you wanted to make something like this on a larger scale, use giant ceramic teacups or other containers that can be drilled for drainage holes.
I use a keyhole diamond drill bit for jobs like this.
2Stacked Terracotta Pots
This next one is from my garden. I managed to get the support pipe far to one side which really helps with the optical illusion.
Related: 12 Clay Pot Craft and Decor Ideas
3Painted Tipsy Pots
I love how the pink petunias stand out against the green pots and foliage.
As you set up your tipsy pots, you will notice there are certain resting points where each pot stays nice and firm. If not, add soil or stones directly under the drainage hole until they do.
Related: How to Hand Paint Flower Pots
4Clay Stacked Pots
If the support rod is near the middle, you may not have a lot of planting room like this next one.
Enjoy. They’re quirky and always get garden visitors saying, How’d you do that?
Now, get tipsy!
~Melissa the Empress of Dirt ♛
How to Make Tipsy Pots
Supplies & Materials
- 1 6-foot Rebar
- 4 12-inch Terracotta flower pots with drainage holes
- 1 bag Potting Mix
- Annual flowers and vines
- Hammer rebar into ground in desired location. Bury approximately two feet deep. It must be secure for structure to work.
- Thread rebar through bottom of first pot and slide it down to the ground.
- Add plants and potting mix until one inch below lip to help hold water in.
- Add next pot and settle in place. Use extra soil or stones to secure position.
- Continue filling each pot with potting mix and plants, staggering the arrangement.
- Water each pot deeply and adjust where necessary.