Why should you consider these free garden marker ideas? I don’t care how great your memory is, find a way to label all of your seedlings and transplanted crops—knowing what you’ve planted (and where) is equally important when you’re direct-sowing. If you forget to label the spot where you’ve just sown seeds, you might accidentally sow again in the same area. It’s a waste of time and seed. You might also mistake seedlings for weeds. An experienced gardener can usually tell the difference, but if you’re new to the hobby, you might end up pulling up precious starts thinking they’re garden invaders.
Labeling plants doesn’t have to be a difficult or costly ordeal. There are plenty of ways to label plants without spending a penny. Here are five free garden marker ideas for your outdoor oasis.
Free Garden Marker Ideas
These are ultra-cheap, and you’ve likely got some stowed away in a cupboard somewhere. If you’re not an artsy type and don’t have a craft cupboard, try saving leftover popsicle sticks after devouring summer treats. All you need is a permanent marker to label each stick.
I use this for indoor plants and seedlings when I’ve run out of the standard plastic plant markers. Just be careful not to get masking tape wet.
I don’t suggest creating permanent garden markers that cannot be moved. Markers should be easy to transfer to different areas of the garden. It’s best to rotate crops (even in a small garden!) and avoid planting them in the same spot year after year. Get creative and paint stones to mark your garden crops. They’re incredibly durable (duh!), and you can have fun with designing them. If you don’t have stones nearby, you can order a set on Amazon and get them delivered for free to your home.
Have a bunch of leftover wine bottles? Don’t toss them in the recycling bin! Use them in the garden. Fill them with water and pop them next to thirsty plants or paint and label them to keep track of what you’re growing where.
Laminate and mount empty seed packets on wooden or metal sticks and enjoy a garden marker that contains all of the reference info you need to grow a particular plant.
Even the most durable garden markers (e.g., stones) shouldn’t be left in the garden over the winter. Remember to bring everything in at the end of the season. Store your garden markers away from the harsh elements to keep them in tip-top shape year after year.
Need more ideas? Check out this video that contains a slew of ideas for creating garden markers for your outdoor growing space.
Steph Coelho is a freelance writer gardening in zone 5b. She is a certified Square Foot Gardener and has taught various garden-related workshops. When she’s not digging in the dirt or writing, she’s cooking up fresh produce, running, or listening to her favorite podcasts.