This post is a how-to and demonstration of how to make three different types of plant identification tags.  One variety of plant identification tags is typed on paper and then laminated, another type of plant identification tags is aluminum marking tags, and the final type of plant identification tags is written on tongue depressors.

The reason I’m using plant identification tags on everything is so I don’t have to carry a map around with me.  I have all of my plants mapped out, but it’s a pain to go retrieve a map if I need to know the exact cultivar of a certain plant.  I’m doing several types of plant identification tags because I’m expecting they will react differently to the environment on the farm and I’m trying to find the best fit.

Printed and Laminated

Plant Identification Tags - Laminated

Plant Identification Tags – Laminated

The first type of plant identification tags is printed out on the computer, cut to size, and then laminated.  On these tags I include the common name, Latin name, and the year the plant was put in the garden.  I got the idea for doing my tags this way from Lincoln Smith of  The only thing I’m worried about with these tags is the print fading because of the sun.

After the labels are laminated, I use a very small hole punch I picked up at the craft store to put a hole in the lamination material.  Make sure not to put a hole in where the paper itself is, because that will allow water to get in and ruin the tag.

Then I take 24″ insulation hangers I picked up from Home Depot and I bend the end with a pair of pliers to make a hoop.  I then take some copper wire I picked up from the craft store and cut it to about 3″ pieces.  The copper wire threads through the laminated tags as well as the 24″ insulation hangers and is then wrapped in such a way that the tag stays on the insulation hangers.  This is depicted in the picture titled: “Plant Identification Tags – Laminated”

At this point the insulation hanger can be put in the ground near the plant that you are identifying. You can watch the a video of this process at Great Escape Farms YouTube.

Aluminum Marking Tags

The aluminum marking plant identification tags are just a rectangular aluminum piece of metal with two holes in the end.  The holes are for hanging the tag.  The product that I picked up from Grempler’s included the hanging wire as well.  The way the tag works is you simply write on the tag with a ball point pen.  The pen dents the aluminum where you write and acts as a label. These tags will not fade in the sun, but may become illegible if they are banged around in the wind a lot and we do have a lot of wind on the farm.

Once the aluminum marking tags are marked up the way you want, you use the insulation hangers that we talked about above and do the same process to allow them to be used as hangers.  You then use the wire that came with these tags to go through the two holes on the aluminum marking plant identification tags and the hole in the insulation hangers and then tie the wire together.

Tongue Depressors

Plant Identification Tags - Tongue Depressor

Plant Identification Tags – Tongue Depressor

I bought craft sticks form the craft store.  They are the size of tongue depressors giving you plenty of room to write on.  I bought a box of 200 for $5.  I know they will not last a long time, but I have high hopes that they will last through the summer.  I plan on using these plant identification tags for my annual plants.  At the end of the year, I can just leave them in the ground to rot, because they are wood.

I wrote the name of the plant on one side with a ball point pen.  Then I wrote on the other side with a Sharpe marker.  I’m guessing that the Sharpe will fade and the ball point pen will have a better chance of making it through the summer.  I did some with red and some with black Sharpe.  This is depicted in the picture titled: “Plant Identification Tags – Tongue Depressor”

More to Come

I will do another post in the fall and give an update on how well each tag fared.

Below is a YouTube video titled Plant Identification Tags, that shows how I put each of the tags together.


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