The amazing world of garden herb markers is growing, and rapidly. Who could have thought that tiny garden stakes would become an object of desire by many herb lovers, myself included? Since simple herb markers have become decorative and increasingly varied, they are definitely a must have for every garden.
The options are enough to keep your garden marked for years, and they are available in every material imaginable. There are markers made using porcelain, clay, copper, brass, aluminum, steel, iron, slate, wood, wire, acrylic, silverware, rocks, fused glass, and even PLA – a biodegradable thermoplastic. The number of marker designs will surely outnumber the vegetables and herbs you will manage to grow in your garden.
Spring is coming. You’re going to plant some herbs. You will need markers. How are you going to choose? They’re ALL adorable and unique.
So I’ve combed Etsy to find the most popular markers on this festival of creativity. In searching for the perfect markers for my personal garden, I’ve tried to highlight the pros and cons of each option so that you can make the best choice for your needs. Whether it’s a matter of longevity or maintenance, every option has its own characteristics.
Popular Decorative Designs
Table of Contents
Check out the wire and silverware markers collections – some of our favorites
1. Ceramic Herb Markers
Ceramic herb markers are a great way to label your garden, especially if you like some added color! Using ceramic, including porcelain and clay, allows for diverse styles since the stakes can be painted in a multitude of colors, patterns, and textures.
Ceramic markers are often hand shaped and may all be slightly different. I love this detail as it makes each piece unique. Once the clay is shaped, the stake is fired, painted, and often glazed, giving it a glossy look. As an added bonus, ceramic stakes are often only glazed on one side, leaving you space to write notes on the back such as the date you planted a seed.
Whether you choose to make your own and paint them to your liking or buy them ready-made, using different colors makes it easy to identify your herbs and vegetables without needing to bend down to read a label. I always welcome color while I’m waiting for my garden to flourish!
As well, ceramic stakes are very easy to clean and won’t develop rust like metal markers. While ceramic stakes won’t degrade in wet climates, they might become fragile if it is very cold, or with large temperature swings. To avoid cracking, I would recommend keeping them inside if temperatures regularly drop below freezing.
If you are clumsy and prone to dropping things on hard surfaces you might want to skip ceramic markers for your garden! However, overall they are a great way to showcase your vegetables and herbs in a rainbow of colors.
2. Copper Stakes
Copper stakes are a fun way to recycle old material while filling your garden with shiny labels. The markers are generally forged from recycled pieces of copper and are then hammered into desired shapes. Depending on the style you prefer, they can be smooth or textured. Once the shape is ready, plant names are stamped on and a stick is soldered to the label.
I love the pop of copper in a green garden as well as the look of tarnished copper. However, if you only like shiny copper keep in mind that when exposed to the elements and time, copper will tarnish. You can easily clean your labels but of course, this is an extra step of maintenance.
Whether you keep them tarnished or regularly cleaned, copper markers are extremely durable and can be left outside year-round. If you live somewhere with the extreme wind you might have to pick up a few stakes every now and then as they are fairly light.
Copper is a micronutrient that plants seek so there might be some benefit to having small quantities in the soil surrounding your herbs and vegetables. Even better, slugs and snails hate copper so this is my favorite stake for a two in one solution!
3. Acrylic Herb Markers
Acrylic herb markers are a great way to customize your markers. These stakes are made with acrylic plastic and are UV printed with watercolor designs and writing. As you can see from the detailed paintings in the picture above, this is a great method to create high-resolution images and fonts. The tags are highly customizable and clearly readable against a white background.
Acrylic is remarkably resistant to light, large temperature changes, humidity, and more. This makes it a great option to use for garden markers year after year as they won’t degrade with the elements. They are also very easy to clean as you can simply run them under water to rinse off dirt. This is a big pro for me because gardening can be complicated enough!
While I love the look of ceramic markers, I think acrylic stakes are a great option for added durability. They will not break if they are dropped or if you forget to bring them inside during a cold spell.
4. Wood Stakes
Fun fact: In European folklore, wooden stakes were believed to repel vampires! Whether you need to use them for this specific purpose or choose to include them in your garden for their cute and original look, wooden garden markers are a unique way to tag your herbs.
From spoons to clothespins, the options for wooden plant stakes are very diverse and often take advantage of recycled items. I love the natural look of wood amidst my herbs, as well as the variety of styles. Not only are the designs different, but plenty of types of wood can be used leaving you with options in all shades.
Wooden markers can be labeled using pyrography (a fire burning technique), cut-outs, painted or drawn on. Depending on the method, they are often sealed with polyurethane to make them weather resistant.
If they are not pre-sealed or they begin to wear, you can add a layer of sealant to keep them fresh. You could even paint unsealed wooden tags with glow in the dark acrylic paint for a one of a kind look!
Since not all wooden markers are sealed, they are often a better option for indoor herb gardens or greenhouses. However, if you live somewhere with a mild climate or bring the tags inside in the winter, they will last longer.
5. Glass Markers
Talk about a work of art! These glass garden markers are hand-cut from colorful glass, with the labels written using materials such as liquid glass or even liquid gold. The resulting product is fired and fused into one solid piece of glass that will resist all climatic conditions.
Many glass markers are entirely made of glass while some have wire sticks to facilitate their insertion. I love glass labels because they are incredibly durable and will not degrade over time. As well, they remind me of beautiful pieces of artwork which not only make them functional but also incredibly aesthetic.
Similar to ceramic tags, be careful about dropping or stepping on glass garden markers!
6. Iron Labels
These Victorian-inspired cast-iron markers and their elegant labels are incredibly eye-catching. They look like they have come out of an old botanical encyclopedia! I love these plant stakes for their charming appearance.
Each tag has been cast from metal and painted with waterproof paint. This makes them resistant to corrosion since they are sealed, which keeps the maintenance at a minimum.
The sticks are screwed into the back of the label so they are especially sturdy. The cast-iron adds some extra weight which makes them perfect for places with heavy winds.
Where to buy: Iron Labels
7. Aluminum Garden Stakes and Labels
Aluminum garden stakes and labels are a great low maintenance alternative to other metals that tarnish or rust easily. Aluminum is incredibly resistant to different weather conditions which makes it perfect to tag your plants indoors or outdoors.
Whether the aluminum label is attached to another material such as wood or used as the stake itself, it generally has minimal upkeep. If wood is also used, make sure to seal it if you want to keep your stakes outdoors for multiple seasons.
Aluminum labels are usually hand-stamped with a hammer and a metal stencil making each piece unique. This adds an original touch to each piece but may be seen as an imperfection for certain people.
Recycled aluminum such as from cans can also be cut into shapes and labeled with a stamp or permanent marker. This makes these garden markers very eco-friendly. Aluminum is also a safe way to discourage birds from feasting on your seeds because the shiny reflection acts as a deterrent.
8. Steel Garden Markers
These adorable garden markers are plasma cut from steel and hand-painted on one side. A stick is welded on to create a stake and I cannot get over how original the final product is!
Who says labels need to be written in words? These tags are incredibly self-explanatory and make it easy for young children to join in the garden which is a definite plus.
To keep these in good condition I would recommend storing them inside when not in use. The non-painted side will likely rust from the weather but it can be cleaned by soaking it in vinegar.
Where to buy: Steel Garden Markers
9. Silverware Markers
Upcycled silverware has always been a favorite of mine. While I have previously veered towards jewelry, silverware makes the perfect quirky garden markers. I love the added whimsical nature of vintage utensils and the fact that what was once used to eat food is now used to identify growing food.
Some designs include only handles while others make use of fork prongs, knives, and flattened spoons. Forks have the added bonus of being able to puncture a tag made from a cork as seen in the pictures above.
Utensils are hand stamped such that no two items are identical. If you are obsessed with perfectly straight letters and spacing this might not be for you! However, these individual characteristics make each tag completely unique.
Silverware is extremely durable and will probably last longer than your garden! If you want to be sure to maintain shine, remember to polish your stakes seasonally.
10. Wire Herb Markers
Wire herb markers can be made using various metals such as stainless steel and aluminum. The metal is left blank or painted depending on your preference.
These make great minimalist tags to label your vegetables and herbs without taking away from the green growth. I like the simplicity of these tags and the fact that using longer sticks makes it easy to see the tags poking out above the plants.
While wire plant stakes are generally quite sturdy, longer sticks may not withstand heavy winds as well. Also, if you live somewhere with larger pests or have a pet who likes to get into your yard, wire stakes might be easier to knockdown. In these cases keep the tag closer to the soil or stick to using them indoors.