Easy Garden Plant Markers

I love gardening. It is a joy to putter around in the dirt, prettying up the yard. Then there are plant sales! The endless possibilities for transforming boring grass into a fantasy oasis! My favorites are Master Gardener sales, full of less common plants at affordable prices. Unfortunately, I am also a lazy gardener. When plants – eventually – get planted, they may get forgotten after the initial watering in. Usually my weeding is haphazard, and mulching is random. Then comes the inevitable guessing game in Spring called “What did I plant here?” (there is a similar game called “Did I plant this, or is it a weed?”). Assuming the plant tag got planted with the plant, it is a crap-shoot if it survives winter, intact and readable. Finally wising up to the intelligence of labeling my plants, I set to work on making some easy garden plant markers.

Maybe tall phlox?  Hard to tell by this faded tag.
Maybe tall phlox? Hard to tell by this faded tag.

Because I save everything, a pile of broken and whole tiles and pottery was available. Larger, whole tiles were for plants I had a lot of legible information on, smaller bits were for more generic names. After grabbing my pile of Sharpies and a can of spray sealant, I was ready.

Easy garden plant markers using small pieces of broken pottery
It was fun using different colored tiles and markers

The first go at plant markers I used different Sharpie colors, which was fun. After labeling, I gave the tiles two coats of spray sealant before putting them in the plant beds. It was fun seeing the pops of color they gave the early spring garden.

Unfortunately, my permanent markers are not so permanent, even with sealant. They started fading almost immediately from the sun. Grrr.

plant marker faded from the sun
Faded to almost nothing after 2 days in the sun!

Back to square one. After searching the internet, I found this marker that Gardener’s Supply Company ranks as the best for outdoors. But, since my markers were fading fast (and I had removed the original plant markers for reference – oops), I did not have time to order it online. My local hardware store had this marker available, which seemed to fit the bill.

Testors marker is actually waterproof!
The Testors marker is actually waterproof!

Happily, this marker has not faded at all so far. Even better, the markers work great! They were easy and fast to make, and I like how they look among the plants. When everything is just coming up in spring they will be really visible. However, as the plants get bigger, the markers should fade into the background. I am extremely happy that I finally got around to coming up with a plant marker that works for me. Sometimes those random sparks of motivation fuel the best ideas…speaking from experience.

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