Here's How to Hang a Planter

by Michael Franco
two healthy hanging plans sit in macrame hanging baskets

Indoor plants bring a touch of nature and beautiful greenery into your home. Elevating them off the floor or a shelf and suspending them from the ceiling is a great DIY project almost anyone can handle.

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Create your own indoor garden in an afternoon with these tips.

What Plants Are Best to Hang?

Having plants indoors and hanging them for a decorative look is an appealing way to easily add another element to your decor. Plants that look good hanging include devil’s ivy, English ivy, Boston fern, morning glory and spider plants.

These plants also don’t require a lot of maintenance, making them a good option if you are new to being a plant owner. However, every plant requires an adequate amount of light and correct watering. If you have a space that doesn’t receive a lot of natural light, check with your local nursery for recommended plants that do well with less sunlight.

Prepping Your Space

The first thing we need to discuss is the location of your hanging plants. It’s important to find a sturdy spot in your ceiling to safely hang your planter. Do this by using a stud finder to locate the ceiling joists. Screwing the planter into the solid wood of the joist is your safest option. If the ceiling joist isn't in a convenient location, you can mount the planter in the drywall, but you must use a swag hook with a hinged clip. This clip will open out once you push it through the drywall, creating a stronger hold for your plant.

Tools and Materials

Now that you’ve identified the ceiling space for the planter, it’s time to get the materials and tools you’ll need to hang it. For the ceiling hooks, curved swag hooks work the best. If you aren’t hanging your plant from the ceiling joist, you’ll need a hinged clip. Check your local hardware or home improvement store; they might sell swag hook kits specially made for hanging plants. Be sure to check the weight limitations for the swag hooks to ensure you are purchasing ones strong enough to hold the weight of your plant and the hanging planter.

You’ll also need a drill to make the hole in the ceiling, along with the proper drill bit. A 5/8-inch bit is the correct size for most ceiling hooks. Because you will be drilling, eye protection is recommended, and you’ll need a ladder to reach your ceiling. It’s a good idea to have a friend on hand to hold the ladder for you. Finally, you’ll need a hanging chain, and obviously your plant.

There’s a wide range of beautiful hanging plant holders available. Hanging planters come in different styles and materials, ranging from cheaper plastic ones to more expensive but lovely, handmade ceramic ones.

Important note: The heavier your plant and hanging container are, the more weight will be hanging from your ceiling and on your swag hook. Check to make sure the hook you choose will support both the plant and the hanger. Have fun and choose a hanging pot that matches your decor.

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Hanging a Planter Indoors

Now you’re ready to hang your plant. You’ve already located the best spot, which is secure, aesthetically pleasing and also allows the plant to receive the proper amount of light. If you are planning on hanging more than one plant in a room, make sure they are properly spaced.

Mark the spot you want to drill with a pencil and then drill your hole. If you are using a swag hook with a hinged clip, put the hook through the clip and then push it through the hole until the clip opens and holds in place. Give it a little tug to make sure it’s in there good, then turn the hook until it’s flush with the ceiling. If you are hanging the planter from a ceiling joist, you’ll need to tighten the hook with a pair of pliers. Once the hook is secure, hang that beautiful plant!

A very important thing to remember when choosing your pot and hanging planter is watering your plant. A plant needs good drainage in order to thrive, and you probably don’t want to create small puddles on your floor every time you water. Decide how you will manage your drainage before hanging your plant.

You might also want to invest in a watering bottle specially designed for hanging plants. These have long "goose-neck" spouts that can reach high up to direct water to the base of your plants and keep you from having to use a step-stool or ladder every time the plants are thirsty.

Hanging Plants Outdoors

The same tools and recommendations we shared above will work if you are hanging plants outside. You’ll most likely be hanging them from a porch or other overhead beam, which means you’ll already have a sturdy joist to support the plant, pot and hanger. In fact, you may be able to hang larger, heavier plants outdoors because of the secure beams. As for hardware, a simple J-hook will work in the majority of instances. Another bonus with hanging plants outdoors is there’s no need to worry about drainage — or maybe even watering if you live in a rainy area.

Non-Drilling Option

If you have small plants in lightweight pots, you might be able to use adhesive hooks to hang them from the ceiling with no drilling required. This is a good option if you are in a rental situation and don’t want to create any holes in your ceiling or walls. Adhesive 3M Command hooks can be found at office supply stores. Simply peel off the backing, stick on your ceiling and hang your plant. The most important thing to check is how much weight the hook will hold. Most will only hold up to 10 pounds.