Favorite Garden Marker

Pauline(z7 B.C)April 10, 2001

It's time for me to obtain some new garden markers. I have been using the zinc rose markers up til now. However, even using the special pencil made for them, eventually the writing becomes illegible. What is your favorite garden marker, why, and where do you get them?

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Hi Pauline. I noticed no one has responded to your post. I posted the same question over in the rose forum and received lots of good information, so if you haven't made a decision, look over there and see if that helps.


    Bookmark   April 13, 2001 at 8:47PM
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I happen to own a drapery and blind store and since I couldn't find any decent markers I came up with a idea last summer. I took some vinyl vertical slats(they sell for about $5 or $6 for a 84 inch length at local shops) and then I cut them into marker size with a pointed end with sharp scissors. I went to a art store and purchased a permenent liquid ink pen and wrote the names of the plants on them and it worked perfectly. This spring the markers were in perfect condition after the winter. It might be a little more effort, but for $15 or $20 you'll have lots of markers. Hope this helps.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2001 at 12:34PM
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Kind of tacky but works, heavy aluminum foil folded a couple of times and when you write on it with a ballpoint pen imbeds the name.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2001 at 11:41PM
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Last year I tried something unique with golf tees. Some tees have a circular base around them that let you only stick the tee 'so far' into the ground. I used the circular base to name the plant and stuck the markers in at the foot of each plant. People seem to really enjoy the way they turned out but I consider them more of a hassle than anything else - most of them have worked thier way back out of the ground and the rest all got picked up during annual raking chores. This year I went with a standard plastic T-shaped sign that I picked up at Harvey's Mill in Carson-City, MI. I've never had trouble when using a permanent marker to write on plastic (Sanford Sharpie brand is the best). I was also recently introduced to the 'mini-blind slats' idea at a Michigan Master Gardener meeting I attended. Most everyone knows someone with a couple blinds in thier garage simply going to waste and if you do it right you could get hundreds and hundreds of markers out of one mini-blind. Not as 'showy' as other options but certainly economical and a good idea for other forgetful gardeners like me. Good Luck.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2001 at 3:27PM
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Sanford's Sharpee is the most permanent marking pen for me, too. Cutting labels from the plastic milk containers works well but it is a bit tedious to make. You can make them to desired size, but make them long enough to go a good ways into the ground, then they stay well. They are not brittle the next spring like the plastic markers I have purchased from nursery catalogs. Another marker that does not get brittle over the winter is the ones that come in the pot when you buy plants - I use the Sharpee ultra-fine point and write on the back.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2001 at 10:37AM
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I finally went to Michaels and purchased a china marker. This seems to last hasn't faded yet. I also use the mini-blinds.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2001 at 12:22PM
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My Mom uses the mini-blind bits and seems to have good luck.
I find most of my markers get heaved up, so I keep a Garden Diary and draw maps and locate plants in there. I found a
hosta that way last Spring, it was late showing up.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2001 at 2:02PM
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Dtkaty(z8b Houston, TX)

I rescued a whole set of mini blinds from my neighbors trash pile several yrs ago & cut them into 6" pieces. I'll have plant markers for life!

I poke a hole in one end of them & attach them around the base of the plant with twist ties. That way the dogs dont pull them out of them ground & they dont disappear quite so easily.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2001 at 1:27PM
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Right now I am using wooden tongue depressors, $8 for a pack of 1000 (or was it 500?) at your medical supply store. Like giant popsicle sticks, there is lot of room for date, name. For seeds I like to write on the date it is expected to come up. Still working on the best pen to use, the china marker is good. A Hard (H) Pencil lasts a long time and also bends the wood so in worst case you can rub and still see the letters.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2001 at 12:24AM
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I am going to try the miniblind trick (as I have a broken one sitting in the garage as I write). But I have also heard of taking the plastic picnic knives, writing your information on the handle, and sticking the blade into the ground...


    Bookmark   June 9, 2001 at 1:42AM
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Having gardened for years I became tired of loosing markers and tired of having inks and every other type of markers fade. Nothing is so awful as buying an expensive plant and a couple years later not being able to find it's name or the marker. Take Pepsi cans, cut out the top and bottom and then cut the can lengthwise into about 6 to 8 pieces (as wide or narrow as you wish). bend about an inch under on one end (so you have a double layer) and punch a whole in that end with a paper punch. Use galvanized wire (fairly heavy) and cut about 12 inch lenghts. Bend over one end to make an oval (this keeps the tag from slipping off the wire) and put the wire through the hole in your tags. Using a ball point pen you can engrave the plant name, etc. onto the Pepsi can label. Put a book under the tag as you write on it. This tag will never fad and should not disapear if you insert the wire 10 inches or so in the ground near or in the plant and are careful not to rake it out when cleaning the garden.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2001 at 2:08AM
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I use something more permanent...slate. They make them with the names of the plant already on it. You can pick them up at some large gardening shows (not all), or online. The link is below:

Here is a link that might be useful: Slate Garden Markers

    Bookmark   May 30, 2002 at 7:30PM
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BarbC(8 coastal SC)

A small smooth rock, paint the name on and clear coat it so it won't wash off.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2002 at 3:15AM
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I've tried all kinds and I like the Lee Valley the best. They look great yet they don't draw attention to themselves. I then use a Brother P-4 to make labels to insert in the holders. Permanent, legible and attractive.

Here is a link that might be useful: Lee Valley Garden Markers

    Bookmark   June 8, 2002 at 10:44AM
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I saw a unique (to me) idea at a local Craft Show here near B'ham (Homestead Hollow). Craftsman had used old silver-plate dinner knife and wrote name of plant on blade. Only thing: stick it in the ground and name is lost but still looks cute, lying near plant or stuck only a little way into the ground.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2002 at 1:50PM
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Tris(z3/4 MN)

I am trying the knives stuck in the ground idea because the deer wander thru my garden all winter and my blind markers are always lying on the ground. Hope these stay in place. I found the knives in a thrift store for 10 cents each

    Bookmark   August 1, 2002 at 5:38PM
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sunrisegirl(8a East Tx)

I vote for the pepsi can, or I should say coke can. I've been making these and they look good and last good. Plus+++ something gets re-cycled and not wasted. That is always good.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2002 at 10:03PM
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Kathy547(z8 AR)

Besides the mini-blinds with permanent marker, you can also do the following:

tongue depressers
paint stirrers
Get plastic laminating sheets, not adhesive shelf paper. Print the plant information on squares of paper. Remove the protective layer from one laminating sheet, lay it sticky side up, and arrange the paper squares so that you leave approximately 1/2 to 3/4 inch of space on the sides and bottom and at least 1 inch on the top. Then apply a second laminating sheet, sticky side down, sandwiching the paper squares between the 2 sheets. Cut out the individual labels and use a paper hole puncher to make a hole about 1/2 inch from the top of each label. Use a twist tie to hang the label from the plant. Or fasten the label to a metal stake that you stick in the pot or into the ground.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2002 at 6:11PM
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elks(US5 Can6)

Mini blinds with pencil. They can even be erased and reused.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2003 at 8:02AM
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iracountrygirl(z6/7 East Tenn.)

I use good sized river rock. I wash them and then use the paint pens to put the name of the plant on the front and misc. info on the back like date, price, who gave me if it was gift or trade. Then I spray with clear outdoor sealer. So far I haven't had any problems with them. I keep my information written down and make these over the winter when I need something to do anyway. They look more natural than some of the other markers and I like that.


Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   August 30, 2003 at 11:35AM
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You should check out this site www.dpind.com
They have all kinds of plant labels.
You can buy in bulk and I think they are adding smaller quantities. There is a great pen too! Works much better than anything else I've ever used!! Everyone hates trying to read a faded plant label. This will solve that problem.

Here is a link that might be useful: dpind.com

    Bookmark   November 1, 2005 at 11:09AM
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Carole39(Z-5 OH)

I printed out double sided color pictures 4" by 4" with their info for my roses and some perennials and laminated them with clear pkg. tape...they may only last this season, we'll see, and they are a little too big, but it is nice to look at them in the snow.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2005 at 3:56PM
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gardeners_hands(8, coastal WA)

Sorry if this is a repeat; I 'stole' this idea from someone else: buy new CLEAN tiny, tiny clay pots. The sort too small to really keep something alive, usually at Michael's or other big craft stores the 2" across are 3/$1.00. Wash and dry them throughly. Must be bone-dry. Write the plant name & info with a sharpie, paint a pretty design on remainder with exterior paints (I always have cans and cans of mark-down house paint I use for birdhouses.) Spray with clear sealer.

Take a nice heavy-duty wire clothes hanger, not the wimpy ones the drycleaner gives you. Untwist neck, with pliers ball up the whole hook/neck area and feed wire through pot so that the ball becomes a stopper inside the little pot. Gently curve the wire from the pot up and then down - making a large 'C' shape. Now when you thrust the end of the wire deeply into the ground the little pot dangles and even bobs a bit like a large snowdrop or bluebell.
I haven't done any yet but after I saw them so nicely done by an aquaintance - they are definately on my back burner.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2006 at 11:45AM
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If you're looking for something a bit more showy, sign companies should be able to create just about any size marker for you. They can be printed or engraved.

Here is a link that might be useful: Printed Garden Markers

    Bookmark   July 9, 2009 at 12:23PM
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albert_135(Sunset 2 or 3)
    Bookmark   June 13, 2010 at 5:02PM
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I use metal strapping to make permanent name tags for my perennials.
I get the metal strapping free from a company here in town.

I use metal cutters and cut the strapping to about a 8" length....spray with paint to keep from rusting.

With my Brother PT labeller I use the extra adhesive labels and make up the labels I want to use. Here are some daylily labels for the new daylilies I got this summer.

Then, I attach the labels to the newly sprayed metal strapping tags...

And....place in front of the perennial in the flowerbed.

These tags should last for years and years. They are sturdy, look neat and professional, and each cost about $.40 to make (the label being the cost).


    Bookmark   November 9, 2010 at 11:50AM
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I use metal markers from Paw Paw Everlast Label Co. and labels made on the Brother label maker. I find that so-called permanent markers and garden pens fade within a year or two. The Brothers labels have the print inside a plastic coating (don't know how that works, but it does) so there is no surface that fades. The labels are neat and look nice. Paw Paw Everlast Label Co. has markers in several styles and sizes, and the more you buy, the cheaper they are. If you belong to a garden club, you can get friends to order together, and save a lot of money.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2011 at 7:16PM
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I also like Paw Paw Labels but didn't want to have to buy a labeler & tape ext. I just wanted a few for my herb garden. I did find a web site (www.nickiadkins.com) that allows you purchase just a few. It was relatively cheap, and you can customize your message before you order.

Here is a link that might be useful: nickiadkins.com

    Bookmark   March 30, 2011 at 1:24PM
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I love the engraved markers by Harlane Company. www.harlane.com

Here is a link that might be useful: Harlane Company

    Bookmark   April 9, 2011 at 5:06PM
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if you like the original garden visiting this blog you will find Variety of pots very nice and original:

Here is a link that might be useful: BEAUTY POTS

    Bookmark   July 29, 2013 at 5:33PM
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