Are "Garden Markers" permanent?

I started using plastic tags on my plants with the text written using a Sharpie pen. This only lasts a few months under sun and rain… I have had to re-write many, and some with difficulty.

I was wondering if there are markers that are really permanent. I searched on amazon, and there are many “garden markers” which suppossedly are resistant to rain and light.

For example:

Are these markers really permanent? Or the only permanent alternative is engraving on aluminum tags (I don’t like these …).


Permanence is relative… those will last longer than a sharpie but not more than a year or two. There are paint markers (they are basically putting acrylic paint down) which last longer but are a pain to use. I just use garden markers and refresh the writing periodically.

Ok. Thanks!

What type of plastic tags do you use? I use these once a graft has established itself.

These are nice for grafts! I hadn’t seen them. I sue the ones you sticking the ground that look like book markers.


Pencil (graphite) lasts the longest, IMO.


For the ones you want to do once and have last a lifetime consider cutting strips of aluminum and stamping with a steel stamp kit. The aren’t that easy to read (I have to get up close and personal with mine) but they work.

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I like these tall wooden paddles, sharpie paint marker. they last over a year. I get to use them 2 or 3 times for veggies, have to go over the letters eventually for fruit

I got bad eyesight so big letters are better

Mother Nature does not like to be monitored very much. Anything you put outside will wear to the elements. What I have some some people do is instead of making plant tags they use a computer graph of a blueprint of their garden. I use plant tags but only because I have a lot of free ones that came with my grow bags.

buy the soft aluminum tags with wire tie. they are cheap and any hard tip can dent it. once written theres nothing to wash off or fade.


The “flexible” plant tags crack, break, and fall off. I don’t like to tie anything directly to my apple trees, so I clamp some labels made of roof-flashing aluminum to the 10’ x 3/4" conduit that I use to support the trees. I write on the flashing with an electric “engraver.”

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Lowe’s has something similar in packs at the paint counter. These are 5 gallon paint stirring sticks. Reasonably priced too

I use the gallon ones in the garden.

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A good idea and definitely less labor than mine. I’m on my third year with the plastic tags and believe it or not, I have never had one of these break. I discovered that the letters can be wiped off cleanly with alcohol or lacquer thinner and reused.

I started out with the colors being significant, but that doesn’t work when you run out of one color. I have as many as 10 or more tags on several large Frankentrees so the position of the tag is important to me. I have it in a book but I also want to see it on the tree.

They can fall off. When I put a new graft I label it with high visibility tape. When it grows out enough that I’m pretty confident in it’s success, I put the tag over top of the tape and also tie it with the two tape ends. I’ve also used wire as a reinforcer. I started writing my tree number on the back of the tag for reference before I tried some more permanent attachment tools.


I switched over to using aluminum tags and a ballpoint pen to emboss them. The only drawback I can see thus far is that they are more difficult to read at a distance. I bought a pack last year but have been making them from aluminum cans. The pop can tags are a little thicker than the store-bought ones. They can be both used as tags or stuck in the ground.


I make labels with a brother P-touch printer and attach them to tin garden tags. Tin doesn’t rust and the labels are designed for outdoor use. I’ve read they last for many years. The only downside would be that they are rather expensive.


Here are the tags I used this year. I hope this helps. I know they help me keep things in perspective.


:laughing: :laughing: :laughing:

I think I need those signs, too.


This is a post to an older topic from June. I have been using the soft two sided metal signs for my trees. While the writing last for a long time, the names are small and easily hidden under leaves. I have left them on too long for multiple trees, especially early in their use. I had a couple trees where the wires were so imbedded that I could never get them out.

I do a lot of note taking and walking through the orchard to check on tree health, grafts, etc. In that respect, I have numbered the trees and use that number for documentation I decided I wanted to come up with a bigger sign displayed at the front of the tree.

For the last week I have been working on cedar signs for the front of every tree. They have three coats of spar urethane to try and counter aging, moisture, and sun. It’s a bit of a crafty thing, too, I guess and there are definitely pros and cons to this approach. I did enjoy walking through the orchard this morning on the first day with all the signs in place.


my father used to work at a cedar shingle mill and used to get the 2nds for nothing. used to snap a 1in. piece off and write on it with a sharpie. they were 16in long so he would get 2 markers by snaping in half. would get many years out of them before they rotted.

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