The No-Fail Garden Label
If you're a gardener, you most likely use plant labels, especially for vegetable plants or perennials.
Sure, you might know what they are at maturity, but what about when they're seedlings and you're trying to decide where best to put them? Or what about when perennials go dormant, looking more like scruffy weeds than a plant worth keeping?
You need labels.
And therein lies the problem.
Labels are ethereal subject to the ravages of weather and UV rays.
For years, I've tried all manner of ink and paint to mark up my labels. Yet before the season was over, they long since faded away.
A permanent marker is the handiest. Most of us have some sort of indelible ink rattling around in our junk drawers, but it has the shortest lifespan in the world of UV rays and weather.
It has a relatively long life indoors away from harsh light and I sometimes use them when starting seeds. But there's no point in moving that label outdoors. I'd just be wasting my time.
Paint markers have a little more durability, but they too will wear away after a few months. I've never been particularly fond of paint markers because they do dry up quicker. At least that's been my experience.
Embossing or burning the name of your plant onto metal or wood slats is definitely a more permanent solution, but it's time consuming and expensive to get the tools to embed your message.
My go-to solution are china markers. You might know them as wax pencils. They are cheap and easy to find.
I've experimented with every sort of writing tool, but a china marker is the only thing to withstand Texas sun and harsh weather.
They don't have a nice fine tip like permanent markers, but unless you have gorilla penmanship, it's good enough to be legible.
When it comes to a writing surface, I like plastic. While you can buy perfectly shaped plastic stakes you can also make them from trash.
Some people make them from plastic empties like butter tubs. I don't like having to cut around difficult shapes, so I use plastic window blinds. You might be able to clip off a few from the bottom of an existing blind (where the missing slats won't be noticed. You can also find them at garage sales for next to nothing.
I actually scored four large blinds for free at a garage sale. They'll probably keep me in labels for the rest of my life.
If neither of these options are good for you, you can always buy them ready made.
Garden markers are generally made of plastic, wood, or metal, but I've also seen them in ceramic and stone.
Some people are creative and make plant labels from stones, shards of pottery, and canning lids.
practical lazy for that.
That said, I like to make the effort if it's a perennial that takes center stage. For plants that are out in the open for anyone to see, I'll use metal stakes.
I still write on it with a china marker, but the metal stake looks more aesthetically pleasing.
Do you label your plants or are you a free spirit?
Oh, and if you're a free spirit with a sense of humor, might I suggest these funny markers. Check them out. They're hilarious!
And I almost forgot! It's my birthday. This one's kind of a milestone year. I feel blessed to still have working parts despite being out of warranty. 😏