Helping your plants thrive and stay alive.
Hello there fellow gardeners and farmers. Thank you for stopping by and taking the time to read this blog post. Your enthusiasm for planting has led you to an important piece of information, which is the impact that the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) Hardiness Zone map has for the success of your plants.
The USDA Hardiness Zones map is based on the average annual minimum winter temperatures, divided into 13, 10° Fahrenheit zones across the United States of America. Hardiness describes the extent that a plant can survive low temperatures. This helps gardeners to determine what plants to grow in their climate and which ones to avoid.
Currently at planthardiness.ars.usda.gov you can use two methods to figure out which hardiness zone you reside in. There is an interactive GIS-map that will show you your zone according to your zip code. This works best if you have a broadband internet connection. Or you can download a static map and legend showing you the zone you need.
The current USDA map is the 2012 version, which uses data compiled from the period of 1976-2005, as a steady and longer period of data to smooth out the yearly fluctuations that occur per area. This has proven to be very reliable and worth checking out. You can also observe the extra detail on the map which further breaks down the temperatures into 5°F subdivisions. These are called “a/b half zones”. Therefore you could be in a State that has “a” and a “b” subdivisions with multiple zones.
Using the USDA Hardiness Zone Map
The map is a guideline not a guarantee. Use it to help plan out your garden. It will inform you on the flora you can have throughout the many winters to come. It’s also good to know that the lower the number i.e. Zone, the colder the region will be.
Using More than the USDA Hardiness Zones Map.
We are confident that with all this information you are ready to grow the best plants for your zone and humble-brag a little bit to your friends and family. Of course you always knew that a Smooth Hydrangea can grow in Minnesota because it’s a zone 3 plant but that it would never make it in warm California which is a zone 9.
As great as all that is, we know that any information worth its salt is never used in isolation to all other variables. We insist that you also check out soil types, the growing seasons for plants, length of time for available sunshine, precipitation levels and more!
Thanks for stopping by. Checkout our other articles on gardening know-how and cultivate your green thumb.