Well, free as long as you are a milk drinker.  Or if you know people who are willing to give you some of their recyclables.  All you need is a clean, empty milk jug, a pair of sharp scissors, and a black Sharpie.

After my close call with dampening off I wanted to get away from using any materials in my seed starting cells that would rot in the damp conditions seeds need to germinate.  I came across the idea from an article I saw on making plant markers from empty yogurt containers.   I tried the yogurt thing and all of the markers were curved and weird and it just didn’t work for me.  So I thought of using the milk jugs instead because we go through a ton of milk around here with 4 kiddos and it worked perfectly.

First you want to cut out all of the areas on your milk jug that are mostly flat.  It will then look something like this.

Milk Jug Plant Markers

The Milk Jug All Cut Apart

Then simply cut each flat section into as many little plant markers as you can.  I cut mine into strips 3 and 1/2 inches long  and a little over 1 and 1/2 inch wide.  Then I tapered the end that would go into the planting pot.  This is what they looked like when finished.

Finished Recycled Milk Jug Plant Markers

Finished Recycled Milk Jug Plant Markers

I swished these babies around in a 1:10 part bleach and water solution, just like I do with my planters to make sure and kill any bacteria that may have been remaining on them.  Then I wrote on them with a black permanent marker to label my plants and they have been great.  Much better than the wooden popsicle sticks, as they can’t rot in the damp potting mix while I wait for the seeds to germinate.  Plus, you can’t beat free!

Here is a shot of my seed trays with the plastic markers, after I took out the rotting wooden ones.  Sorry the pic is a tad fuzzy, but you can still see that they are so much better!  This was actually done about a month ago and they still look just as good.  They moved right along with the plants when I transplanted them into bigger “homes” just recently and now are the labels in large solo cups.  I will post the pics of the plant craziness at my house very soon.

Seedlings Re-Labeled With Milk Jug Plant Markers

Seedlings Re-Labeled With Milk Jug Plant Markers


Happy planting!  And a super happy St. Patrick’s Day!!!  Gotta love a green holiday, eh?

– Kate



2 Responses to Free and Easy Plant Markers

  1. John says:

    I’m not a gardener, just married to a hot one, but I had no idea that wood would rot and cause mold in those little planters. But I saw it. Seems like the little guys need lots of help when just coming up. Great post!

  2. Jaynell says:

    Great idea! I was wondering how you used your milk cartons for markers. I forgot to ask. 🙂 Thanks for the tip!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Set your Twitter account name in your settings to use the TwitterBar Section.