Creative Garden Markers

Do you plant a garden every year? If so, what do you like to grow?  Veggies, herbs, flowers? Do you like to use garden markers to mark each plant?

At our previous house we had a big garden in the backyard where we planted peppers, lettuces, potatoes, squash, cukes, tomatoes and many herbs.

At our new house, we don’t have as much space to plant a big garden, but the previous owner did have a well-tended patch and lots of planters filled with herbs and other plants in the side yard that I am enjoying having.

Here in the south, we could plant much earlier than we were used to and already have a few tomatoes on the vines.

how to make garden and plant markers

When I have a lot of plants and herbs to tend to, I like to label each with a plant marker. Over the years I have made my own and have picked up a few store bought styles as well.

This year is no different. I have found that garden markers only last a year or two. With the sun and outdoor elements beating down on them, they don’t last long. So I buy or make a new batch each year.

metal herb markers

Early this spring, I bought colorful metal herb markers that I thought would last a long time.

I was wrong, the paint the herb names are written with have already started to get blurry and can be easily wiped right off. :-(   I like these markers, I bought them at Ace Hardware, but will have to use a white paint pen to redo each marker as the original herb names wear away.

Since even the store bought plant markers didn’t last 2 months, I thought I would show you another type I have found as well as a few ways I have made my own plant markers.

inexpensive garden markers

I found these painted wood markers in the dollar aisle at Michaels last week.  I bought a few packs…

garden markers from Michaels

…and used a paint marker to write the plant name on.

They look pretty and are effective. I am sure by summer’s end they will be sun-bleached and the wood, water rotted, but for a $1.50 a pack I am OK with the one planting season use.

Creative garden marker ideas

The easiest way to make your own garden markers is to use a cork and a wooden skewer. Easy to get both of these right in your kitchen.

creative ideas for garden markers
The sun does fade the herb names even when written with a permanent marker, but are easy to re-write.

DIY garden markers made with an oj can lid

About 6 years ago I wanted to find a way to recycle metal OJ lid cans. I came up with an idea to make pretty garden markers with them.

Garden markers made from OJ can lids

The names do fade on these, too, but they do look pretty in a garden. You can find the tutorial here: Jewelry for Your Garden

garden markers to make

Last week I came up with another idea using wood craft sticks and metal label holders used for scrapbooking. 

How to Make Plant and Garden Markers

tools ned to make garden markers

supplies needed:

  • wood craft sticks
  • Metal scrapbook label holders (scrapbook aisle at Michaels)
  • Awl and small hammer
  • Label maker

metal label holder garden markers

The label holders fit perfectly on the wood craft sticks.

vegetable and herb markers for gardens

I decided to use the label maker tape that is made to hold up for a long time. I used the tape to label the swimming pool valves at our previous house and they held up for years.

Once I printed out the herb names on the label tape, I attached them to the craft sticks.

garden and herb plant markers to make

I used the little tacks that came with the metal label holders. I used an awl to make the two holes needed to attach them into the craft stick.  I used a small hammer to gently tap the point of the awl into the wood.

garden and plant markers

You may not need to do this if the point of the awl is very sharp. I did end up cracking a few craft sticks at first, but once I got the hang of gently tapping, I was able to make the holes without splitting the craft stick.


Once the points of the tacks are though the craft stick, I bent them to the back of the craft stick to secure.

how to make plant markers

All done.

Make your own garden markers

Like all the plant markers I have bought, made and used, I am sure these won’t last forever, but they do add some style to my garden and herb planters.

What do you use to mark your plants?  Have you found any that are pretty and last for more than a year?

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  1. Maybe when you plant the seeds you need the markers, but once everything has sprouted they are superfluous. If someone cannot tell the sage from the parsley, they need to go find a different hobby!

  2. Emma Green says:

    Thank you for sharing!

  3. This year I used wood craft sticks and just wrote on them with a permanent marker. I love all of your ideas – the juice lids and the wood sticks are my favorite. Although my markers are plain, they do look good in my water trough raised beds. I put a few plates at the head of each bed which I’ll leave in as long as they can be seen. I also put tiny terra cotta flower pots on top of my bean, pickle, and morning glory trellises. Everything has a really cute country farm vibe.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Jenny – I love your idea of using plates, your garden sounds so pretty with raised beds and trellises. What a delight it must be for you to tend to it.

  4. I’m new to gardening but a neighbor who is a master gardener said he uses spikes he cuts out of yogurt containers and then a label maker to make the plant names just as you did with the Michaels stakes. We live in Oregon where the weather can also be challenging. He said his last for several seasons. Good luck!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Janet – Love the idea of making garden spikes from yogurt containers…recycling at its best. Thanks for sharing the idea.

  5. I like the cork and skewer idea as well. I have a bad history of putting my foot down directly on top of the garden markers. When the weeds start growing- it’s hard to see the labels.
    We have some amazing Dahlias. They seem to do very well in our yard. Given that our yard is mostly clay-it’s exciting to find things that grow well.

    We have raised beds for: garlic, tomato, cucumber, yellow/green squash. In the yard y husband planted: asparagus, raspberries, peanuts and ginger- we’ll see how those do.

    I love seeing everything blooming and growing- but all the labor to keep it going…Luckily my husband is very committed.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Kat – I feel lucky, too that my husband is very committed to the garden too. He takes charge of the veggies, I usually do the herbs and flowers. We tried asparagus for a few years, but it never did very well. We had great success with kale and lettuces. We never tried peanuts or ginger. I hope they do well for you and your garden flourishes….and not too many weeds. :-)

  6. Sheryll $ Critters. says:

    I don’t have anything plantred this year yet, but I love all your ideas. I remember when you made the jewelry and still think they are gorgeous. I am thinking the label ones will last the longest.

  7. Mary Heicher says:

    Hi Diane,
    I do like the cork and skewer idea,
    and the wooden ones from Michael’s seem to be a bargain.
    Being in the South, things really don’t last outside. Even my resin
    Gnome needs painted every couple years from the sun fading him.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Mary – Love the sun, but it does fade everything fast. I am sure your Gnome enjoys getting a new life with paint every few years. :-)