Tagging the plants that you grow and sell is a necessary evil. You have to tag them for your own reference and you have to tag them for your customers whether you sell retail or wholesale. Hand writing tags works just fine, but it can be really time consuming and finding a marker that really is permanent can be challenging.
This subject comes up all of the time in Our Members Area and we really have found some really great options. If you are not a member and have never even taken the $7.00 trial of our members area you truly are missing out.
I am doing this post for a couple of reasons.
- I will later and often share it with our members along with some other options that I won’t include here.
- I really want to document for myself and for the girls at Mike’s Plant Farm how the tags and labels go into the printer. Both the ribbon and a roll of tags lasts a long time so as they say, “a picture says a thousand words” and we can pull up this post if we need a refresher of how to put either into the printer.
The tags that you see in the printer are the pot stick type tags that we use by the thousands. They are inexpensive, around 3 cents each as I recall and with this printer we can print hundreds of them in a matter of a minute or two.
I think that one roll of ink ribbon will print something like 12,000 tags and as you can see this is a thermal printer and after each impression the ribbon advances to the next impression. Thermal printing on plastic tags holds up really well, unlike an ink pen or a permanent marker. Do Not Use a permanent marker to make your plant labels. They fade. They fade fast, to the point of being completely invisible.
What works best? Believe it or not a #2 pencil holds up really well, even better? A #3 pencil. Even some so called plant markers fade. But a paint marker holds up well, but they are just a tad cumbersome to write with if you are doing a lot of tags. Also a cattle marker that is used for marking the ear tags of cattle. Those you can find at a farm supply store, paint markers can be found in the craft section of a big box store.
Okay! That was the self serving part of this post. Now, if you like to learn more about this printer and see it in action, Watch the Movie Below.
Wow! I just realized that we shot this video in September of 2013 and that printer has been working hard for over four years now. It has printed tens of thousands of tags and is still going strong.
More Questions about Properly Tagging Plants? See this.
Questions, comments, mean things to say? Post them below and I will respond appropriately.
HELLO MIKE, WHAT KIND OF PRINTER ARE YOU USING. GREAT VIDEO ALSO. THANKS SO MUCH
I don’t know but the details are in the video.
It’s a great video, Mike. I especially appreciate the explanation of why the tags made for laser printers don’t work well. To answer Domonick’s question, the printer is a TSC Printers TTP-247, but this setup is sold as a UL-247 from United Label (unitedlabel.com). (I’ll bet it’s their brand for a modified TTP-247.) The printer flyer is at http://www.unitedlabel.com/documents/2018-UL-247.pdf
United Label modifies printers to work with the tags and labels nurseries need. They also write software that helps you use the printer. Surprisingly, the costs are still in line with what you paid in 2013. In October 2020, the standalone printer is $865 and the printer plus software is $995. You ought to talk with the folks at United Label about the best choice for your needs. Their phone is 800-726-5153.
You can get a TTP-247 cheaper elsewhere, but it won’t be set up for printing plant tags. In other words, United Label’s printer costs more because it is more valuable.
Dan Vorhies says
Hi Mike iam geting into the nursery business and I just have a quick question that you can answer
in your sand cutting beds would it be benificial to use row cover NOT PLASTIC, row cover to keep the humidity up in the summer
Please advise Thank you Dan
No. It would either have to be closed up or if you use this, https://mikesbackyardnursery.com/mikes-plant-propagation-kit/, then air flow and some sun are essential. This system is by far the most fool proof and used by all growers big and small.
With all of your shared knowledge I patiently built my nursery from cuttings. I had time, what I didn’t have was money. Your advice made it all possible for me. Big thanks to you!
I’m finally to the point where there is way too many plants to be tagged by hand, so I am shopping for a printer like this. Do you know of a place where short descriptions for plants are available? It would take me forever to cover all varieties with my caveman diction.
Thanks again, mike!
The answer is no. When I make bench cards I usually resort to google to do my own research, then in my own “buyer friendly” words I create my own descriptions. It’s not something I enjoy doing, but it has to be done and my who often relies on the bench cards when speaking to customers is adamant about me keeping up with the bench cards.