This post shares how to hang a planter from the ceiling. The method used for hanging heavy objects from the ceiling depends on whether you’re hanging something from drywall or from a ceiling joist. Read on to learn more.
How to hang a planter from the ceiling
Time for a quick tip post! I have so many hanging planters in my house, you’d think I would have gotten around to doing a quick tip on how to hang a planter from the ceiling by now. Alas, it took me going to my brother and his girlfriend’s house to help them hang a planter.
I don’t know why hanging things from the ceiling is so intimidating, but it is. And that’s why I avoided it for a while. And, to be honest, I still get nervous every time I drill in to the ceiling. Something about mounting something that could come crashing down, I guess. But, alas, that has never happened!
Probably because I’ve taken the proper steps to ensure I’m using the right hardware and approach. If you’re wondering how to hang a planter from the ceiling, I’m going to walk you through the process.
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- For drywall: Ceiling hook with toggle bolt or ceiling drywall anchor
- For a ceiling joist: Screw hook with threaded end
- Drill and various bits
- Stud Finder
- Measuring tape and pencil
And here’s the quick and dirty on how to hang a planter from the ceiling
Step 1: Determine what you’re screwing into
The first step is the most important: Decide where on the ceiling you want to hang your planter. Then figure out whether you’ll be hanging your planter from drywall or from a ceiling joist. You can do this using a stud finder.
Once you’ve pinpointed the spot you want to hang your plant, make a small pencil mark and grab your drill and various bits.
Step 2: Drill a hole
If you’ll be hanging from a ceiling joist, select a drill bit that is just slightly smaller than the threads on your screw hook. Drill a hole up into the ceiling and into the ceiling joist. The hole should go about as deep as your screw hook’s threads are.
If you’ll be hanging from drywall, select a drill bit that is about the size of the top of your toggle bolt when it is shut. It needs to be big enough to push the toggle bolt up through. I’m hanging in drywall, so my hole reflects that.
Step 3: Install the hook
The installation differs slightly for each method. Using a screw hook to hang from a ceiling joist is more straightforward. Toggle bolt installation requires an additional step, but it isn’t difficult!
For more plant posts, check out my guide about how to care for pothos plants—perfect for hanging planters—my DIY stainless steel bowl hanging planter, my hanging wooden plant holder, and my roundup of ALL of my DIY planters to help you decorate with plants!
Using a screw hook to hang from a ceiling joist
Since you’ve already drilled a hole, all you need to do is screw your threaded screw hook up into the hole. You might need to put a bit of muscle in to it. That’s because the bit you used is slightly smaller than the hook’s threads. We want the screw hook to have something to grab on to and be super secure.
Here are a few photos of planters hung by screw hooks in my home.
Toggle bolt installation for hanging plants from a ceiling
A toggle bolt is basically a super strong ceiling drywall anchor. They come in different weight ratings, just as screw hooks and drywall anchors do. Make sure you select one that is appropriate for the weight of your planter (when watered, too!).
The one I’m linking to throughout this text is a popular toggle bolt ceiling hook available in most big box hardware stores or online. There are many options out there, though.
Toggle bolt installation is easy once you do it once. Simply screw the toggle bolt down onto the hook’s screws. The “wings” should be facing down toward the screw, not up toward the ceiling. Pinch the wings down and stick the toggle bolt up through the hole you drilled.
There should be enough space between the toggle bolt when it is folded down and the hook to account for the thickness of your drywall. That’s because you want to toggle bold to pop open on the inside of the drywall/ceiling.
Once the toggle bolt pops open on the inside of the ceiling, secure the hook in place by pulling down while screwing the hook up. This sounds wrong, but it’s right! That’s because pulling down on the hook gives you resistance from the open wings, allowing you to screw the hook up completely flush with the ceiling.
Step 4: Hang your planter
Once you’re sure your hook is securely installed, hang your plant. Remember to take into account how heavy your planter will be when you’ve watered it. Not just its weight when it’s dry.
FAQs about how to hang a planter from a ceiling
I have noticed that a few of you are ending up here after googling a few topics related to how to hang a planter from a ceiling, so I am going to go ahead and knock those out in an FAQs section!
How can I hang a planter from the ceiling without drilling?
You can’t. I mean, I wouldn’t. There isn’t a great way to do it that is both effective and safe. If you want to keep your holes as small as possible, use a stud finder to hang your plants from ceiling joists. Toggle bolts and anchors require bigger drywall holes that are much more difficult to paint and repair.
If you want to minimize the number of holes in your ceiling, you can drill two holes in ceiling joists and mount two hooks. Then you can hang a bar from them and load a bunch of plants up on the bar. Just be mindful of what you’re screwing into, how much weight your hooks, chain/rope, and bar can hold, and weight after watering the plants.
Here’s a picture of the hanging plant bar I installed under our deck so my hanging baskets can vacation outside for the summer. Obviously I was screwing into the deck rafters, so no need to worry about the weight limits of anchors—just the hooks. And viola—two holes for 6 plants!
How heavy can you hang from ceiling?
The worst answer ever—it depends what you’re drilling into, what type of mounting mechanism you are using, what kind of hook you’re using, what kind of chain or rope you’re using, and how large the plant is. If hanging in straight drywall with a toggle bolt and drywall anchor, a weight limit will be noted on your package.
Also check the weight limit on whatever planter you’re using. I use strong chain for my DIY planters. For hanging straight into ceiling joists, try to stay under 25–30 lbs, and make sure to be mindful of weight limits on your screw hook and planter as well.
Keep in mind that watering plants makes them heavier, so I prefer to take them down to water them if possible. That way, all of the excess water can drain out of the plant’s drainage holes and remove some of that weight. As a bonus, that helps prevent overwatering.
How do you water a hanging plant?
Speaking of watering your plants, how do you water a hanging plant? They can’t have drainage holes that flow freely, so how do you prevent water from going everywhere? Well, I like to take my hanging planters down to water them in the sink or shower. Or even outside with the hose or when it rains.
This works well for hanging planters that I simply set the plastic nursery pots down in to. It also works well for hanging planters that have drainage holes you can re-plug after you finish letting all of the excess water drain out. A lot like the white planter I have my ric rac cactus in.
Should you put rocks at the bottom of a planter?
For hanging planters that you don’t have any drainage in, you can build some make-shift drainage into the planter. This is a controversial topic, but I think people generally like to get their pants in a bunch over the wrong things. For low-maintenance plants, this works fine. You just have to make sure you aren’t overwatering.
I have a whole post on how to plant in pots without drainage holes, but the skinny is that you can lay pebbles or perlite (which is MUCH lighter in weight), in the bottom of the hanging planter. Then throw a coffee filter on top of it and plant your plant. If you’re careful not to overwater, any excess water will flow down into the reservoir and evaporate eventually.
This method is best used with plants that aren’t too fussy and are really easy to take care of, like pothos plants. This is how I’ve had my living room pothos plant set up for years!
Related: I have posts on how to drill drainage holes in ceramic pots and how to plant succulents in pots without drainage holes!