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Climate Growing Zones - Gardening Climate Zones

October 20th, 2011 Gardening

The Climate Growing Zones in North America

The United States Department of Agriculture has divided up North America into 11 separate climate growing zones, or hardiness zones. Generally, each zone has a temperature difference of 10 degrees Fahrenheit than its adjacent zone, whether it is warmer or colder.

Knowing which climate planting zone you live in is important when it comes time to designing your landscape and purchasing plants, trees and shrubs. Most plants, trees and shrubs will have a USDA Hardiness Zone listed on them. Only purchase ones which are friendly to your climate growing zone. Doing so will almost guarantee that the shrub, tree or perennial will grow year after year, even when your weather conditions are at their most extreme.

Accuracy Of Climate Growing Zone Maps

The USDA Climate Growing Zone Maps, aka USDA Hardiness Zone Maps, are fairly accurate in detailing what gardeners can expect in regards to temperatures and growing seasons. Some maps are very detailed and will even break down each zone into smaller areas for more detailed descriptions. Things that the maps do not take into account are the effects of snow on plants, soil drainage, freezes and thaw cycles, as well as growing changes due to changes in elevation. If you have any doubt what will grow in your region it is a good idea to talk to a professional at your local plant nursery.


Climate Growing Zone 1

Zone 1 is the coldest climate growing zone in North America. This area covers parts of Northern Canada, the Yukon, Alberta, and Saskatchewan, areas of Aleutians, the Kodiak Island and the interior of Alaska. When gardening in Zone 1 you will need to find very hardy plants that can withstand a very extreme winter, as well as a short growing season.

Good growing choices for climate growing Zone 1 include:

• Crowberry

• Dwarf birch

• Lapland rhododendron

• Netleaf willow

• Quaking aspen

• Pennsylvania cinquefoil

Climate Growing Zone 2

Climate growing Zone 2 crosses Northern Canada and goes into the interior of Alaska. The high mountainous areas of Montana and Wyoming also fall within climate growing Zone 2. While this climate growing zone is not as cold as Zone 1, the growing season is still fairly short.

Good growing choices for Zone 2 include:

• American Arborvitae

• American Cranberry Bush

• American larch

• Bugleweed

• Bunchberry Dogwood

• Bush Cinquefoil

• Cerastium

• Colorado spruce

• Myosotis

• Paper Birth

• Saxifraga

• Silene

• Silverberry

Climate Growing Zone 3

Climate growing Zone 3 spreads through southern Canada, Alaska, areas of Vermont, Maine, New York, Montana and the high areas of Colorado, Utah and Wyoming. Since these areas are lower in latitude, this climate growing zone is not as rigid as Zone 1 and Zone 2. However, it is important to keep in mind that frost may develop any night of the year in this zone. Also, this growing zone is still fairly short, so keep that in mind when you are choosing your plants.

Good growing choices for Zone 3 include:

• Alpine Dianthus

• Common Juniper

• Dwarf Bearded Iris

• Japanese Bayberry

• Russian Olive

• Siberian Crabapple

Climate Growing Zone 4

Climate growing Zone 4 is friendly to gardening and plant life because of its warmer winters and longer growing season. This climate growing zone stretches along the north central United States, as well as central Wisconsin, southern Montana, areas of Michigan and into the mountainous areas of Colorado. Zone 4 also reaches into New York, New Hampshire, northern Vermont and southwest Maine. Many plants do well in this zone.

Good growing choices for Zone 4 include:

• Amur River Privet

• Bridal Wreath Spiraea

• Chinese Juniper

• Peegee Hydrangea

• Sugar Maple

• Virginia Creeper


Climate Growing Zone 5

Climate growing Zone 5 reaches far and wide. It can be found from Newfoundland down through Maine, New Hampshire, western Massachusetts and the middle portion of New York. It extends through the northern region of Pennsylvania into Ohio, Indiana and Illinois. Zone 4 also covers much of the state of Michigan, the southern regions of Iowa and Nebraska, the northern parts of Missouri and Kansas, as well as the eastern regions of Colorado. Climate growing Zone 5 is scattered throughout the West as it goes from New Mexico all the way up into British Columbia and the Alaskan coast.

Good growing choices for Climate Growing Zone 5 include:

• Boston Ivy

• Common Privet

• Flowering Dogwood

• Japanese Rose

• Japanese Yew
• Slender Deutzia

Climate Growing Zone 6

Climate growing zone 6 is known for its mild climate and long growing season. It stretches from the coast of Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York and northern New Jersey and reaches into the southwest into the northern area of Texas. Zone 6 doesn’t stop there. It includes a section of Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, Nevada, Oregon and Washington and it also includes a small portion of Alaska’s coast. There is a bit of diversity in this climate growing zone for gardeners. Gardeners in the eastern section of the zone will have more rain and humidity than those in the West. Western gardeners will have to deal with lack of rain and dry heat.

Good growing choices for climate growing zone 6 include:

• American Holly

• California Priviet

• Common Box
• Japanese Maple

• Winter Creeper


Climate Growing Zone 7

Climate growing zone 7 is in the southern United States. This gardening zone covers Delaware and the northern region of Georgia and then it goes west into Oklahoma and northern Texas. From Texas this zone heads into southern New Mexico and it also includes a small portion of Arizona, Nevada and Utah, as well as the eastern border of California. From there it extends into portions of Oregon, Washington and it eases into Alaska. Ironically, this zone also encompasses the New Jersey coast, Long Island and Cape Cod due to ocean influences.

Good growing choices for climate growing zone 7 include:

• Atlas Cedar

• Bigleaf Maple
• English Holly

• English Yew

• Kurume Azalea

• Small Leaf Cotoneaster


Climate Growing Zone 8

Climate growing zone 8 is known for its warm winters and long growing season. This area runs along the southern and western borders of the United States. It includes Washington’s coast all the way around to the coast of North Carolina. Like zone 6, growing zone 8 does have a bit of diversity. Gardeners in the East will have more rain and humidity than growers in the West. Gardeners in the West will have to deal with a more rigid winter and dry summers.

Good growing choices for climate growing zone 8 include:

• Cherry Laurel

• Japanese Pittosporum

• Laurenstinus

• Mexican Orange

• New Zealand Daisy Bush

• Strawberry Tree


Climate Growing Zone 9

Climate growing zone 9 is relatively small. In fact, it is one of the smallest climate growing zone regions. This zone is in central Florida and along the gulf of Louisiana and Texas. This zone also includes much of the state of California and it reaches into Oregon. This area is known for its mild winters. It almost never freezes and it has a very long growing season. It is important to keep in mind that while this may seem the ideal region for all types of plants, those that need a winter chill do not do good in this growing zone.

Good growing choices for climate growing zone 9 include:

• Asparagus Fern

• Australian Bush Cherry

• California Pepper Tree

• Fuchsia

• Silk Oak

• Tasmanian Blue Gum


Climate Growing Zone 10

Climate growing zone 10 is marked by its lack of winter chill. In fact, the weather is balmy and the growing season is year round. This area covers the tip of Florida and the Florida Keys, as well as portions of the California coast. This area also reaches to Hawaii and northern Kauai. Tropical and subtropical plants thrive in this region.

Good growing choices for climate growing zone 10 include:

• Abyssinian Banana

• Bougainvillea

• Golden Shower

• Lemon Eucalyptus

• Rubber Plant

• Royal Palm

Climate Growing Zone 11

Climate growing zone 11 is a tropical gardening zone. This zone is in Hawaii and in the deep Florida Keys. Growing zone 11 is marked by a year round growing season and mild temperatures. This zone is not in danger of any freezing weather. However, gardeners do have to be on the lookout for tropical storms.

Good growing choices for climate growing zone 11 include:

• Banana

• Chinese hibiscus

• Coffee

• King Palm

• Mango

• Mask Flower

• Painted Fingernail Plant

• Weeping Chinese Banyan

•Vanda Orchid