As Wireman noted, some very aesthetically-critical setups (like over here ) really won't work with visible tags - so mapping may be the best option ...
All the best,
You must do the thing you think you cannot do. --- Eleanor Roosevelt
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Having worked in botanic gardens, I agree that sometimes displays can look like a collection of tags rather than plants. It is not something that you can easily get agreement on amongst interested parties. If it is a display of some “pretty plants” that have no other significant value like location data or differential clone information we often didn’t tag them at all. However, where it is important not to lose the connection between the plant and the information I’ve moved to double tagging, burying a tag with the accession number (quicker to make) or with some details written out at the bottom of the pot. I have had unfortunate experiences at botanic gardens, nurseries and personal collections where small unattended children come walking up to proudly show the parents their collection of tags and it is upsetting to say the least. Birds have caused trouble with “shiny” metal pot labels on occasion. Old labels snap off and end up being picked up and put back incorrectly by well meaning visitors or volunteers. In flats, even typically careful and knowledgeable individuals can stick the tag back into the adjacent pot. I always match up the buried tag and the visible tag when transplanting. Buried tag has precedence in case of discrepancy. In a display bed or large mixed pot, I place the label piece right under the rhizome so when it is eventually dug to more or divide, that tag is right there. I toyed with the idea of using RFID tags (radio frequency id) on self guided tours which would have been essentially invisible but at the time we didn’t have the funds to move forward.
I just use a dyno label maker and label the pot, might be a good idea to engrave a number into the pot and have a file with what the numbers mean
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1. I don't use labels in anything other than the tuberous dews and utrics. Labels are an eye sore IMO, and I know what almost everything is.
2. I only wish I would've labeled my pings from the start. I quickly lost track of what's what with them..
3. Brokken is 100% correct. His labels are awesome. I would use them on every single pot in the GH if I bribe him into making some for me.
4. Tony is also 100% correct. Below the soil line is the way to go.. I have since started labeling things with tags below the soil line. That way I don't see them, and if push comes to shove, I can cheat to see what the plant is. Lord knows my memory isn't as top notch as it used to be.
i Personally don't like the look of tags either, but just recently learnt a lesson. Got a variety of nep seeds from ebay many many months ago...threw them in divided sectors in a tupperware container with moss. Now they are sprouting and inspite of initially thinking I know where I put which seed, now that the moss has started to grow, i don't know which seed is glabrata, which seed is izumiae or which is tentaculata. Whats more troubling is I won't know at least for a few years. lol
Regarding bigger plants...for a small collection of just "species", it might be easy to manage on a "shallow level comparison". But if you want to be specific about clone and source of the plant, having a tag is important. My plant collection is small enough for me to know every single plant and its source, yet, I still save the tags in a separate bag. And for the most part, I don't have replicates (save for a few), so it is easy to locate.
But, if you are getting species, it will be like opening a new can of worms. Not to mention if pitchers are missing, it will be very very hard to recognize most hybrids and some species even.