JARS v61n3 - Simple Inexpensive Plant Labels

Simple Inexpensive Plant Labels
Dennis McKiver
Fort Bragg, California

Reprinted, with revisions, from the Noyo Chapter newsletter, February 2007

Many people have asked me where I get my large white plastic plant labels. I wanted some large white plant labels that I could put 1-inch black lettering on so they would be easy to see at a distance. I got tired of having to search for the small metal label every time I wanted to know the name of a particular plant. I have many plants in containers that I move around as the seasons change. To make them always visible I needed labels that I could easily move to the outside of the plant as the plant grew. I didn't want to have to always untwist and re-twist wire ties.
My first solution was to buy heavy duty, ⅛-inch thick 4 x 4 sheets of PVC plastic from Tap Plastics. I have since found a simpler less expensive and less time consuming solution. I found someone who was throwing away a set of white vertical patio door blinds. These blinds are made of heavy white PVC strips 3 inches wide by 7 feet long. With scissors I cut the strips into 3-inch lengths, which gives me twenty-four 3 x 3 squares and one 3 x 2 label to use on a smaller plant. I drill a -inch hole in one corner, round off the corners with scissors, and cut through the hole to make it easy to clip onto a branch. For the lettering, I'm now trying using a Brother P-Touch label machine with their TZ Super Strong Laminated Labels. If you check out www.brothermall.com they have inexpensive factory reconditioned P-Touch label machines available.
One tip on drilling the hole in the labels - this is the hardest part of the process. This is what I found works best. I stack all twenty-four squares together into a -inch stack. I bind them together with masking tape. It's important they don't move during the drilling. I double wrap the corner that I'm going to drill, making sure the edges are taped. With a wood clamp I clamp the stack of labels to a short piece of 2 x 6 for a drill backing and clamp it to my workbench. I drill into the stack of labels and into the wood. Without this wood backing the flexible plastic labels will flex and bend as you push the drill through and tear up the labels on the bottom of the stack.