Gardening Zones in the USA

Article Highlight: USDA Gardening Zone 3

There are 13 hardiness zones in the United States. Zone 3, like all hardiness zones, is divided into two subsets - 3a and 3b. The zone designations are guideposts for selecting plants best suited to survive the… Keep reading »

Browse Topics in Gardening Zones in the USA

USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map

Whether you are new to gardening or a seasoned gardener, knowing about gardening zones is very important. When you know the garden zone of your location, you can choose the right types of crops and landscaping plants for your environment.

Gardening Zones Are Temperature Zones

It's easy to understand what a gardening zone is. The system is officially called the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Plant Hardiness Zones. The USDA indicates each hardiness zone on a map of the United States. There are 13 hardiness zones and each has two sub-zones (a and b). These zones are categorized according to their temperature zones. It isn't unusual for microclimates to have more than one hardiness zone.

How to Use Gardening Zones

Gardening suppliers for seeds, berries, trees, and plants display gardening zones on all their products. When you shop for various plants and seeds, you can check the packaging or website information to see which hardiness zone is recommended. This system prevents gardeners from choosing plants that are not hardy enough to thrive in their environments.

Temperature Considerations for Gardening

Luckily, there are many varieties of ornamental and edible plants that can thrive in a wide range of environments. If you live in a gardening zone with a short growing season, this labeling can help you choose the most adaptable plants for your environment.

Find Your Gardening Zone

Generally, the coldest part of the country will range from zone one through zone six. These areas have their coldest average annual temperatures in the below zero range. Zones seven through 11 will have their coldest annual average in the above zero range. You can find your gardening zone and review the map to get a better idea of your zone.

Landscaping by Gardening Zones

It's imperative to know which landscaping plants can survive in your gardening zone, otherwise you'll be replacing perennial garden flowers each spring. When considering plants and trees for landscaping projects, keep in mind the freezing temperature for your zone. For example, Zone 1 has -55° to -60° winter temperatures, while Zone 13b has an annual low of no more than 65° to 70° during the winter months.

Using Gardening Zones for Vegetable Gardens

Your gardening zone and the length of your gardening season determine which crops you can plant. If your gardening season is long, you can often have two summer vegetable gardens. If your winter is mild, you can plant vegetables that tolerate fall and moderate winter temperatures. For colder climates, you can rely on your gardening zone as a guideline for the best vegetables to plant.

Gardening Zones Are Helpful Tools

It's very helpful to have gardening zones so you can enjoy each growing season to its fullest. When you understand how to use this information, you can search for gardening tips and ideas specific to your gardening zone.

Gardening Zones in the USA