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Plant signs

August 23, 2011

I know I could google and dink around for awhile but surely you folks could quickly point me in the right direction.

I'd like to start utilizing plant signs. Likely pernamently engraved unless there is a sticker that holds up well under winters and sun.

Suggestions would surely be appreciated!

Comments (25)

  • dcsteg

    Kincaid stainless steel "captive plate" i.d. markers. See link.

    Avery 5630 clear Easy Peel address labels. 1"x25/8".

    Use only with a Lazar Jet Printer. Bullet proof and never fade.


    Here is a link that might be useful: Plant markers

  • ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

    brother ptouch .. with UV [tz-121 i think] .. i have tapes going on 15 years.. the tape remains perfect.. and the labels are destroyed.. lol ... i paid about 120 way back when.. i think you can get an equivalent now.. for about 22 dollars ... whats that all about.. lol ...

    eon industries for the labels ... i have actually visited this mega-corporation ... its in a 1930 wooden garage behind a 1930's house in rural OH ...

    to bad you dont know some machining/press guys to have them made ...

    buy twice the amount you think you need.. offsets shipping which is kinda high due to weight.. but one thing for sure.. you will never stop collecting.. lol ...

    i also use plant tags ... in next post..


    Here is a link that might be useful: eon

  • ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

    on 2729.. use a ballpoint.. across the broad part i write the latin in two lines.. on the rounded end.. i put month and date.. and a 2-3 character source code ... e.g. Gir 08/11 ... one over the other ...

    ten years down the line.. some dude wants to know where you got it or how old it is .... bingo bango ...

    i was always afraid that the kids would collect all the labels for me.. so i took the time to attach these to the plant itself ...

    i attach ALL OF THEM on the north side ...

    never forget.. a hundred dollar plant.. without a proper label or name.. is a 5 dollar plant ... [unless joy is around and can name it for you .. lol] ...

    i use the wire they provide.. and have actually forgot about it.. and the tree either encapsulated it.. or broke it itself ... but NEVER>>> EVER>>> pull it out of the bark ... if need be .. slice vertically right thru the bark and wire .. and sever the wire .. and leave it there ... it ends up you do the damage removing it.. otherwise the plant can deal with it ...


    Here is a link that might be useful: look down the page for 2729

  • ricksample

    I have some from kincaidgardens and really like them! I ordered the ones from eon and they just weren't my cup of tea. They were very helpful and shipment was fast, but the pics make the face plates almost look like a shiny stainless steel. But they are actually painted a gray color. The pics they have posted must be photoshoped and not the actual product. That's the only real downside.

    I'm really surprised how cheap kincaidgardens is since they are stainless steel which isn't cheap. I actually ordered 500 a couple months ago just to keep stocked up because of the price. At $.70 each, you can't beat that!

    I use the Brothers P-touch desk libeler with 18mm clear laminate tape. I found a new one on ebay for $10 I think. They go for around $40 in the store.

  • gardener365

    I have so many to tag and I want permanent like the other guys but I'm simply using the Aluminum plant marker tags that you emboss with an ink pen & I also bought a roll of white coated wire that is made for grocery stores to dispense these color, twist wires. Then again I have six-ares, regardless, that big roll of vinyl wire was only 20 bucks.

    The tags I purchase from, Gemplers. I like Ken put the plant markers all on the same side of a plant and at a height your hands naturally reach to so you aren't reaching and you aren't dipping.

    I'm even more fanatical then Ken. I write height/year planted/size of root mass; sometimes I write source such as, gift from Ken, i.e. Then again he sends plants with aluminum tags so I just as soon keep the free stuff lol.


  • whaas_5a

    wow, you guys are serious! I would have been lost tooling around, lol.


    Dumb question but I'm not quite sure why the ink wouldn't wear off from the sun and winters. I'm guessing the bottomline is that this is what you use and it works well.

    Ken / Dax,

    I have extremely poor hand writing. How do you manage to write all that latin info with the cutilvar name? I'm assuming you have to apply a decent amount of pressure for it to emboss? Perhaps I have have the other half write for me!lol!


    Which model printer did you get? Are you fairly happy with it? Does this printer use a special ink?

    Thanks guys!

    PS: I just thought of this now but I can potentially get a bunch of stainless steel tags lazered out with the name lazered on the tag. I'm going to have to touchbase with the programmer to see if he can only repeat the same name within a stainless steel sheet or if I can give him multiple names.

    He is probably going to give me a crazy look when I ask him tomorrow!

  • firefightergardener

    I'll toss in another vote for the kincaid stainless steel markers. I wanted three things, something that looks solid, something that lasts a LOOONG time and something that was fairly affordable. In bulk, at about 85 cents each, I just don't think you can beat the bang-for-your-buck in these beauties. People who visit my garden ask a lot of things, but almost universally, they are curious about my signs.

    And visible at a distance but not overly-so.


  • whaas_5a

    Will, what do you use for the labels?

  • firefightergardener

    P-touch mode PT-2700 with 1" TZ labels, which are listed as 'Strong Adhesive' and 'UV resistant'. They've wintered well so far, though it's early. Four years on some of them and they look new still.


  • mrgpag SW OH Z5/6

    I use Kincaid stainless steel along with a PTouch PT-2700 printer and one inch TZ clear tape with great results. And as Will mentions, visitors always ask about the plant markers that look so professional. I have tried the Avery laser labels with mixed results - some lasted a long time and others seemed like the ink slid right off the label when exposed to the elements. Have used markers similar to the EON brand that were OK for several years and then the wires started rusting and breaking off so gave up on those.

  • ricksample

    I use the P-touch 2030 with TZ 18mm clear laminated tape. It has multiple fonts and can print 2 lines. No special ink is required. The ink is included in the tape in an all in one type deal. It prints the ink under the laminate.

    I'm not sure who I purchased mine from on ebay, but here I found it new for $15... they range clear up to $80 on ebay for the same model. Not sure why, but like I said mine was only $10 and I'm pretty happy with it. Mine also came with an a/c adapter, which most don't. You'll need to get one of those or you'll go through the batteries fast.

    Here is a link that might be useful: Ebay

  • ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

    the pressure to write on the thin aluminum is akin to writing on a foil wrapped piece of gum .. if they still sell it that way ...

    yes.. printing is an art ... i dont know what to tell you.. if you scribble like a doctor.. lol ...

    the eon labels are zinc coated .. not painted ... and trust me... you ALWAYS want a label with a dull coating ... i have been blinded by many a shiny label ... something about God hating me at certain moments in life i am sure ..

    regardless of which supplier.. the whole point is paying BULK!!!!

    i dont remember the numbers or when.. but i could get 100 labels ... with standards .. for what the local nursery was selling the exact same thing for 20 of them ... and that included shipping ... that's some profit mark up ....

    just buy twice as many as you think you need ... like collecting conifers .... labeling is addictive ... and soon enough .. everything in the yard will be labeled ....


  • ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

    have you started a spreadsheet yet on your computer???

    great winter project ...


  • dcsteg


    It's the bonding processed used in the Laser Jet that prevents fading of the words.

    Here is a link that might be useful: What Is a Fuser on an HP Laser Jet? Read more: What Is a Fuser on an HP Laser Jet? : eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/facts_6001804_fuser-hp-laser-jet_.html#ixzz1Vx2Kjepz

  • baxswoh

    Without a doubt the finest signs I have ever seen were at the Rowe Arboretum in Cincinnati, Ohio. I went crazy one year and got the engraved signs that Larry Stanley used in his display gardens. They were great at first, but did not stand up to our climate after 3 years. I now use the same printed PTouch that most on here use, but if I could start from scratch I would use the ones I saw at Rowe. I don't know who the manufacturer is, but the price was less than the $8.00 I paid for the Stanley signs. You can contact the Arboretum manager and I'm sure he would give you the correct information. Chris Daeger. email cdaeger@ci.indian-hill.oh.us.
    Chris is also the President of the central region of the conifer society. He told me that he has gone through alot of signs before stumbling upon these. They looked great and last forever. The next time I'm there I'll get a picture and post.

  • donn_

    I only use tags for immature plants in pots, and those are cut-up mini-blinds with soft-lead pencil codes (3-5 letters..Pa'DB' = Panicum amarum 'Dewey Blue'). The legend for the codes is in my Kindle, which accompanies me in the garden.

    Once a plant goes into the ground, it goes into the Kindle, with all the needed information, precise location, planting info, etc..

    I don't like signs in my garden, and I find it helps my memory to avoid them. If I can't remember what a plant is, I look it up in the Kindle.

  • dcsteg


    I have been thinking several years about doing away with all my plant signs. I don't like the cluttered up look myself. Damage control from unknown sources, usually critters roaming in the night, is always a problem requiring replacement.

    The need to remember all the name from memory is indeed a challenge. Kindle or a similar will be something I will need to resource and consider.


  • donn_

    I use the Kindle because I don't need it to be a phone, or an MP3 player (although it will). It's the best device I've found for handling PDF files, and that's how I store all my garden info. It'll also let me surf the web from the garden, so I can go to MOBOT or several other gardening reference sites.

    It's also nice to be able to sit down for a while, and read "Travels with Charley" or "Leatherstocking Tales" in the garden.

  • whaas_5a

    donn, you just gave me an idea. I started a speadsheet and perhaps I can come up with a format where I take a picture of the plant after its planted and then connect that with all the pertitant info. Then in 5 years add another pic...almost like my own plant database.

    I still might to the signs for the smaller/slower growing plants.

  • lowville5

    One year later and I find myself, like Will, seeking advice regarding plant signs. I've purchased 50 conifers and 5 Japanese Maples from Darren at Whistling Gardens. I'm mulling over the merits of plant signs and have investigated each option you all described in 2011. I even contacted Chris Daeger at the Stanley M. Rowe Arboretum. He sent me a photo of his hardware and labels from Metalphoto of Cincinnati. If I proceed, I think I'll go with Kincaid P style 6" Stainless Steel Plant Markers, Brother P-Touch Label Maker Printer PT-2730VP and P-Touch Label Material 1"; Black letters on Clear Tape.

    I have two questions:
    1. Are most of you happy with the look of your plant signs? (ie: you don't find it detracts from your garden?)
    2. How many packages of the Tape do you recommend a novice buys?

  • whaas_5a

    I quickly learned that on my 1/2 acre I can identify and locate every single plant so no tags needed. Personally I don't like them but understand their value if you have a massive collection or give tours.

    I do attest to keeping a database though in case a name escapes me.

  • ricksample

    Lowville - I personally find it adds to the garden. I have a couple beds without the markers (I haven't had time to print them yet, I will this fall) and I have a lot of beds with plant markers. Comparing the beds, the ones with the plant markers look professional and well done. Plus when people are over they walk around and can see what they are called. These plants are nothing without their names. A pine tree is just a pine tree to most people.

    I have a little over 100 conifers/maples and I easily ID what each one is. But I decided to keep the markers just for the reasons above.

    The key is not to ID everything. Add some local sedums, hostas, theme, etc in each bed. You won't need to ID these 'generic' plants, but they will add a lot of color and distract away from the plant markers.

  • pineresin

    Cheap, but very durable option: write on a thick plastic label with a soldering iron.


  • lowville5

    Thank you very much for taking the time to share what works best for each of you. Boy, there is just so much to learn and think about. I try to focus on what Ken wrote to Rick in the spring.

    "on another level.. you are wanting your garden to look like daves ... w/in a few years.. when he has spent a decade or two.. perfecting his ... so go zen .. do what you can.. and enjoy the process ... no matter how long it takes ..."

    Oh, so right!

  • sarosen

    These tags by Bosmere have worked well for me.
    The end that goes into the soil is sturdy and never bends or gets dislodged. and the tag itself is just at ground level so it is mostly hidden unless you are looking for it.

    However, I DO want to use some sort of pen rather than a label marker and would appreciate your recommendations. I have some 10 year old labels I did this way and they are still fine. But who knows what kind of marker I used ??!! I am looking for a marker/pen rather than a paint pen

    Bosmere sells a couple of markers/pens they say are UV proof and permanent.
    As does DP products:
    I am wondering if any of you have had any experience with any of these.........

    thanks in advance for your input.

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