Have you ever heard of plant hardiness zones? If you're planning a garden, knowing what zone you live in can have a direct effect on the success of your garden. Learn about plant hardiness zones and how to use this valuable information to create a flourishing garden this year.
What Are Plant Hardiness Zones?
The United States is divided into 13 different plant hardiness zones. The states contained in each zone share certain climate conditions. Experienced gardeners take into account what zone they live in so they can plant flowers and vegetables with the best chance of thriving. For example, if you were to read up on planting roses, you'd see that different varieties of roses fare better in different plant hardiness zones.
How Are These Zones Created?
Each of the 13 zones of the plant hardiness map are separated by a difference of 10 degrees Fahrenheit. The lowest number connected with each of the 13 zones stands for the average yearly minimum temperature. Furthermore, some of the zones on the map are separated into smaller regions labeled A and B The A and B regions have a temperature difference of five degrees Fahrenheit. If you have regions A and B in the zone where you live, remember that region A is colder than region B.
The USDA Plant Hardiness Map
It's easy to use the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map to find your zone. One quick way to find your zone is to enter your ZIP code in the search bar. You'll see your state pop up as well as its zone number. Or you can scroll down the list and click on your state to get a closeup of your zone on the map. Find your county within your state and match its color to the map key provided to find the zone number. I like the color system; it makes it easy to quickly find a particular zone. Once you know what zone you live in, you can check the specifications for any plants you want to add to your garden.
Practice Using the Zone Map
One way to get comfortable with using the plant hardiness zone map is to research where certain types of flowers grow best. Do you like Gerbera daisies? If so, you'll want to know that they grow best in zones 9 to 11 because they're not cold-hardy flowers. On the other hand, peonies can be grown in zone 2 all the way to zone 9. These flowers tolerate the cold very well. Looking at different types of flowers and pinpointing their zones on the map allows you to become familiar with how this map is organized.
Changes Made to the Map Over the Years
The USDA plant hardiness map of today looks different than the one we had in 1990 due to climate change. Using the Arbor Day Foundation's interactive map, you can see the movement of the zones to account for warming temperatures.
Make sure to use the most up-to-date USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map to give your garden an extra advantage this spring: Your flowers will thank you! Thanks for reading. - Alan