Once you begin gardening, you will find individual plants; vegetables and grasses are more suited to the various growing zones in the United States.
Knowing the growing zones means you can adapt your plants to get the best growth possible.
The USA is split into zones, and you can see these on a USDA plant hardiness zone map (U.S. Department of Agriculture). While these maps are not an absolute way of knowing which plants will and won’t survive in your area, it is a good start.
Here, you can learn more about plant hardiness, and how to find which of the growing zones in the USA you are in.
What do the Zones mean in Gardening?
The zones for planting are areas you can see on the growing zone map, which show plants that are best suited to that area.
Once you head off shopping for your new plants, you will need to check for terms in use such as:
- Plant hardiness zones
- Growing zones
- Planting zones
All these mean the same thing, no matter how confusing it sounds.
For many years, gardeners have been using these zones and maps to be sure they plant the right sort of things for their gardens.
Most straightforwardly, the hardiness zones that are in use are to determine the plants that can survive the winter months in their area.
Once you see a map of the planting zones, you see they divide it into thirteen separate sections.
Each zone is called a USDA plant hardiness zone. Besides, you will see these cover the entire United States, including Hawaii, Alaska, and Puerto Rico.
Each of these separate zones on a map covers a range of ten degrees, with Zone 1 being the coldest, and average annual temperature during the winter of -60 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
Zone 13 sits at the far end of the scale and delivers minimum average winter temperatures of 60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
What is Plant Hardiness?
It is no good just knowing your growing zone, and you do need to understand plant hardiness. With this, you can understand how plants can cope in conditions such as hot, cold, and drought.
It can be complicated as there is much to know about plant genetics, but for gardeners, understanding the different kinds of plant hardiness; and how they are affected can be enough.
A good example being the gardeners who understand that when their perennials die off, their plant roots may be alive under the soil to deliver new growth once the spring arrives.
What Plant Zone am I In?
Once you know which zone you are in, you can make the right decisions for your garden, and then focus attention on plants that have the best chance to survive over the winter.
You can easily find a planting zones map online, although some may want you to subscribe and sign up with your email address to obtain the full information.
When you go to use these interactive USDA hardiness maps, all they require in many cases are your zip code.
While you find each of the 13 segments will cover ten degrees, each of these is further broken down into 5-degree increments.
One of the most significant advantages is that you don’t just see how well your plants will grow, you come to learn there are crops you never considered that are suitable.
Some of the factors that go into making these zones include:
- USDA Hardiness Zone and average
- Growing season
- Plant zone
- Common grasses
- Average temperatures
- Average soil textures
- Average rainfall per annum/ month
- The average number of sunny days
- Region altitude
Depending on the maps you use, you may find as you click on regions. Further information is available, and one of the best examples found on the Gilmour gardening site. You can create an account and provide your email address, though this is more for the shopping side.
Here is a quick overview of each primary zone on the map scales you will see:
- Zone 1 – Coldest area with minimum average temperatures of -60 to -50 degrees F
- Zone 2 – Located in Alaska and U.S. Very cold average minimum temperatures of between -50 to -40 degrees F
- Zone 3 – Alaska and Northern US. minimum average temperatures of -40 to -30 degrees F
- Zone 4 – Northern US and Southern Coastal Alaska. Average temperatures of between -30 to -20 degrees F
- Zone 5 – Coastal Alaska and North Central U.S. Average temperatures of -20 to – degrees F
- Zone 6 – Covers large sections of the USA. Average temperatures of -10 to 0 degrees F
- Zone 7 – Covers 15 states with average minimum temperatures 0 to -10 degrees F
- Zone 8 – Considered the warmest of the plant hardiness zones for much of South USA and West Coast. Average temperatures of 10 to 20 degrees F
- Zone 9 – Covers California, Texas, Arizona, Florida, and elsewhere along the Gulf of Mexico. Average winter temperatures of 20 to 30 degrees F
- Zone 10 – Covers California, Hawaii, and Florida with average minimum winter temperatures of 30 to 40 degrees F
- Zone 11 – Covers Puerto Rico, Florida Keys, and Hawaii, as well as a few other Continental U.S. regions. Average winter temperatures of 40 to 50 degrees F
Zone 12 and 13 don’t cover any mainland USA regions and are purely for Puerto Rico and Hawaii. Average winter temperatures of 50 to 70 F are typical.
Once you go through one of these agricultural maps, you need to remember they are merely a guide. Your climate may differ from one part of a region to another, hence the reason for the subdivisions.
It is worth finding the best resource for your planting zone map and signing up with your email address because things can change each year, or the other growing factors you ought to know.
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