Plant Markers That Last

posted in: Garden Projects, Organization | 9

I bet you are like me and think you have a great memory and will remember where you planted everything.  Well, you just might remember for a day or two, but after you have planted several things I bet you start to forget what is where.

Using plant markers is a fun and educational way to share the names of your garden plants   You can add common and botanical names and any other info you want.  But best of all, this helps you remember where you have planted seeds and bulbs.  There are many types of commercial plant markers you can buy, but it is more fun to make your own.

I have tried all sorts of plant markers … from the old blinds, to popsicle sticks, to painted rocks, to wooden stakes with impressions in them, and on and on.  Some are much better than others.  One of my favourites is slats from mini blinds.  Cut them about 12 cm. long and make one end into a point to easily go into the ground.  With a permanent marker you can add the plant name.  On the back you can add other details, like planting date, colour etc.  I find the marker does wear off by the end of the season.

I love to use things that are available so these flat rocks are perfect.  Wash and dry the rocks thoroughly.  You can either use a permanent marker or some acrylic  paints to add the plant name.  Those of you that are artistic can also add a picture of the plant.   Add the plant name to the underside of the rock too, that way, if the weather fades the printing you can still flip it over and see the name of the plant.

I’ve also been using rocks for plant markers.

When I first planted the tomato plants there was no way to tell if they were the red cherry tomatoes or the yellow cherry tomatoes.  So I painted some rocks either red or yellow and used a small stamp set to add the letters.  When dry I sprayed with a fixative.  They have held up all season and I’ll leave them outside over the winter to see how they stand up.   When the grandkids were young they loved looking at the coloured rocks and knowing what colour the tomatoes would be.

Whimsical markers are made out of old cutlery.  For the fork marker I used a can lid.  My can opener does not leave any sharp edges on the can or lid, so both are reusable.  I cut out the photo from a seed packet and glued it onto the lid.  Cover everything with a clear fixative.  I used a mixture of white glue and water to be sure it was glued on.  You just need to bend the prongs of the fork to hold the lid.

One method that I really liked was labels made on a dymo and fastened to a wooden stake.  But eventually the wood rotted and snapped off at ground level.

I bought some letter and number punches and have used them to make impressions in wood.  These have worked out really well.

letter punches at
punched plant marker at

I had seen some wonderful plant markers in Lee Valley online but I’m one that hates to pay postage for heavy items.  But Lee Valley has free shipping every now and then so I took advantage of it and ordered some for the garden.

These are made of etched zinc and the writing surface is rust proof and you can use a permanent marker, a grease pencil, or a carbon pencil.  I chose to add the plant name using a dymo machine.  The labels were glued  onto the marker surface.  The dymo tape comes in 4 colours (blue, green, black, red) in a pack is sold at office supply stores.

These markers have lasted through the hot, humid summer and the rainy days of Fall.  I left certain ones out over the winter and they survived really well.

One year when I potted up some bulbs in pots and then sank the pot into the ground gave me the idea.  Rings!!  I could just see the tops of the pots.


I’m not always good at remembe’ring’ where I plant seeds and bulbs. The top of the pot showed me exactly where those little bulbs were.  Then while browsing through a garden catalogue I saw that I could buy rings that look like the top of pots, but they were a tad expensive at 3 for $12.  Bing … lightbulb moment!  I could get some for free and with very little effort. Why don’t you make yourself some remembe’ring’ markers.

So I took some empty plastic containers that were going to the recycling and created my own.  I cut off the top of the container and sometimes the bottom too and made some plant marker rings to help me remember.  I’ve got rings of various sizes now, even a tiny one made from a yogurt container.

I just set them into a pot so you could see how they would work.  Just press them into the soil, add the seeds and you will always remember where those seeds were planted.  You can even use a permanent marker to add the name of the seeds to the inside of the ring.  When the seeds grow you can remove the ring and use it some place else.  When they crack or split you can just recycle them and make some more.

growing Deseronto potato beans at

This idea worked really well last year on the Deseronto potato beans.  I tucked the label/package into a sealable plastic bag and used a clothes pin to fasten it to the bamboo pole.  It worked great and was quick and easy to do.

This year I packaged up lots of markers made from old blinds and put them on the swap table at the Seedy Saturdays.  They were a huge success.

It’s almost time to start thinking of planting outside so it’s time to get the plant markers ready.

What is the best homemade plant marker you have ever made?

ABC Wednesday is up to P.  P for plant markers.

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9 Responses

  1. Elaine

    Looks great ! WOW! that’s a lot of plant markers . Wasn’t the weekends weather wonderful . Our temps here got up to 25.4 yesterday it was fantastic . Overcastish lol if that’s even a word today but temps are holding at 17C rain for over night and into tomorrow. Bet you cant wait wait to see all your tagged plants growing . Thanks for sharing , Have a good day !

  2. Margie

    I didn’t realize that there were so many ways to create plant markers. I think my favourite is the ones made from old blinds.

  3. Margy

    I should have done something like you suggested. I started planting my float garden and couldn’t remember how far I put the spinach seeds in and where I should start the onions later in the week. I just may get a mixed crop, but I guess that wouldn’t be so bad. – Margy

  4. ABC Wednesday

    Oh wow what great ideas… never thought of it must admit

    Have a splendid, ♥-warming ABC-Wednes-day / -week
    ♫ M e l ☺ d y ♪ (ABC-W-team)

  5. Su-sieee! Mac

    Reading about your creative markers is getting me to consider making markers when I sow flower seeds. I toss and forget. I like the rings idea a lot. Thank you!

  6. avis starofservice

    I never thought of giving names to my plants, but I think it’s a very good idea. It allows to know them a little better.

  7. Joy

    Hello Linda ! .. These are great ideas that you have for plant markers .. I have the zinc ones .. did the carbon pencil thing .. got most named …
    BUT ? … they are still sitting in my office .. the big thing for me is actually getting them in the ground … now how silly is that ?
    I was so hoping for more rain here in Kingston but over the last two days it hasn’t even reached 1/2 inch mark … I fear we are going to be catapulted into summer and drought conditions yet again … Big sigh !

  8. Noah Enholm

    I have a garden marker from Staedtler. Actually, the plant labels I wrote with this marker are still readable after months of sitting outside. I find it surprising that the ink can endure under varying weather conditions for so long.

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