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making plant id markers

Black Creek, WI

I plan on starting several veggies and flowers for my garden and pots next year and was searching ways to make plant markers, and came across directions on how to make some from broken mini blinds, just cut them to the desired length and cut 1 end to a point and write on it with a permanant marker....good news is I have a broken blind I can use.

Dublin, CA(Zone 9a)

Be careful with the permanent marker...things like Sharpies are resistant to water but will fade out within a season from sun exposure if you continue to use them when you move your seedlings outdoors. They sell special garden markers which are more resistant to UV damage, I'm not sure how long those last, but I've had some going for 2 years now and they're showing no signs of fading yet.

Mackinaw, IL(Zone 5a)

I've also read that some older blinds, particularly ones made in China, are very high in lead, so you'd want to avoid using those for vegetables or other edibles.

I've seen the blinds idea before--someone suggested checking with a store that sells them, as they cut them to size on-site, and often have piles of the cut-off ends to give away!

I'll second what Ecrane said about Sharpies--mine faded are unreadable after only a couple of months. The plant-marking pen I got is still readable, as is the paint pen. There are also White-Out pens that work great for writing on dark surfaces, like pots or dk green garden markers. I've even used it to label my paring knife at work, and it has survived 4 years of going through the dishwasher!

Black Creek, WI

Thanks for telling me about the markers, I picked one up on sale today. I think the blind I have should be ok It is less than 2 years old but my kids broke a couple of the slats out of it.

Benton, KY(Zone 7a)

A plain pencil lasts nearly forever too.

Laie, HI

mmmm. thanks for the tip on alternatives to sharpies......I mark my seeds then by the time they come up the writing has fadded out already and I am scratching my head trying to remember what they are. I cut up plastic gallon milk bottles to make markers for seedlings or for selling pot plants but I think the blinds are an even better idea.

Lula, GA(Zone 7b)

The blinds didn't work so well for me: it seemed the surface did not hold the ink well. I broke down and bought a box of 1000 labels. I did this after marking dozens of dayliies in my late father's garden (as to color) using a black Sharpie and blinds -- the next spring, I had lots of plastic blind markers that were blank. I could have cried!

RE: markers. Sharpies do fade, big time. I found that grease pencils aka China Markers are the best. You can get them at hobby stores or art suppliers. They're inexpensive and last forever. Stick with black.

Clinton, CT(Zone 6b)

So that is why a dahlia grower used pencil to identify seedlings. Seemed rather chintzy at the time but I have had them outside for almost two months now and they are as legible as when I put them out.

Winston Salem, NC

I'm using rocks and seashells to make plant markers. I've always had trouble with wood and the fancy ones are too expensicve and fall over. Have used yogurt containers too but then don't hold up well either.

There are special markers for plant labels which work much better than magic markers which will fade.

Blackshear, GA(Zone 8a)

Hi, I have been using the commercial sharpie markers. They are UV and cost less than the special markers. They are also sold in a package of three. So far no fading. André

North Augusta, SC

You might try using aluminum markers.
You can't beat the price (free), and even if the "permanent" marker fades, you can still read the information recorded on the tags.

Thumbnail by Bluebirder3
Chalfont, PA(Zone 6b)

I love the aluminum can idea! Brilliant.

Fort Worth, TX(Zone 8a)

For temporary id, I've also used plastic forks, spoons, and knives with a sharpie. I sink the written end mostly into the ground so I can read it later, because as someone mentioned before it'll fade. For more permanent use, I use metal mini blinds cut and written on with a plain ol' #2 pencil. This year, I'm going to buy some of EON markers and use my waterproof labels. There's a co-op going on for the markers until May 1st. I got my labels last year in a co-op.

Calgary, AB(Zone 3a)

I bought a paint pen from a craft store and it works the best. No fading and goes on anything.

Winston Salem, NC(Zone 7b)

I cut clear plastic soda bottles into strips, w/ one diagonal end, and use the commercial sharpies. I like that the clear plastic isn't noticeable from a mile away.

Owosso, MI(Zone 5b)

This may be late I just came upon this thread but I use large plastic vinegar bottles and cut the top and bottom around off of it leaving me the round middle part of the bottle which is very smooth. I then fold it in half and cut it on both sides and then fold those halfs into and continue to do this until you have strips that measure about 5 1/2 inch long by 1 1/4 wide.

Then I cut it into a point on the bottom of each strip that you've made into a plastic plant marker. You are left with a top to the vinegar bottle that can be used as a funnel and the bottom can be used as a saucer to put under a medium sized plant pot.
I then bought black permanant plant magic markers from a company on the web.
If you don't use a lot of vinegar check out your local recycling center they may let you have some empty vinegar bottles if you ask nicely.
I can't remember how many plant markers I get out of 1 vinegar bottle maybe 16 depending on how thin you want to make them.

Silver Spring, MD(Zone 6b)

What's a plant co-op? How does it work?

Fort Worth, TX(Zone 8a)

A co-op is where lots of people go together to purchase what ends up being a large amount of something (or more than one thing) so they can get it at a discounted price.

Here's the link to the co-op forum:

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