In Search of the Perfect Garden Plant Marker

big-box garden markers

big-box garden markers

mini-blind plant markers

mini-blind plant markers

Garden markers…really? Is that what I wake up thinking about at 5:00 am on a blustery Saturday morning? There’s no explaining my crazy mind, so I’ll just go with it.

Those who know me won’t be surprised to read this, but I’m really…well..particular. In the course of my gardening odyssey, I’ve used a wide range of markers, and I have yet to find the perfect one.

The perfectly cut mini blinds that were written on with marker? They all faded by the end of the season.

Oddly enough, the yogurt containers cut into garden markers and written on with a marker did not fade, but they were anything but pretty

The little mass-produced sturdy plastic markers that I picked up a garden center? The grease pencil made it through the season, but they were boring…and plastic.

So I’ve set out to find the perfect plant marker. I’m particular, but is it really too much to ask that a veggie or herb marker be pretty, functional, and affordable? I’ll keep you updated with what we choose.

Here are some gorgeous garden markers that are inspiring me.  Each picture below is the property of the individual supplier or artist – click on it to visit their site and each will open in a new window.

If the link doesn’t work or an auction has expired, search each site for that artist to find them. If you see markers you like, you should purchase as soon as possible! It’s gardening season, and stocks will begin to dwindle.

What do you use to mark your vegetable, garden, flower, and herb plants?

Say Your Piece Garden Markers

Say Your Piece Garden Markers on Etsy

Uber Crafter Polymer Clay Garden Markers

Uber Crafter Polymer Clay Garden Markers

Sue Patrick Pottery Garden Labels

Sue Patrick Pottery Garden Labels on Etsy

Bridgman Pottery Stoneware Plant Markers

Bridgman Pottery Stoneware Plant Markers on Etsy

Digging Clay Terra Cotta Garden Markers

Digging Clay Terra Cotta Garden Markers

J Lynn Creations Spoon Garden Markers

J Lynn Creations Spoon Garden Markers on Etsy

My Cakies Chalkboard Paint Garden Markers

My Cakies Chalkboard Paint Garden Markers

Lee Valley Metal Plant Markers

Lee Valley Metal Plant Markers

Licia Pfadt Ceramic Garden Markers

Licia Pfadt Ceramic Garden Markers on Etsy

Clayful Impressions Clay Garden Markers

Clayful Impressions Clay Garden Markers on Etsy

Over the Meadow Copper Herb Garden Markers

Over the Meadow Copper Herb Garden Markers on Etsy

S J Engraving Garden Markers

S J Engraving Garden Markers on Etsy

Reese Dixon Polymer Clay Garden Markers

Reese Dixon Polymer Clay Garden Markers

Paulova Herb Garden Labels

Paulova Herb Garden Labels on Etsy

Wooden Hive Fork Plant Markers

Wooden Hive Fork Plant Markers on Etsy

Earthmarks Clay Garden Markers

Earthmarks Clay Garden Markers

Wit and Whistle Polymer Clay Markers

Wit and Whistle Polymer Clay Markers

Trinity Pottery Garden Markers

Trinity Pottery Garden Markers

Diane Ziegler Vegetable Markers

Diane Ziegler Vegetable Markers on Etsy

Just Work Herb Garden Markers

Just Work Herb Garden Markers on Etsy

*** This personal blog is comprised solely of the opinions, views, projects, and travels of its author, Stacey Morgan Smith. She is lucky enough to have loving family and friends whom she drags along with her on her adventures and whom she puts to work on her little farm. She uses this blog to help promote living in the mountains of the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, from Roanoke to the Potomac River.**

10 comments to In Search of the Perfect Garden Plant Marker

  • I so agree with you that garden/veggie stakes should be practical and also pretty. I’m also a sucker for bright colors so I really like the Uber Crafter Polymer Clay Tomato one.

  • I’ve tried all manner of homemade markers too, and by the time things are ready to harvest, I can no longer read them. The problem is I don’t need markers to tell me the type of vegetable, I need markers for each individual plant so I can remember the variety – and that varies year to year and would be very expensive to buy a pretty marker each time. *sigh* I’ll probably stick to Popsicle sticks and plastic strips. I sure do love those engraved spoons though!

    • I’m with you — I can tell corn from tomatoes (of course), but I can’t tell my “martian giant slicers” from my “mortgage lifters” when they’re babies :-) I tend to plant the same “tried and true” varieties each year (with a few test ones thrown in), so I would probably get a lot of reuse out of markers if I could only find the perfect one.

      I’ve used Mother Earth News’ Garden Planner for two years now, and I absolutely love it. It plays well to my OCD, and I can carry the printout with me if I really need to know what’s what, and I didn’t need markers last year because of it.

      My mother in law gave me a small kiln a few years ago. I should try to get that up and running and maybe make some clay makers. I’m drawn to those!

  • Kelly

    All those are great but if you are looking for the best I have found was ones I sort of made myself. I got a few old mini blinds from yard sales, trash piles, thrift stores and the like. I had about 2 or 3 by then time I sat down with them all. I de-strung each blind. Discarded everything but the blind slats themselves. All of mine were plastic I should state. I cut each slat into 5 sections. Will depend on width though, these I had were very wide. You may find when using a sharpie on some you may have to sand them too. I got tons of them this way. By the time your plants are spent you can even recycle them for the next crop. Just rotate upside down or backwards. You can use these four or plus times. HUGE BONUS: you saved it from a landfill too!

    • Hi, Kelly, I think you missed my third paragraph. I tried the mini blinds a few times, but they always fade for me by the end of the season (or sooner for the short plants) when I use a Sharpie. I did think about trying Nymo labels but never tested it — seemed pricy for the labels. I first read about them in “Square Foot Gardening” in 2003. I do use them, though, for seed starting. I cut them in half longways and then cut them short — cheap and perfect for that use. Thanks for stopping by! (Oh, and I never labeled anything this year… next year I must!!)

  • hi, Stacey, thanks for picking my herb markers for part of your listing. I think I can credit you with a few of my sales this month! Thank you so much.

  • Nell

    The most permanent and unobtrusive yet low-cost markers I’ve seen are the ones at Viette’s (in the iris and peony rows, and maybe elsewhere): chunky square wood stakes; the name is burned in. I’m assuming the wood is locust or cedar or some other rot-resistant and plentiful lumber.

    Have meant to try making some for years now, but neither of us has even the beginnings of woodworking skills or tools…

    • Nell, burning is a great idea — thank you for sharing! I may try with some tongue depressors. I’ve used a Sharpie marker and three coats of Krylon clear spray in the hopes of getting the depressors through the season this year. I may give burning a try and work on cedar markers over the winter for next year’s garden. And thank you for sharing Viettes! I love finding new-to-me gardens, nurseries, and greenhouses in the area. Now I have a new place to go. Thanks for stopping by!

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>