You need to support a hanging plant from a solid structure.

How to Install a Hook for a Hanging Plant Basket

by Chris Deziel

Hanging plants add color, lushness and a touch of the dramatic to your patio or living room, but they have a drawback: if you keep them properly watered, they are heavy. Hang one from an undersized hook, and the hook will probably bend and the basket come crashing down. Even if you use the right hook, you could get the same results by not properly attaching it to a surface capable of supporting the basket. Toggle bolts are never a good idea, because they rely on the structural soundness of drywall, which can't support more than a few pounds.

Hanging From a Joist

Weigh the plant on a scale while it's wet and purchase a hook that supports more weight than that. For example, if your plant weighs 20 pounds, get a hook that can support 50.

Hang the plant from a ceiling joist or beam. If you're hanging it inside, use a stud finder to find the most suitable joist. A stud finder is basically a metal detector; it finds drywall screws and nails. Move it along the ceiling until you get a reading, and then move it by small amounts to get the maximum reading. That's where the joist is located.

Drill a hole about 1/2 inch deep into the joist with a drill bit that has a diameter smaller than the threaded part of the hook. Don't make the hole any deeper, because the hook should bite into solid wood.

Start the hook by turning it clockwise by hand. When it gets too hard to turn, hook a screwdriver through it and use the screwdriver as a handle to turn it. Sink the threads a minimum of 1 inch into the wood. Ceiling drywall is 1/2-inch thick, so that means at least 1 1/2 inches of the shank should sink past a drywall surface.

Hang the plant from a chain or hanger attached to the hook.

Hanging From Between Joists

Install blocking to hang the plant from a part of the ceiling that isn't under a joist. This is an option in homes that have attics in which homeowners can access joists. The blocking consists of a length of 2-by-4-inch lumber that spans the distance between joists and overhangs them -- the chain holding up the plant will extend down from the blocking and through a hole in the attic floor. A 20-inch piece of wood should work.

Cut the wood with a circular saw and place it on the tops of the joists that are on either side of the place where you want the hanger. Mark the best place for the hook, then turn the block over and screw the hook into the mark. Set the block back in place and screw it to the joists with 2 1/2-inch wood screws.

Drill a 1-inch hole through the drywall underneath the joist with a 1-inch spade bit. Pass a chain through the hole and connect it to the hook. Hang the plant from the chain.

Items you will need

  • Weigh scale
  • Hook
  • Stud finder
  • Drill
  • Drill bits
  • Screwdriver
  • 2-by-4-inch lumber
  • Circular saw
  • 2 1/2-inch wood screws
  • 1-inch spade bit
  • Chain


  • Construct a more decorative hanger with painted galvanized iron pipe. Make a T-shape using pipe and a tee fitting that is long enough to fit over the joists and extend the vertical part of the T through a hole in the ceiling. Drill holes through the end that extends through the ceiling and pass an S-shaped planter hook through the holes.


  • Avoid hanging even a light plant directly from drywall. It may pull the toggle bolt through when you water the plant.

About the Author

Chris Deziel has a bachelor's degree in physics and a master's degree in humanities. Besides having an abiding interest in popular science, Deziel has been active in the building and home design trades since 1975. As a landscape builder, he helped establish two gardening companies.

Photo Credits

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