Forum home Tools and techniques

Advice on marker pens for plastic plant labels

The pens sold in packs with plastic labels are very far from weatherproof.  What should I use?


  • Busy-LizzieBusy-Lizzie Posts: 22,644
    Either laundry marker pens or soft pencils, about 2B
    Dordogne and Norfolk. Clay in Dordogne, sandy in Norfolk.
  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 34,569
    I  use a pencil too. If the labels are very shiny, give them a light rub with sandpaper first.
  • TopbirdTopbird Posts: 8,198
    I tend to use a soft pencil as well - it can get rubbed off but Hosta's tip helps with that problem. Good fade resistance and a pencil doesn't dry out if you leave it on the potting bench in the sun....

    If you particularly want to use a pen try a black "Sharpie - ultra fine" (larger size nibs are available). These are the pens used by many of my local nurseries - and they are the most fade resistant I've used. The ultra-fine nib allows you to write neatly and put additional info on the label if you want to. However, the ink will still fade after a year or two.

    If you want labels for plants in the ground you might want to look at black labels which you write on with a white pen. I have lots of white labels in the ground and at this time of year it looks a bit like a graveyard...🙄
    Heaven is ... sitting in the garden with a G&T and a cat while watching the sun go down
  • Pauline 7Pauline 7 Posts: 2,217
    Not tried it, but wondered if painting it with clear  ( nail ) varnish after writing on it would help to stop it fading. 
    West Yorkshire
  • chickychicky Posts: 10,396
    I use Sharpies, just like Tbird suggests - I like the ones that have a medium nib at one end and a fine one at the other
  • John36John36 Posts: 10
    Painting with nail varnish only works for a while and the peels off taking the ink with it.
  • Thank you all. I shall be buying a soft pencil tomorrow and looking out for Sharpies.
  • Pauline 7Pauline 7 Posts: 2,217
    Thanks John36. That saves me trying it.  I kept meaning to.
    West Yorkshire
  • FireFire Posts: 17,369
    Sharpies don't work for me at all and wash off in a month or so (outside). Following recommendations I now use a  Stabilio Write-4-All pen. I put out a load of test labels and after a wet winter, the writing is clear and present.

  • Thank you, Firefly0. Outside is my problem. I think it may be easier to find a Stabilio stockist too.
Sign In or Register to comment.