How to Hang Plants From the Ceiling

Plant Hanging From Ceiling

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Project Overview
  • Total Time: 5 - 10 mins
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Estimated Cost: $3 to $5

Lush green foliage always warms up a room. Hanging plants from the ceiling frees up shelf and window sill space for other items. Enjoy favorite indoor plants like ivies and ferns all year round by hanging them from the ceiling.

Learn how to hang plants rock-solid from the ceiling either to joists located above the ceiling drywall or on the ceiling drywall itself.

Before You Begin

To hang plants from a ceiling, purchase either decorative swag hook kits or plant hooks.

Swag hooks have a showier appearance and can be attached either to joists or to the drywall. That's because swag hook kits have a changeable wood screw or toggle bolt for attaching to either location.

When attaching to joists behind drywall or to exposed wood beams, you have the added option of purchasing a plant hook. Though utilitarian in appearance, plant hooks are sturdier and less prone to breakage.

Hang Plants From Ceiling Joists

Above the ceiling drywall are wood joists spaced every 16 inches (or, in some cases, every 12 inches). The best way to hang a plant from the ceiling is to screw the swag hook or plant hook into the ceiling drywall and the joist above.

Hang heavier plants with this method and be assured of safety. This method creates only a tiny hole, easy to patch if you later decide to remove the hook. But you are limited to placing the hook at joists (every 16 inches).

Hang Plants From Ceiling Drywall

Between every ceiling joist is 14-1/2 inches of ceiling drywall that has no support above it. Using a toggle bolt attached to the swag hook lets you hang plants at places where the ceiling is hollow.

This method is the most flexible since you can hang the plant at any spot on the ceiling. Yet it's a weaker attachment than the joist method, and hooks can tear out of the drywall if the plant is too heavy. Also, the holes are larger and more difficult to patch up.

Safety Considerations

Packaging for swag hooks and plant hooks indicates the hook's weight capacity: usually, 30 to 50 pounds. Capacity rating only refers to the hook itself. Hooks installed in ceiling drywall are limited by the strength of the drywall. Leaky ceilings that have since dried or ceilings that have been repaired may be weaker than normal.

Electric cables sometimes run through and around ceiling joists. Shut off circuit breakers for any cables that may run through this area.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Ladder
  • Cordless drill
  • Set of drill bits and drivers
  • Pliers
  • Stud finder
  • Pencil


  • Swag hook pack (hook, screw, bolt, and toggle wings)
  • Solid steel plant hook (optional)


How to Hang Plants From Ceiling Joists

  1. Find and Mark the Stud

    Slide the stud finder across the ceiling drywall to locate the stud. Define the width of the stud, then mark that width with two light pencil marks.

  2. Drill a Pilot Hole

    Choose a drill bit half the diameter of the swag hook's pointed, threaded screw attachment. Drill through the ceiling drywall and into the ceiling joist.

  3. Fit the Screw on the Swag Hook

    Turn the screw onto the swag hook. Tighten with your fingers. The screw and swag hook will tighten even more when installed.

    If you're using a plant hook, skip this step since the hook is one solid piece.

  4. Screw the Swag Hook into Ceiling

    By hand, screw the swag hook into the hole in the ceiling. Screw until the base of the swag hook tightens against the ceiling.


    If the screw is difficult to turn, rub candle wax on the screw threads, then try again.

How to Hang Plants From Ceiling Drywall

  1. Find and Mark Two Joists

    Use the stud finder to locate two ceiling joists. Mark their inner edges lightly with the pencil.

  2. Drill a Hole in the Ceiling Drywall

    Consult the swag hook kit's instructions for the size of the hole to drill for the toggle wings. Or close up the wings and use a tape measure to measure the widest part of the wings. Drill a hole in the ceiling drywall to this diameter.


    Avoid seams between drywall sheets. Position the hole elsewhere if it appears to be on a seam.

  3. Fit the Bolt on the Swag Hook

    Turn the bolt onto the swag hook. Tighten first with your fingers, then by holding the bolt with pliers. Fit a scrap of cloth around the bolt to protect the threads.

  4. Fit the Toggle Wings on the Bolt

    Thread the toggle wings onto the bolt. The open part of the "V" shape should be facing the head of the bolt. Turn until the wing unit is about four or five threads up the bolt.

  5. Slide the Swag Hook Bolt into the Hole

    Holding the wing unit shut, slide the bolt and wings into the hole in the ceiling.

  6. Turn the Swag Hook

    Simultaneously, pull down on the swag hook and turn it clockwise. Turn until the swag hook cinches against the ceiling.

When to Call a Professional

A repair service can help you hang plants on your ceiling if you're not comfortable working on ladders or if your home has 10-foot or higher ceilings or vaulted ceilings.