4 Seed Labeling Options, So You Don’t Forget What You Planted

Posted on Feb 27 2012 - 1:34am by Mike Lieberman

You’ve started your seeds (3 sources to buy your vegetable seeds), and didn’t label them…

…there’s no need to because you know you’ll remember.


We all tell ourselves that and sure enough we always forget what we planted and when we started them.

Label your seedlings. You think you are going to remember what you planted where, but you won’t. — Tweet This

That’s why this is one of my basic seed starting tips for beginners.

On the labels you can write as little or as much information that you’ll like such as the exact type of seed, date started and approximate time to germination.

Now I’ll share five (5) options to allow you to easily label and identify your seeds. These will range from the simple to a bit more fancy.

4 Ways to Label Your Seedlings

1. Rocks

Rocks are simple and inexpensive ways to label your seedlings and then use in your garden. I’ve used these on my balcony garden as a garden marker.

Collect the rocks from your own yard or “borrow” them from your neighbors. To decorate them, you can simply write on them or decorate them to make them more stylish. The choice is yours.

When writing the name of the seed on the rock, I’d recommend being a bit more generic because you can’t erase what’s on the rock and want to be able to use it again.

2. Popsicle Sticks

You can get popsicle sticks from your local craft store in bulk at a cheap rate.

Much like the rocks, you can be as simple or as fancy as you’d like. They can easily be slipped into the soil to label the seedlings.


3. Clothes Pins

This is an idea that I got from Becky at EatDrinkBetter. She used clothes pins to label her seedlings.


4. Plant Label Sets

If you just want to buy something and have it done for you already, then you can buy plant label sets from an online garden supply company such as The Greenhouse Catalog (a sponsor of mine).

These come in a many designs from the simple plain white to fancier designs with pictures and other information.

Your Turn

With these four options, you have plenty of choices to make sure that your seedlings are labeled this year. I’ll be sharing other creative ways to label your seedlings in the future, so be sure to subscribe to keep up to date.

What are you going to use to label your seedlings?

Image courtesy of Circulating on Flickr

29 Comments so far. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. Brandie February 27, 2012 at 9:24 am -

    I’ve done most of the above (we don’t have an abundance of rocks here).  This year, for indoor seed starts, I am using popsicle sticks, or writing on masking tape on the side of flats.  But in my garden, the little labels get destroyed by the hoe.  I bought some large field stakes for lettuces and such, and for larger plants, this is what I’m doing: cut out a piece of aluminum from a soda can or pie plate, punch a hole in one side, write on it with a ball-point pen (it will leave a permanent impression), and hang it on the plant with some twine. 

  2. Jean February 27, 2012 at 10:09 am -

    I have a couple old aluminum mini blinds…I’m going to cut those and use them as labeling stakes.  I’m going to use a grease pencil so they will be fade-proof and resusable.

  3. Christi Meyer February 27, 2012 at 11:30 am -

    I try to avoid plastic, but I have some plastic knives left over that just take up space in my pantry so I’ve been using them.

  4. Thriftscottc February 27, 2012 at 11:37 am -

    I bet that scares away the birds, too. Good idea.

  5. Mike Lieberman February 27, 2012 at 2:14 pm -

    Better than tossing them.

  6. Mike Lieberman February 27, 2012 at 2:14 pm -

    That seems to be a popular choice.

  7. Mike Lieberman February 27, 2012 at 2:15 pm -


  8. Melissa February 27, 2012 at 3:28 pm -

    I have some plastic yogurt cups that I was going to recycle. I cut off the bottom and then make vertical cuts along the tube, easy labels…

  9. Mike Lieberman February 28, 2012 at 9:25 am -

    I likes it.

  10. Isobel February 29, 2012 at 5:07 am -

    We moved house last year, and with each paint can we got wooden sticks to stir the paint. Most haven’t been used yet. I’ll use those and a sharpie.

  11. Mike Lieberman February 29, 2012 at 8:10 am -


  12. Kosnikkid March 1, 2012 at 10:05 am -

    I’ll be using a set of white mini blinds I salvaged.  Just cut the vanes to size.

  13. Mike Lieberman March 1, 2012 at 3:08 pm -

    Never knew they were called vanes. Thanks.

  14. Chris March 3, 2012 at 5:41 pm -

    Labeling your seeds is crucial like you mentioned. In the past, I found popsicle sticks to be good, but if you are watering regularly, even permanent marker washed away. I’ve also used old floppy disk labels (remember those?) in the past until I ran out and now use printed labels and stick those on the side of my seed starting tray where they don’t fade in the sun or get washed away from regular watering.

  15. Mike Lieberman March 4, 2012 at 8:54 am -


  16. Janetcruz March 4, 2012 at 5:27 pm -

    I make label sized snips into the sides of used cottage cheese cartons, then cut them loose from the bottom.

  17. Mike Lieberman March 4, 2012 at 6:15 pm -

    I likes it!

  18. localblu March 6, 2012 at 2:12 pm -

    I like the idea of using rocks…hadn’t heard of that one before. Thanks for the tip Mike!

  19. Mike Lieberman March 6, 2012 at 4:26 pm -

    Can def get creative in decorating it too.

  20. Kimhutcheson March 12, 2012 at 5:12 am -

    The rocks are a CUTE idea.  Will add so much charm to the garden, of any kind.  TY for sharing

  21. Mike Lieberman March 12, 2012 at 8:36 am -

    Cheap and creative idea for sure.

  22. megan March 15, 2012 at 12:08 pm -

    I’m planting in unglazed terracotta pots (got for cheap at a thrift store) so I write with chalk on the pots.

  23. Mike Lieberman March 15, 2012 at 1:55 pm -

    Good call on that!

  24. Glenda Ross March 19, 2012 at 12:39 pm -

    I make seed and plant labels out of all kinds of things.  Large plastic yoghurt containers, milk jugs, or any kind of white or colored (not clear) plastic containers can be cut to make free seed labels.  For plants in large containers or in the ground, I use cracked dishes that can no longer be used for eating, chipped teapot or casserole lids.  They are pretty.  You can also write on old spoons or table knives which you could buy cheaply.  Nice for edibles.  The most recent things I am using are the inside part of home canning jar lids, the part you cannot reuse.  I am also using regular solid jar lids from commercially canned foods for glass jars such as pickles, applesauce, etc.  In both kinds of metal lids, I nail a hole on opposite sides, insert a stiff wire through them from behind, and write the name on the clean inside side of the lid.  I really like the wires from the little surveyors flags; the metal is practically indestructible.  I rip off the flags and use a wire cutter to bend it around to make it secure through the back side of the lid.  Sharpies are not permanent for plastic or metal labels used outside.  I use  DecoColor pens which I buy from an art supply.  You could also use an engraver, but it hurts my arthritic hands.  I have a little picture tutorial on my Facebook (Greenbriar Farm & Nursery for Edibles).  Of course, I keep trying to perfect my system all along, but this will get you started.  

  25. Mike Lieberman March 19, 2012 at 1:50 pm -

    Love those ideas.

  26. Mari June 11, 2012 at 8:12 pm -

    simple scotch tape on the pot or container and use a sharpie to write the name . to change it all you have to do is peel it off 

  27. Mike Lieberman June 12, 2012 at 10:57 am -

    Ohhh I like that idea. Good one!

  28. Alicia pandoli March 4, 2015 at 6:01 am -

    I’m using seed trays to start my seeds, I used popcycle sticks last year with a felt tip pen, the ink ran so bad I could not tell date or what it was? Any tips??

  29. Alicia pandoli March 4, 2015 at 6:04 am -

    What if I put some kinda tape on the popcycle stick?

Leave A Response

You must be logged in to post a comment.