Plant Labels: How to Make Garden Plant Markers

Homemade Garden Plant Markers that look and work great!

Durable plastic plant labels (also called plant markers or garden markers) cost about $4 / dozen at my local gardening supply shop. Since I have 72 squares in my Square Foot Garden, that would add up! Rather than buy new, I prefer to make my own with reused materials anyway. It is simple, eco-friendly, and free to make your own plant labels from empty yogurt or sour cream containers, (or slats from vinyl blinds if you happen to have some window dressings you are retiring), and the end product works great and lasts a good long time (plastic is forever, right?)  If you don’t eat dairy products yourself, just ask a neighbor or friend to save a few empty yogurt containers for you.

How to Make Your Homemade Plant Markers:

  1. Start with several plastic (PETE #1) yogurt, cottage cheese, or sour cream containers. How many? You’ll get approximately 10 plant markers out of each container so figure out how many plant labels you want and do the math. Tall / large containers work better than the short ones. Obviously make sure they are empty and clean.
  2. With scissors, cut vertically from rim of container to bottom. Repeat at approximately 3/4 inch intervals (or whatever width you like).
  3. Cut horizontally around the container just at the point where the container wall meets the bottom. Recycle the round bottom piece (unless you can find another use for it!)
  4. Now, on the end that has the stepped ledge  (most containers have this), trim at an angle on both sides to create a pointed tip. This is the end you will insert in your soil.
  5. On the other end, trim to round off the sharp corners (this is mostly an aesthetic step, but those corners can also feel sharp when you are handling your homemade plant markers).
  6. Use a permanent marker to write the name and/or variety of your vegetable or plant on your new plant label!

Due to the curvature of the container, your plant markers will be slightly cupped on the white / writing side, but only mildly. On the backs of your plant markers, whatever graphics were on the container will show, but I can live with that for the price and knowing that I kept some plastic out of the North American Gyre…