Plant tags/labels

herbantherapy Posts: 453 ✭✭✭✭

How does everyone ID their plants in the garden? I keep trying new ways to put plant tags in my plants but have not found a trued and true yet.

The tin/pencil impression is VERY hard to read.

The sharpie on cut blinds work great for a season and last longer if you use a drip system do they don’t get wet too often.

The laser print tags you get from nurseries crack and break down after a year or so.

My next trial is going to be wood burned stakes coated in polyurethane. But I know the wood will break down eventually. I just hope it lasts longer than one year.

Making new labels every year is awfully time consuming!


  • dottile46
    dottile46 Posts: 437 ✭✭✭

    @herbantherapy have you seen these? I googled the company and they are a bit over a dollar each.

  • dottile46
    dottile46 Posts: 437 ✭✭✭

    Maybe paint it on rocks? Some cute ideas here, not sure how durable.

  • herbantherapy
    herbantherapy Posts: 453 ✭✭✭✭

    @dottile46 I have a ton of those metal label stakes but would need to buy a label maker and labels it might be worth the initial $125 investment, but to convince my hubby we need it is another story! Lol

    I keep forgetting about the rock idea but I’m not sure if it practical all through the garden. As they would be moved all the time to weed under or add mulch or during plant maintenance. And too many moves especially for dormant plants might put them in the wrong spaces. For example I have 22 varieties of dahlias in two beds interplanted with other bulbs and perennials, if they get mixed up I may never remember which one is which....unfortunately I have 6 that all look very similar in color and style (apparently I really like that look! Lol)

    I think the rock idea would be awesome for short term annual gardens like a veggie garden.

  • burekcrew86
    burekcrew86 Posts: 248 ✭✭✭

    I’ve seen some people write with a sharpie on a whittled stick. The top was shaved and flat and they used a sharpie or paint to identify plants. It looked really cute.

  • maimover
    maimover Posts: 359 ✭✭✭
    edited May 2021

    Most of my things are in pots and I use bamboo skewers and wine corks. In the garden we use bamboo stakes and write on them with a sharpie.

  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,640 admin

    I really like the idea of up-cycling wine corks.

  • seeker.nancy - Central Texas
    seeker.nancy - Central Texas Posts: 795 ✭✭✭✭

    I've used Sharpies on the plastic plant stakes you can buy and it fades to unreadable in about a month. I've tried Sharpie on the bigger wood ice cream sticks and coated with nail polish once and with paint once and the moisture gets through anyway and makes the Sharpie run so it still cannot be read. I would like to have a better idea as well, but it needs to be taller, not flat like a rock (although those are adorable!) because the plants get too big. I'd love a better idea but it has to be about free right now lol.

  • Karin
    Karin Posts: 272 ✭✭✭

    I have seen terracotta labels around some places here, I think they would last quite a while if not dropped :)

  • herbantherapy
    herbantherapy Posts: 453 ✭✭✭✭

    @kmartin.mail are they engraved somehow? I can’t imagine how expensive it would be to have special terra cotta labels made. I need variety names too not just “dahlia” I have 22 varieties! That’s just ONE kind of plant. Yikes.

  • lmrebert
    lmrebert Posts: 363 ✭✭✭✭

    @maimover ... that use of wine corks appeals to me greatly LOL!!!

    @dottile46 Thanks for the link!! I have 3 pepper plants that I will once again not know what they are until I get peppers out of them due to my husband transplanting them and pests eating them. They look great but again... no idea which is which !

  • Leediafastje
    Leediafastje Posts: 97 ✭✭✭

    @herbantherapy and @maimover I've purchased and used the white plastic stakes with a sharpie for years (replacing them every year). But, I am now going to use wine corks. What a fantastic recycling idea! I don't even mind that I will still need to - take a deep breathe and tell myself that writing on the corks every year is relaxing 😊

  • shllnzl
    shllnzl Posts: 1,820 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I don't need many labels as I am gardening in pots -- I have been using an excess of wooden chopsticks with marker pen. The trick to using the chopsticks is learning how to write out the name in such a narrow area.

  • DebiB
    DebiB Posts: 92 ✭✭✭

    The best I’ve found for labels is to buy the metal labels and use the black marking pencil that can be ordered with them. Here’s where I bought my labels There are plenty of other places that sell them also but I’ve used them for a few years now with the marking pencil and they haven’t faded yet.

    If I need a temporary tag, I use old blinds cut to size and a sharpie to mark it, then when I’m done with the tag I remove the markings with a little bit of alcohol and reuse it.

    PS not an ad for the company, just letting you know what works for me.

  • Sheila
    Sheila Posts: 108 ✭✭✭

    I have used the metal blind/sharpie for years but I fold the top part of the blind down and write on the inside. Just need to flip it up to see the writing.

  • Melissa Swartz
    Melissa Swartz Posts: 270 ✭✭✭

    @Mary Linda Bittle shared this link in another thread:

    It has an ingenious way of creating plant tags.

  • herbantherapy
    herbantherapy Posts: 453 ✭✭✭✭

    @DebiB and @Melissa Swartz the metal tags rust almost to nothing within a year in my coastal climate but I love those big tags in the video you shared Melissa!

    @maimover how often do you have to reapply the sharpie/plant names? This is a cute idea and would look great by my wine bottle wall! Lol

  • Karin
    Karin Posts: 272 ✭✭✭

    @herbantherapy the ones I have seen at various markets are quite rustic looking - the name would be written in the clay before firing, I'm guessing. But it sounds like you would probably need to get some specially made, as you have so many varieties of plants :)

    I wish I could be more helpful, but it seems nothing lasts long.

  • llvonn
    llvonn Posts: 18 ✭✭✭

    Our local community has a pottery club where members can use the kilns. Firings are done when there is enough to fill the kilns. Making your own is probably cheaper if quantity is an issue. If you don't like the idea of terracotta you could always try polymer clay. They will last some time. You can carve the name in or use stamps. Some can air dry, others can be cured in the oven.