Thursday, May 31, 2012

Tagging Plants, on the Cheap!!

This is a rerun of a post I did back about 2 years ago. It had kind of gotten lost in the archives. I bring it up because of a couple of reasons. It is always timely to save money and somebody asked me about it a couple of days ago. I sent them the link, then got to thinking that it might be time to have it rear its head again! So, from February of 2010, let me introduce: Tag You're It!

When it comes to buying plants or anything else I am poor....also read cheap! I love deals, plant swaps, trades, the barter system and making things for myself. Today's post deals with the last thing, making things for myself.
As you know, I have a great many varieties of Citrus. Many of them look very much alike in growth habit, leaf shape and size, etc. I am also amassing a decent size Camellia collection, through trades, grafting, cuttings, friends etc. The different cultivars there also have a great many similarities. I am very anal when it comes to keeping my plants tagged. I like to know who is doing what, if they need a little different care, etc. I have been using plastic tags stuck in the pots for years now. Occasionally they get lost, stolen (squirrels take them believe it or not) or just fade over time.
I have noticed many of my friends at the Camellia Society use aluminum tags hung from the plants. They are permanent, are always with the tree, and easy to spot.
I looked them up online. I found that I could get 100 of them for $15.95 +shipping. So basically, right around $20. Remember at the beginning I said I was poor, read cheap? Just like a lot of other families in the country, I don't have an extra $20. So, then a brain storm hit me. I drink soda and they come in cans....HMMMMM?!
I will make my own!

Start with an empty aluminum soda can. I find empty is easier to work with. Ha Ha.

I use Pepsi, it is the only one that will work. You can try Beer or Coke or some other kind, but I am pretty sure Pepsi cans are the only ones that work. The last two sentences were a joke, ANY aluminum can will work.

Cut the top and bottom off. Then slice it down the side. You will need to uncurl it a bit. Remember the sides will be rather sharp. You can file them down or wear gloves if this concerns you.

Cut the aluminum into approx 1 inch strips. They don't have to be exact, this isn't brain surgery. I get 7 from one can.

Punch a hole in it at one side with a nail.

Then with a ball point pen, write the name on it. If you write on it on a towel or several layers of newspaper it will indent better.
If you know the botanical and the common name put both. It could very easily be useful in the future if you have both.

You then slip a piece of wire through the hole and hang it from the plant. Make sure you tie it loosely to the plant so you don't girdle it. If you don't want to hang it, make a little hanger from an old coat hanger and stick that into the pot.
There, nice and cheap....especially if you already buy beverages in cans.
Happy Growing!


  1. A fantastic reuse/repurpose idea - I found your site via ...and love gardening :)

  2. What a clever idea. I constantly forget the names of any new plants in the garden; I may know the genus, but I never remember the variety.
    Thanks for the tip.

    Blogtrain sent me, I shall come and check out what else there is on offer. As I'm a gardener with occasional gardening post, we'll get on like a house on fire.

  3. That's actually a really GREAT idea. Thanks!

  4. I was just complaining (in my head) that soda cans are so thin these days. Great idea. I have been using Popsicle sticks and Sharpie, but they break down in the soil. Thanks!

  5. Wow! Thats a neat idea! Have been thinking of ways to tag/identify the trees on my farm and this idea is great. Thanks for all the information.