How to Identify Garden Plants


Finding the right plants for a garden is not difficult. Most gardening supply stores have helpful staff that will direct you to the right plants. But novice gardeners can be overwhelmed by the terminology (annuals, perennials, etc.) and by which plants need shade and which need full sunlight. After a garden starts growing, identifying plants can be a problem. But some quick organization tips and labeling of plots will help any gardener identify garden plants.

Identifying plants

Step 1

Before you leave the garden shop or greenhouse, make sure you clearly have labels on all the plants or seeds you are going to plant. Most shops also provide care instructions. Either purchase or find flat or smooth rounded rocks--one for each type of plant you plan to use.

Step 2

Using a paintbrush and paints, paint or draw the plant you are growing. Below each, write "annual" or "perennial." The drawings don't have to be perfect. But if your art skills are suboptimal, simply write the name of the plant on the rock. On the backside of each plant, use the acrylic paint pen to write simple care instructions, i.e. "water daily." Use the clear spray paint to seal your design. Spray one side of rock, let dry, then spray the other side and let dry.

Step 3

Plant your garden, making sure to drop the identifying rock in each flower bed or pot as you plant. The rocks add an decorative touch to a garden and help identify plants. * If you are using terra cotta pots for some of your plants, consider using paints to decorate the pot with identifying information.

Tips and Warnings

  • Though some gardeners like to use wooden sticks to label garden plants, the paint often fades and wood disintegrates due to watering and sunlight.

Things You'll Need

  • Flat or smooth rounded rocks (small, medium)
  • Acrylic paints
  • Acrylic paint pen
  • Clear waterproof spray paint


  • "Painted Garden Art Anyone Can Do;" Kristen Lin Wellford; 2007.
  • "Container Gardening;" Stephanie Donaldson; 2003.
Keywords: identify garden plants, artistic touch for your garden, plant guide