Why don’t plants grow upside down?

We take so many things for granted. Why do trees grow only so tall and no taller? Why do some potatoes have those mysterious brown holes in them? And why do plants grow right-side up instead of upside-down? Eric Hamilton explores the question.


Eric HamiltonEric Hamilton is a graduate student in plant biology in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis, researching how pollen survives its arduous journey to the female in the Haswell lab.

Learn More


  1. liz says:

    Great video! Very interesting. The paradox of how plants know which way is up is a simple one that seems should’ve been solved by now. However, the title of the video is very confusing and irrelevant.

  2. Gail says:

    Our son loved this. Thanks for inspiring kids to ask great questions!

  3. Renee Kieselbach says:

    I enjoyed the video and learned some new facts. Thanks for the great work to bring science to the masses!

  4. Bob Kruh says:

    Eric — for years there have been trees growing upside down at Massachusett’s Museum of Contemporary Art in North Adams.


    Good wishes for your project!

  5. Gary Hammen says:

    @Eric, Very nicely done.
    @Bob, those trees try to reorient at a rate that is perhaps appropriate for a woody plant. Some quick image searches turn up reorienting “upside down” trees in the same location, such as this one:

  6. JH says:

    Wonderful! My son loved this! It was so interesting and helpful in our research.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subscribe By Email

This form is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.