Finding Your Garden Zone (USA)

I just entered my zip code here, and was able to print out a list of planting dates for common garden crops for both spring and fall.

Probably everyone knows this, but I forget from year to year, and I've moved from Idaho to Missouri last summer. Also, the maps do get updated from time to time.


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  • MaryRowe
    MaryRowe Posts: 736 ✭✭✭✭

    Right. I can remember the Zone 6 part because I got into a sort of an argument with an old duffer in the Lowe's garden shop the year the USDA upped us to 6 from 5--he insisted the zone were fixed and couldn't change..... But I can never remember the "a" or "b" part.

    The spring and fall planting guide they offer is very nice too, though I'm not sure I quite agree with all the dates, at least not on this little patch of land.

  • VermontCathy
    VermontCathy Posts: 1,980 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I think the a/b part is unneeded precision, and the exact boundaries of the zones are different at different data sources. Plus the zones can move over time.

    If you look at the zones suitable for particular perennial fruits, vegetables, or flowers, you'll notice that some zones naturally lump together. For example, it's very rare to see something advertised as growing in zone 6, but not zone 5.

    Very roughly, I would put most perennials in one of the following zone categories for outdoor gardening:

    Tropical: only grows in zone 9 - 10 (or higher)

    Warm-weather: grows in zone 7 - 8; probably will also grow in 9 -10

    Temperate: grows in zones 5 - 6, will also grow in 7 - 8, and quite possibly in 9 - 10

    Cool-weather: grows in zones 4 -7; may need chilling hours that make it less suitable for warmer zones

    Cold-weather tolerant: similar to 4 - 7 above, but also capable of growing in zone 3.

    9 and 10 are more similar to each other, and more different from zone 8.

    I can tell you from perusing catalogs that a LOT of stuff is available for zones 5 - 8, but it's harder to find things that will be happy in zone 4, and even harder for zone 3. At the other end, the fruits most suitable for zones 9 - 10 tend to be completely different families than those that dominate farther north.

    Bear in mind that none of this zone stuff applies to annuals. Zones are based on the lowest temperature normally reached in winter, so they don't necessarily predict length of frost-free growing period, summer daytime or nighttime temperatures, humidity, or rainfall.

    I have lived in zones 4, 7, and 9, and while I have only gardened in the first two, I have seen what both backyard growers, farmers, and botanical gardens tend to grow in each.

  • karenjanicki
    karenjanicki Posts: 961 ✭✭✭✭

    Cool! Thank you. Sometimes mine comes up 5b, others 6b. I'd like to know for sure.

  • happy-trails
    happy-trails Posts: 170 ✭✭✭

    Mary Linda Bittle, thank you for sharing. I like this one better than most I've seen. I see that you live in Missouri; have you ever been able to visit Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Co. in Mansfield? I'm sure it would be any gardener's "candy store." It is my dream to go... someday!

  • Linda Bittle
    Linda Bittle Posts: 1,515 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I haven't yet. I just moved back to my home state after living near Seattle for 10 years and then in Idaho for 4.

    It's on my list of places to visit!

  • lewis.mary.e
    lewis.mary.e Posts: 225 ✭✭✭

    Our zone is 4b. We've been trying to find "eating" pear trees and sweet cherry trees that will grow in our zone, but so far, no luck.

  • VermontCathy
    VermontCathy Posts: 1,980 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @lewis.mary.e If you find them, please post here to let us know about them.

    Have you looked into Rainier cherries? They are supposed to be sweet and grow in zones 4 - 7. I have no experience with them, but they are available from Willis Orchards.

  • Lisa K
    Lisa K Posts: 1,915 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited March 2021

    Here is another link which also has links for Canada and other countries - Garden Hardiness Zone Maps - World Maps (backyardgardener.com)

  • dottile46
    dottile46 Posts: 437 ✭✭✭

    While we are in one zip code, we are in a different zone than the town the zip code belongs to. Being in the foothills of the Ozarks has a totally different set of challenges with the many microclimates. Our property, +/- 6 acres has 4 separate microclimates.

    I found this link that has the state maps that show the counties. If you know where in the county you are, you can look at the map and see your zone, or you can enter your zip code and go from there.

    https://planthardiness.ars.usda.gov/PHZMWeb/Default.aspx

  • kfoto
    kfoto Posts: 108 ✭✭✭

    I what think is really important is to drive around an see what is growing well, what type of terrain you have. We had some citrus groves move in and big weather fans were added. So now the plants we have that had frost issues no longer have that issue. There’s always something changing.

  • Cornelius
    Cornelius Posts: 872 ✭✭✭✭

    Thank you for sharing. I'm zone 7a (unfortunately I like growing the tropical stuff lol).