01 May 2011

Plant tags for the frugal

Over the years, I have bought many types of plant tags to accomodate the hundreds of seedlings I grow every year from seed and from cuttings. I've used plastic spoons and knives marked with liquid paint pens, slices of plastic milk cartons and masking tape, florist tape, etc.

The plastic silverware doesn't work long term because they come out of the ground and end up 20 feet from the plant. I regularly ask plant friends for help identifying things as they are emerging.

Buying commercial plant tags is too expensive for the number that I need. What have you tried that works for your gardening methods?

Here's the best method so far. Jerry Gustafson (my plant friend and always-patient advisor) told me that his friend Hugh Stout at Stout Gardens uses this Brothers printer and the tags last for years at his garden. Jerry uses the printed tags on clear plastic knives. But, I find that on our hill the knives do not stay in place after rains.

So now I use plastic cards - expired membership cards, free credit cards, hotel pass keys and similar stuff that cannot be recycled any other way.


Each credit card will become 3 plant tags with just the right length to use in starter pots and put into our rocky ground and stay where I put them.

Today I'm transplanting a hundred butterfly bush seedlings that I grew from seed for Nelson Myers who brought the seed back from an east coast vacation. Since I'm planting the seedlings in strips of 1-inch starter trays, I need at least 6 for each batch ... an easy task using this method.

I'd love to hear about your ideas, tag sources, etc.

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