Your Guide To: Plant Hardiness Zones

Gain knowledge on plant zones to grow even better.

When planting outdoors, it’s helpful to know what plants will work best in your area’s overall climate, as it makes growing all the more enjoyable. This is where knowing the different zones for planting comes in handy. Finding out your plant hardiness zones is also the best way to decide which perennials to plant outside, as it tells you which plants can hunker down through harsh weather before bouncing back with fresh growth in the spring.

What Exactly is Plant Hardiness?

Plant hardiness comes down what level of cold weather conditions a plant can tolerate. Some evergreen plants can sustain themselves, remaining green and growing throughout harsh winter months in Alaska. Other perennials buckle down underground for the winter based on their zone, waiting for things to warm up. Some plants prefer to never deal with the cold at all in places closer to the equator, like Hawaii, where warm weather spans all seasons.

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Finding Your Zone

When it comes to finding your location’s plant hardiness zone, the work is really already done for you. Simply check your location on the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map, developed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, to quickly find your area’s zone number and boom–you’re ready to begin researching the best plants to build your garden.

Picking the Perfect Plants

A great way to make your garden work for you is to find outdoor plants that work where you live. Whether your zone requires hardier plants that need to tough it out over harsher winters, or plants that will thrive in a warmer region, there’s a variety of plants that will happily join your growing endeavors. Also, consider researching which plant types are native to your area to make growing even easier.

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Plants That Work in Your Zone

Zone 3:

  • Lily of the Valley (zones 2-9)
  • Bleeding Heart (zones 3-9)
  • Blazing Star (zones 3-8)
  • Yarrow (zones 3-9)

Zone 4:

  • Heuchera Carnival Rose Granita (zones 4-9)
  • Mountain Frost Ruby Glitter (zones 4-9)
  • Peony (zones 3-7)
  • Monkshood (zones 3-8)

Zone 5:

  • Strawberry (zones 4-9)
  • Mountain Frost Ruby Snow (zones 4-9)
  • Delphinium (zones 3-7)
  • Hyssop (zones 5-9)

Zone 6:

  • Dutch Asiatic Lily (zones 4-9)
  • Stargazer Lily (zones 4-8)
  • Sweet Mint (zone 3-8)
  • Maidenhair Fern (zones 3-8)

Zone 7:

  • Gladiolus (zones 7-10)TN
  • Ostrich Glade Fern (zones 3-7)
  • Forget-Me-Not (zones 6-9)
  • English Holly (zones 6-9)

Zone 8:

  • Butter Cups (zones 8-10)
  • Sweet Basil (zones 8-10)
  • Russian Sage (zones 4-9)
  • Bear’s Breech (zones 6-10)

Zone 9:

  • Freesia + Ranunculus Blend (zones 9-10)
  • African Lily (zones 8-11)
  • Hummingbird Mint (zones 5-10)
  • Foxtail Agave (zones 8-11)

Zone 10:

  • Lavender (zones 8-10)
  • Rosemary (zones 8-10)
  • Golden Trumpet (zones 10-11)
  • Aloe (zones 9-11)

Zone 11:

  • Citronella (zones 9-11)
  • Italian Flat Parsley (zones 7-12)
  • Hippeastrum (zones 8-11)
  • Pineapple (zones 11-12)

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How Low Can They Go

Divided by 10-degree increments, the different zones for plants show the coldest an area will typically get each year. Plants that are more hardy can tough it out in mega-cold locations found in zones 1-2 (think Alaska), whereas other plant types can’t handle the chill and grow best in zones 11-13 (places like Hawaii and Puerto Rico), where temperatures don’t drop below freezing. Take note of different plant’s zone preferences when making your selection.

Your Zone's Lowest Temperature

Zone 3: -40° to -30° F

Zone 4: -30° to -20° F

Zone 5: -20° to -10° F

Zone 6: -10° to 0° F

Zone 7: 0° to 10° F

Zone 8: 10° to 20° F

Zone 9: 20° to 30° F

Zone 10: 30° to 40° F

Zone 11: 40° to 50° F

When to Grow

The perfect time to plant per zone can vary depending on the plant type, so be sure to find out when and where your plant prefers to be planted. There is a bit of a range for the growing periods of each zone. Hardier plants grown in zones 1 and 2 flourish with blooms and growth for close to half a year, then will begin to die back once the harsh winter season comes. In warmer, more tropical regions on the other hand, like in zones 10-13, the growing season is all year-round. See what you can expect in your area.

Growing Season (Approx.)

Zones 3: Early May to Mid September

Zone 4: Late April to Early October

Zones 5: Early April to Late October

Zone 6: Early April to Late October

Zones 7: Late March to Mid November

Zone 8: Mid March to Late November

Zones 9: Early February to Mid December

Zones 10-11: Year-round

What to Do If You Still Have Questions?

If you still have questions about plant hardiness zones, we’re here to help. Chat live with a Greendigs team member on our website or shoot us an email at [email protected].

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