Tipsy pots, also known as topsy turvy planters, are easy to make once you know the trick.
For more, also see these creative garden container ideas.
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Tipsy Pots: How To Make A Plant Tower
Tipsy pots (also called topsy turvy pots or plant towers) seem like a gravity-defying optical illusion when you first see them. I would love to know who first thought these up. I know they have been around for many years as I used to admire them in a neighbour’s garden when I was a child.
Tipsy pots are really easy to make and there are endless variations. Here’s how it’s done: a long pipe is secured in the ground and the pots are threaded through the pipe, with one sitting on the next. That’s it! Simple!
You could use traditional clay pots, or any other containers so long as they have holes in them large enough to thread the support post through. Many garden pots already have drainage holes in the bottom so they’re ready to use. You may need to cut or drill holes in other containers such as metal pots or galvanized watering cans.
Besides choosing the containers, you can also give tipsy pots a unique look with your plant selections. You could plant annual flowers, herbs, perennials, or even vegetables—any plant that grows well in a pot— varying colours, texture, shape, and size. When it comes to planting containers, it’s all about fill, thrill, and spill.
Tipsy Pot Materials
Pipe, Dowel, or Rebar
One pipe, piece of rebar, or strong wooden dowel long enough to fit through all the pots you want to stack for your plant tower plus enough length to firmly hammer the pipe into the ground. You may have to do a few test assemblies to determine the right length. I start with a long pipe and cut it to size before assembling the tipsy pots. How far you can hammer a pipe or dowel into the ground will depend entirely on your soil conditions (clay, sand, loam, or a combination).
I like to use scrap pieces of 1/2″ copper pipe. For what you see here, I used a 4 foot piece of pipe. The pipe/dowel has to fit through the holes in the bottom of the pots but be strong enough to support all the pots.
Pots 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-center.
Pick your favourite annuals, herbs, pot-friendly perennials, or even veggies – or a combination of all of these. I like plant towers without plants too if the pots are attractive or interesting.
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.
- 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.
Enjoy. They’re quirky and always get garden visitors saying, How’d you do that?
Now, get tipsy!
~Melissa the Empress of Dirt ♛
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