Plant Markers 101

Let’s all face it……most plant markers don’t last forever. In fact, most markers don’t last a month.

Plant markers break. They get lost. They get buried. They fall over. They fade. They are carried off by children, and then your prized “Miss Mary’s Oxblood Lilies” now label a patch of Bermuda grass in your neighbor’s yard.

Plant markers simply don’t last.

But…….I’m a lover of garden-art. I still like the idea of labeling all of my bulbs. Maybe it is the garden-nerd in me, but there is something so cool about browsing through a plant shop or botanical garden, with all the plants meticulously labeled. So I just keep hunting for the “next best” plant marker. Here are some of my thoughts about the plant markers out there (many of which I’ve tried)

1. Metal Markers……my first big splurge in the garden over twenty years ago. All my Antique Roses had their names beautifully displayed with these ‘A framed’ metal markers. Within a year, I couldn’t even read my own writing. The flimsy coat-hanger style markers broke, and within a few years, .

2. Chalkboard Markers…..broke right in half in a week. I think my husband stepped on one, but he denies it.

3. Plasic Markers…, there’s a bunch of money I will never see again!  The writing quickly faded, even with permanent ink. The markers became brittle in the sun, and soon I had  bits of broken white plastic markers all through the garden. Not environmentally friendly either. Nice……..

4. Texas-Shaped Metal Markers…….I paid $1.00 each for these bad boys. The word “Native” is engraved onto the marker, so even as all my writing faded, I still had that going for me. These markers come in different shapes, but I chose Texas (they were on sale). They bend over time, but still are alive and well in the garden. Most of these markers I find while digging. It is like treasure hunting in my own garden.  Somehow, the markers reside about a foot below ground level…..not sure why.

5. Wooden Markers…….I tried to use old barn wood from the drug house I tore down (long story). The markers rotted with a year. The wood was cool, but I guess the wood was too old.

6. Popsicle Stick Plant Markers……save these for your potted plants that don’t get watered often. These little markers are cute, but will break if you breathe too hard, or if you look at them the wrong way. Apparently, popsicle sticks are temperamental.

6. Bamboo Craft Sticks……my newest attempt in marking plants. I’m in love. I got the entire package of 45 sticks for $3 bucks. (Almost as good as Two Buck Chuck from Trader Joes!!) I took a black permanant marker and went to town. So far, so good. For pictures of these markers, check out my Facebook or Instagram page. They are simple, but my favorite plant markers so far.

7. Nursery-grade Antique Plant Markers……LOVE THESE!!!!!!! I had a chance to get about 200 once, for ten cents each. Like a dummy, I procrastinated. I heard later that they ended up in the trash. I still haven’t gotten over it. These old markers are usually expensive and hard to find. Don’t wait. Just buy.

If you have other good, hardy ideas for plant markers, I’d love to hear about them. Please email me at

My email is working again (it hasn’t since the flood)

Happy Gardening, my friends!!