Zinc planters have a long tradition in UK and European gardens. Recently, they have become very popular as an alternative to traditional lead planters, as both the weight and cost of a zinc planter is significantly less than its lead equivalent.

Depending on the design chosen, a zinc planter can suit both contemporary urban schemes as well as the traditional. This is why zinc has become the planter material of choice for many professional designers, whether for landscapes or interiors. Whatever your project, the mottled grey patina of zinc will provide a distinctly beautiful backdrop whether for elegant green foliage or vibrant flowering plants.

But what exactly is a zinc planter? How is it made? Quite simply, the best examples, like those available from ORNAMENTI, are made by craftsmen using high-grade steel. There are holes in the base and integral feet, both of which aid drainage and stop plants from becoming waterlogged. Once created, the steel planter is then hot-dip galvanised, a process whereby the raw metal planter is completely submerged in a large bath of molten zinc at a temperature of around 450°C. When exposed to the atmosphere again, the pure zinc reacts with oxygen to form zinc oxide, which reacts with carbon dioxide to form zinc carbonate which protects the steel underneath from corrosion. 

What makes each ORNAMENTI zinc planter unique is the hand finishing to achieve a fabulous mottled grey appearance, similar to old lead. The finish of each zinc planter is unique, adding to the exclusivity of these designs. Although a freshly produced design will start off dark grey, over time the planters will become generally lighter in colour, with increasing levels of tonal variation and highlights. Zinc planters will weather naturally, developing a beautiful antique patina that blends with their surroundings in any garden, landscape, courtyard or even interior space. Any small blemishes and imperfections are characteristic of a hand-crafted product.

Care must still be taken to avoid abrasions or scratches to the surface which may then make the zinc planter susceptible to rust. Any damage to this protective outer layer may result in rust, although this will not normally spread and is easily treatable by applying a proprietary rust treatment (such as Hammerite Kurust) to the damaged area. Otherwise, a zinc planter should require no maintenance.

The process of galvanising is not new. The technique was recognised in academic circles almost 300 years when, in 1742, a French chemist called Paul Jaques Malouin described the process in a presentation to the French Royal Academy. In 1772, the Italian Luigi Galvani, from whom we derive the word galvanizing, discovered the electrochemical process that takes place between metals during an experiment.

Returning to the original question: Why zinc planters? The simple answer is that zinc planters have the rigidity and strength of steel with the weather-protection from the zinc-coating. If you are looking for metal planters that will last a ‘lifetime’ then ORNAMENTI’s zinc planters will prove an excellent choice.

Visit the planters section of the ORNAMENTI website to see all our planter designs. Collections of zinc designs include the Angle Range, the Hoop Planter, the Parterre Range, the Ribbed Range, the Rivet Range and the Saltire Range. Zinc planter designs are normally held in stock at our Harrogate warehouse.