Label Making Ideas For The Garden


Feedback from prior tours has indicated that plant labels are very much appreciated by visitors, as native plants are still unfamiliar to many. Any type of plant ID material also frees up homeowners and docents to answer questions that are more general.

If making your own labels use size 14 or larger font, and keep the signage 4" x 6" or smaller. Include scientific and common names. . If desired, you can add additional plant info or photos. Photos and native plant info can be obtained from Calscape or nursery websites such as Yerba Buena Nursery for personal use.

Here are several ideas for plant labels:

  1. Most expensive and most permanent: Botanical plant labels from Precision Sign Systems. The signs are priced from $3.80 up, signs and stakes from $7.35 up.

  2. Metal markers from Kincaid Plant Markers, Lee Valley Tools, Burpee's, Metal Garden Markers, or Everlast. Search online for sources, or check your local nursery. You can use a label machine (such as a Brother P-Touch with TZ tape - Costco is selling them!) to print laminated labels to stick on them. You can also write on these with permanent pencil.

  3. Microsoft Word has a "mail merge" function (under Tools) that allows you to use a list of plant names and related info (in an Excel spreadsheet) to incorporate into labels. Use 4 x 6 cardstock with the envelope function and maybe add a photo of the plant in bloom. Or use the label function, perhaps with the '5164 shipping label' template, which will give 6 labels per page. Print to heavy paper and trim to size with a paper cutter. To make this more permanent, get them laminated. Lakeshore Learning (a store with children's educational toys on Bascom Ave. in San Jose) has a 3 foot wide laminator where you can do it yourself for only about 20 cents an inch. Attach cards to popsicle sticks with staples, or insert into 1/2" x 6" bamboo stakes that have been split at the top.

  4. River stones can be written on with a permanent paint pen. These pens, made by Elmers, Rustoleum and others, can be purchased from craft stores and hardware stores. You can always hide the sign when not needed by inverting the stone!