Best Hardiness Zone

James Lee
• Tuesday, 08 December, 2020
• 10 min read

When choosing perennial plants for your garden, it’s important to select varieties that can survive and thrive year-round in your area, especially in regions where extreme winter temperatures are normal. The two most commonly referenced hardiness zone maps are those produced by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Natural Resources Canada (NRC).

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(Source: www.homedepot.com)


NOTE: Zone maps are not absolute; if you find the information contradictory to your own experience, you may live in a microclimate. Soil, moisture, humidity, heat, wind, and other conditions also affect the viability of individual plants.

Perennial flowers, shrubs, and trees grow best when planted in the appropriate zone. Planting native species is a surefire way to achieve a stable garden.

For annual plants, like most vegetables and some flowers, it’s far more important to pay attention to things like the length of your growing season and the typical dates of your first and last frosts. Because annuals are only meant to last the length of one growing season, planting zones don’t necessarily factor into the equation.

Unlike the USDA map, which is based only on minimum winter temperatures, the planting zones map produced by Natural Resources Canada (NRC) considers a wider range of climatic variables, including maximum temperatures and the length of the frost-free period. Being able to understand a hardiness zone map means you’ll have a starting point for making wise planting decisions.

Understanding gardening zones means you can focus your time and attention (not to mention money) on plants with the best chance of winter survival. Planting Zone Map for 2019 combines data from the USDA with specific geographical information to provide a complete look at your growing area.

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(Source: www.popsugar.com)

Instead of simply assuming you are in a certain zone and thinking you already know what grows best, click on the major metros near you to see detailed information specific to your exact area. By clicking your closest metro area, you’ll find even more detailed information to help make your gardening decisions.

For example, the cold may cause your beloved perennial to die; however, the roots might be hardy enough to bring new growth in the spring. You can adjust many things, such as soil type, moisture levels and amount of sunlight in your garden, but temperature can be hard to control.

In the simplest terms, USDA hardiness zones keep a grower in Alaska from making the mistake of planting peach trees. Understanding the different plant hardiness zones gives you the ability to narrow down your gardening choices.

Use the information about individual growing zones as a starting point for planning what to plant in your garden. USDA Plant HardinessZone 1 is the coldest zone designation for the United States.

With minimum average temperatures between -60 to -50 degrees F, it can be a difficult zone for gardening. Native plants have already adapted to the area, so it makes sense that they’re a natural, excellent choice.

zone hardiness zones frost dates garden planter
(Source: www.conknet.com)

While there are relatively few non-native perennials suitable for Zone 1, some can be grown with proper planting and care. Giving plants a head start indoors or in a greenhouse typically results in better success for Zone 1 vegetables.

Located in both Alaska and the continental United States, planting Zone 2 features freezing average minimum temperatures of between -50 to -40 degrees F. These temperatures can present a growing challenge to many gardeners. High winds and drought conditions are found in both the tundra and plains of Zone 2.

Plants in Zone 2 must be able to withstand freezing and high levels of drought. Annuals are best suited for this zone, but some perennials can be grown when chosen carefully.

Bleeding Heart Monkshood Pension Poppy Primrose Sea Holly Violet Plant hardinessZone 3 is found throughout Alaska, the northern portions of the United States and in high altitude areas.

This zone features minimum average temperatures of -40 to -30 degrees F. Depending on the geographical location of your growing space, high winds, freezing and low moisture may affect growing conditions. Most native plants can be grown across the zone, regardless of altitude, as long as growing conditions are similar.

zone hardiness grows research
(Source: pardonourgarden.wordpress.com)

Adding row covers can help extend the growing season and warm the ground. Plant vegetables that quickly mature to beat early frosts.

Alpine Rock cress Aster Blanket Flower Liars varieties Sylvia Snow-in-Summer Spurge Virginia Bluebells Wallflower These unique climates share minimum average temperatures of between -30 to -20 degrees F. Planting in this zone is less challenging than in colder zones, but the short growing season impacts both vegetables and flower bloom times.

Zone 4 is considered a cool climate suitable for growing plants hardy enough to withstand temperatures well below freezing. Plant hardinessZone 5 includes the southern coastal region of Alaska, the North Central United States and portions of New England.

With minimum average temperatures between -20 and -10 degrees F, this zone experiences a moderately cold winter. While the growing season is short, you can extend it by using cold frames or using started plants in your annual garden.

From coastal waters and woodlands to the wide plains of the Midwest, plants should not only be cold hardy, but they also need to match the growing environment. Gardens feature longer growing seasons that result in an increased vegetable harvest and extended blooms in landscaping.

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(Source: aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu)

False sunflower Florida rose Flowering fern Japanese Bottle brush Lady’s Mantle Serum This zone features cool winters with average minimum temperatures falling between 0 and 10 degrees F. Gardens in this zone have multiple plant options from seed catalogs, local home stores, nurseries and greenhouses.

Zone 7 contains many growing climates, from the Eastern coastal areas through the Oklahoma prairies to the arid regions of the southwest and up into the forests of Oregon and Washington. The region’s wide variety in climates means that other considerations often need to be made to accommodate for drought tolerance and to adequately adjust soil conditions.

Many Zone 7 hardy plants can be grown successfully in multiple locations with adjustments made to address their specific needs. Providing row covers or cold frames can help protect against early spring or late fall damage.

Extending up the western coast, Zone 8 features average minimum winter temperatures of 10 to 20 degrees F. With hot summers and mild winters, growers typically enjoy a long planting season. Plants hardy for Zone 8 love mild winters and long, hot summers.

With a wide range of moisture and sunlight requirements, growers should narrow down a potential plant list first by zone, and then by specific growing climates. Cool weather plants like spinach, lettuce and peas can be grown in both the spring and the fall.

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(Source: gardenseason.com)

Aback banana Alma fig Anna apple Bronze banana Bryan apricot Clementine tangerine Darjeeling banana Gala apple Jujube varieties Kumquat and Lifeboat varieties Marsh grapefruit Meyer lemon Montmorency cherry Multiple varieties of peaches and plums Ruby grapefruit Washington orange Providing shade and plenty of moisture can help push your flowers through the hottest of days.

Asiatic lily Hardy geranium Santana Mexican petunia Phlox Located in California, Arizona, Texas, Florida and along the Gulf of Mexico coast, this zone features warm winters and hot summers.

With an average minimum winter temperature of 20 to 30 degrees F, Zone 9 features active gardens throughout the entire year. Long, hot summers and mild winter conditions make the heat more of an issue than the cold in this zone.

Tropical plants with low water requirements thrive in Zone 9. Apples, pears, peaches and cherries require colder weather than Zone 9 provides.

Basil Bay laurel Chives Coriander Lemon thyme Marjoram Mint Cold-hardy plants perform well during the mild winters, while tropical perennials are the centerpieces of long, hot summers.

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Southern inland California, southern Florida and Hawaii are the three small areas where the average minimum winter temperature only falls between 30 and 40 degrees F. The ability of Zone 10 gardeners to avoid freezing temperatures is a huge bonus for winter gardening, but the extreme heat of the summer months limits planting possibilities. With few frosts, the high heat and humidity of summer can become a major concern for growers.

Curry leaf Warangal Ginger Mexican tarragon Miracle fruit Planting Zone 11 is found in Hawaii, the Florida Keys, Puerto Rico and a few small areas of the Continental United States.

This extremely warm zone features mellow winters with an average minimum winter temperature of between 40 and 50 degrees F. Cold hardiness is not a factor in this zone, since it has zero frost days. With long, hot summers and warm winters, Zone 11 growers need to look for plants that are heat tolerant.

Anemone coronary Begonias Bougainvillea Drumstick gallium Kangaroo paw Ponytail palm Planting Zones 12 and 13 are not found in the continental United States, but are located in both Hawaii and Puerto Rico.

Tropical plants are the key to gardening and landscaping in the extreme heat of both these zones. Growers germinate indoors, purchase plants from nurseries and grow many vegetables during the cooler winter months.

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(Source: www.logees.com)

Bush beans Eggplant Hot peppers Summer squashes Tomatoes Flowers to Grow in Zones 12 and 13 With the proper care, many tropical plants will bloom beautifully in this hot climate.

Rutaceae Strelitziaceae Helicon Zingiberaceae Crustacean Candace Marantaceae Lauraceae No matter what zone you live in one thing is certain, you’ll need watering equipment.

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