I love a good plant marker. They help organize the garden, add an educational aspect for on-lookers, and provide the botanical garden-feel to your own personal garden.
Taxonomy (the science of naming) is critical to our deeper understanding of plants. With so many wonderful plants in the world, it can be difficult to describe a plant to someone else without knowing at least the common name. When you have a plant that’s suffering, you might just need to know the name to look up the information to correct the issue. This is why it is extra helpful to learn plant names!
People often use those white plastic makers you can find cheap at any gardening store (including our own!) to label their garden. Those can be an eye-sore in your lovely garden, so I recommend that you actually make your own.
Making your own plant markers gives you creative freedom to make them look how you would like. In addition, going the do-it-yourself route saves you money and can be a great way to reuse materials you can easily find lying around. (We LOVE a sustainable hack!) It’s also just a lot of fun to act like a kid again and have those creative juices flowing.
So grab the kiddos (or take some time for yourself) and let’s get crafting!
Keep the markers as specific (or non-specific) as you would like.
Standard practice for labeling usually includes listing the common name and variety. For example, “Tomato – yellow pear”. But you could also add the scientific name and maybe even a fun fact. Like…”Solanum lycopersicum – Yellow Pear Tomato. Indeterminate.” Here I have listed the scientific name, the variety, and its growth type. It’s all up to you though!
Have fun with this activity & never forget the name of that special cultivar again! Here are some of our favorite examples…
Start saving the cork anytime you finish a bottle of wine.
Simply drill a hole in one side of the cork, insert a wooden skewer in the hole, and write your plant’s name on the cork in sharpie or with a paint pen. You could even paint the whole cork and then write the name on top for an extra pop!
Once finished, insert the skewer in the soil, and voila!
Source: Cambria Estate Winery
PAINT STIR STICKS
For this one, you just need some stir sticks, paint or chalkboard paint, paintbrushes, and chalk or a chalkpen (if chalkboard paint is used).
Paint the stick with a base color of paint or chalkboard paint. Wait to dry and then write out your plant names in chalk or a different colored pain. After drying, place your brand-new plant markers out in the garden!
Source: Handmade in the Heartland
Paint the whole clothespin or just write the plant name directly on the wood.
Clip them sideways onto skewers that can be stuck in the soil or clip directly on a gardening pot vertically.
This is a super quick DIY!
Source: Never Enough Thyme
BROKEN CLAY POTS
Broken pots are a common casualty of gardening. Next time this happens to you, don’t throw it out in defeat. Instead, use those broken pieces to label your plants.
Sand down any jagged edges, write the name of your plant on the top edge with paint and a paintbrush (or a paint marker for easier writing). Bury the bottom of the pot in the soil with the named edge poking out above.
It’s really that simple & saves these broken guys from ending up in the landfill for hundreds of years.
Source: Hardly Housewives
After you’ve collected some sticks, shave down one end until you have a flat edge. This can be done with a sharp knife of a vegetable peeler. Just make sure to whittle away from yourself (safety first guys).
Once you have a flat edge you can write a plant’s name on it with a marker, stamps, or a wood burning tool.
A great way to use some of those sticks you know you’d throw away when cleaning up the yard!
Source: Stone Gable
You can paint any random rocks you find to mark your garden beds. Acrylic paints and paint pens work best for this.
Paint them to resemble the plant itself or create a pretty design. Just don’t forget to write the plant’s name out as well!
Place the rock in your garden bed just in front of the plant it is marking.
Source: West Valley Mom’s Blog
Pick your favorite of these or mix-&-match different styles. It’s your garden, make it look how you want! Remember, it’s nice to mark more than just your vegetable garden. Help your kids and friends with their knowledge of plant names by labeling your ornamental flower beds and trees too. I challenge you to label your entire garden with recycled materials you have laying around your house.