Sticker shock


IMG_2840Raise your hand if you enjoy spending up to half an hour removing adhesive stickers from ceramic pots. No hands up? What a surprise.

I have upgraded my game a bit for bulb forcing and no longer use the cheap (but not unattractive) Home Depot pots. One thing I’ll say for them, though; their pots always have the price stickers on the bottom covering the drainage hole. This is a very sensible option; it’s easy to just poke these stickers out; whatever remains can be peeled off or not—doesn’t much matter because no one will see them and they wear away pretty fast.

At my other place, a local nursery, the pots are nicer and more varied, but they come in with rather large white manufacturers price tags on them. The nursery then adds  round green stickers to indicate they’re half price when I buy them in the late fall (a time when very few locals are buying pots). I can try to pry all this off before they go in the root cellar, but sometimes it’s easier when they come out. In any case, it’s always a big pain, and why? These are ornamental objects. Price stickers do not add to their beauty—you’d never get away with this for other housewares like china—stickers need to be discreet and easily removed.

So, my simple plea to manufacturers and importers: we know the technology is available and this does not need to happen. Fix it.

Otherwise, I have very little to rant about this holiday season. The champagne is flowing, the temps have been balmy, and my bulbs are all advanced enough to be given as gifts. Hell, I can still garden outside if I felt like it. Life is good. Just get rid of the stickers.

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Elizabeth Licata

Elizabeth Licata has been a regular writer for  Garden Rant since 2007, after contributing a guest rant about the overuse of American flags in front gardens. She lives and gardens in Buffalo, N.Y., which, far from the frozen wasteland many assume it to be, is a lush paradise of gardens, historic architecture, galleries, museums, theaters, and fun. As editor of Buffalo Spree magazine,  Licata helps keep Western New Yorkers apprised about what is happening in their region. She is also a freelance writer and art curator, who’s been published in Fine Gardening, Horticulture, ArtNews, Art in America, the Village Voice, and many other publications. She does regular radio segments for the local NPR affiliate, WBFO.

Licata is involved with Garden Walk Buffalo, the largest free garden tour in the US and possibly the world, and has written the text for a book about Garden Walk. She has also written and edited several art-related books. Contact Elizabeth: ealicata at


  1. I hear you Elizabeth – I hate it too! Try this – lay the pot on a flat surface and drape a dishcloth that’s been soaked in hot water across it (if the pots are small enough, you can do two at once) for about 10 minutes to start. Ultimately the sticker will peel off and the residue will easily wash off.

    • Cover the sticker with mayonnaise and let it sit for a bit. Then wash it off with soap and water. Works like a charm. (Also works on those pesky DMV stickers.)

  2. I use “Goof Off” — I have a large bottle of it in the garage, and I use it for all these situations where a sticker has been applied that I want to remove.

    Works on a lot of things — not everything. I can usually get a price sticker off a book cover, for example, if the cover is glossy, so that a gift doesn’t have an ugly sticker on it.

    Used it recently to remove an old, old sticker from a metal surface. The sticker was old, half-peeled-off, and the glue had hardened. A few minutes with a paper towel soaked with this, and the label came off.

  3. Thank you! I have struggled with this at my garden center also. These are not inexpensive items, and the stickers are a huge pain. I have given up on many, thinking being outdoors in the elements would take care of it–it does not!

  4. I hate stickers on glazed pots about this much. But on an unglazed pot, even if the sticker is removed you still have to deal with the adhesive residue that seems to have seeped into the porous pot surface. Makes me nuts. If they’d just put the sticker on the bottom it would all be fine.

  5. Yes, Goo-Gone is the answer. I use it constantly for taking price stickers off of used books that I buy locally and online. On flat surfaces the combination of Goo-Gone and a flat razor blade in a plastic holder is works really well, although on pots the razor might not work as well. Try the Goo-Gone.

  6. Thanks for the comments, guys. As for Goo Gone? Not all it’s cracked up to be. I don’t mean to sound spoiled but I think our pricing technology is advanced enough that no special remedies should be needed. As for wasting my precious mayo–ha!

  7. I have a pot purchased years ago that I could not get the sticker off. I finally put it out thinking that the summer would wear it down and I could get it off later. Nope. That sticker is still in evidence (much picked at and bedraggled, but all too present) Years of sticker. Drives me nuts every time I see it.

    I too want them to fix this problem.

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