DIY: Terracotta & Copper Plant Markers

Are you getting ready for spring?  I took a walk around the garden today and was so pleased to see all the little nubs of plants poking through the ground and leaf buds ready to pop on the trees and shrubs.

My seed orders arrived last week and I realized that I had gone all-in on things that I have never grown before.  It is going to be a fun season with lots of experiments in the ground.   Trouble is, that nearly all of my old plant labels from last season are useless…I am just not growing the same stuff.

DIY Terracotta Plant Markers from www.pithandvigor.com

I’m tired of the not-so-great plant label system I’ve had.   Plants  are either not being marked at all or marked with labels I made from some old wood a few seasons ago.  The stuff was half rotten back then…and by last year they were literally disintegrating.

So I’ve  made some new markers and the design brief to myself was simple — sturdy, attractive, more long-lasting than what I had and able to change-up with ease.  (Cause I can’t help but always trying new things and what to do with a plant label for something your never want to grow again).

DIY Terracotta Plant Markers from www.pithandvigor.com

Here is what I did:  I started with package of 25 feet of 6 gauge bare solid copper wire from the electrical aisle.  I cut off about 14 inches and used a heavy-duty pair of wire cutters/ pliers to straighten it and then bend the end into a pleasing loop.

DIY Terracotta Plant Markers from www.pithandvigor.com

Separately, I bought a bunch of small terracotta water dishes (that go under pots) in the garden center.  These are about 4 inches in diameter, but I think the next size smaller could also work.   Marking a hole where I wanted to drill I used a ceramic/ glass  bit to drill a hole in the dish.

DIY Terracotta Plant Markers from www.pithandvigor.com

The hole is just a little bit bigger than the wire so I can easily thread the wire through the hole to hang the dish.

DIY Terracotta Plant Markers from www.pithandvigor.comUsing chalk ink markers, (I used Whitebut they come in a variety of colors) I added my plant label.  I’ve done a bit of testing…if you use chalk ink markers, the ink doesn’t move if it gets wet — unless you touch it — so it should last the season. But next year, when have a whole slew of new things I will be able to wipe away the old chalk and replace it with something else.  

DIY Terracotta Plant Markers from www.pithandvigor.com

I posted over at Apartment Therapy about my cucamelon growing plans and other quirky veg that I am experimenting with.   DIY Terracotta Plant Markers from www.pithandvigor.com
Once the dish was hung on the copper wire I tried it out in my Clivia plant (cause really you don’t want to see the mess that is my veg garden this time of year).   If you wanted to make a slightly different version, I think it would be cute to paint the insides of the dish with chalkboard paint, but since I have about 30 more to make, I don’t have the patience for the unnecessary extra step.   I am looking forward to seeing how these weather – the terracotta will surely age to a pretty vintage and the copper will, in time, verdigris.

Images: Rochelle Greayer

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Lowes.  This is a new series that I am doing for the next 10 months.  Once a month, they give me the cash for materials and a theme and I work out a DIY that hopefully we can all use.  I’m really looking forward to the challenge! I am not an employee of Lowes and all opinions are my own.

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rochelle greayer

Hi, I'm Rochelle and for 18 years I have worked as a landscape designer, author/writer, and design teacher. I've designed residential and hospitality (for hotels, restaurants, and spas) gardens across the USA and in the UK, Europe and the Middle East. After many years of teaching garden design topics in person, I launched the PITH + VIGOR Boot Camp series in early 2018. Through my blog, social media, and online courses (Garden Design Bootcamp and Planting Design Boot Camp) I aim to help homeowners learn how to confidently design and create home gardens that reflect their own personal and unique style.

7 Comments

  1. Jenna K on March 31, 2013 at 4:24 pm

    What a GREAT idea! I love this!

  2. Susan Libertiny on March 31, 2013 at 10:15 pm

    Very cute idea! And it looks very easy to do. Thanks for sharing.
    Susan

  3. [email protected] Trekker on March 31, 2013 at 11:10 pm

    What a wonderful gardening tip, thank you for sharing.

  4. Ben | Champion AC on April 1, 2013 at 3:38 pm

    The copper color goes surprisingly well against green plants!

  5. Julie Blanner on April 8, 2013 at 11:33 am

    Those are darling!

  6. Angela England on April 8, 2013 at 9:46 pm

    Such a cute idea! These would do well in the whiskey barrels that I put together for my Lowe’s Challenge. It was cool to see what unique ideas everyone came up with!

  7. electricians in springfield mo on April 9, 2013 at 1:56 am

    I love the handwritten sign!

    Rose

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