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Plant Hardiness Zones

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Plant hardiness zones help gardeners understand which plants will most likely survive at a location.

It is important that your plants can thrive year-round, surviving extreme temperatures.

Note: Zone maps do have shortfalls; if the information is inaccurate, you may live in a microclimate. Soil, moisture, humidity, heat, wind, and other conditions also affect the viability of individual plants.

Here are the most commonly referenced U.S. and Canadian hardiness zone maps:

The USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map

Considered the standard measure of plant hardiness, the USDA Zone Map is generally  is based on the average annual minimum winter temperature, divided into 10-degree F zones.

Go to the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map!

USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map

Click on above image and it will take you to the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map.

Note: This USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map was updated in January of 2012, the first update since 1990. About half of the country is a half-zone warmer. According to the USDA, this is not a statement on global warming; rather, the scientists are using a differerent set of long-range data and more sophisiticated computers for a more accurate map, especially in challenging areas such as mountain zones which may have been rated too cold or warm in prior iterations. See more detail about the latest map here.  And tell us what you think below. Did your zone change?


The Agriculture Canada Plant Hardiness Zone Maps

Unlike the USDA map which is based only on minimum winter temperatures, the Agriculture Canada map considers a wider range of climatic variables, including maximum temperatures and the length of the frost-free period. However, they also provide maps that show plant hardiness zones for Canada based on the USDA extreme minimum temperature approach. Click here for the Agriculture Canada Plant Hardiness Zone Maps

Agriculture Canada Plant Hardiness Zones Map

Click on above image and it will take you to the Agriculture Canada Plant Hardiness Zones Map.

Flowers, shrubs, trees, and all plants grow best when planted in an appropriate zone! You'll find that winter damage occurs most when plants are out of their range or "comfort zone." When you choose plants for a garden or landscape, avoid selecting plants that are marginally hardy for your region; that's when you'll see winter damage, poor growth, and a reduction in flowing.

Tip: Planting native species is a surefire way to a stable garden. See our article on, "Natural Landscaping: Go Native!"

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This zone map does not take

By Kat79

This zone map does not take microclimates such as Niagara Falls into consideration. If we were zone 5 we would not be able to grow the tender orchard and vine fruits that we do.

Visit your local county

By gerald hirsch

Visit your local county extension agent office to obtain exact hardiness zone data plus list of plants that thrive in this zone.

You can also contact your state agricultural college for updated info on
state wide hardiness zones.

If there is a master-gardener program in your area get a list of master gardeners and contact one or two of them.

Thanks for sharing and

By Ann Wagner

Thanks for sharing and explaining the change. It’s interesting to see how the zone can shift just 10 miles away.

If I look at the hardiness

By Edna Mae

If I look at the hardiness Zone map it looks like I'am in zone 7 (light green)on the farmers almanac map. But when I type in my zipcode for farmers almanac it says I am zone 5. Which in my mind is a big difference so How am I to know which zone to go by. Thanks


By Almanac Staff

Hi Edna, First click on the picture of the USDA map. Then, it will take you to the USDA web site. On that site, you can enter your zip code. Here is the direct link to the USDA web site: http://planthardiness.ars.usda.gov/PHZMWeb/
I hope this helps. --TOFA

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