Planting Zones for the U.S. and Canada

USDA Plant Hardiness Zones Map

USDA Plant Hardiness Zones.png
USDA

Plant hardiness zones—also known as planting zones or growing zones—help gardeners understand which plants can survive their region’s climate. Find out which planting zone you’re located in and grow the best garden possible!

Planting Zones

When choosing plants for your garden, it’s important to select varieties that can thrive year-round in your area, especially in regions where extreme winter temperatures are normal. Planting zones define, generally, which plants you can grow in your area, and zones are typically listed in plant growing guides for reference.

The two most commonly referenced hardiness zone maps are those produced by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources Canada. Different measures are used to create each country’s map, as is explained below.

Note: Zone maps are not absolute; if you find the information contradictory to your own experience, you may live in a microclimate. Soil, moisture, humidity, heat, wind, and other conditions also affect the viability of individual plants.

USDA Planting Zones Map

Considered the standard measure of plant hardiness, the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map is based on average annual minimum winter temperatures. The map is divided into thirteen distinct 10ºF zones, which are further divided into sub-zones of 5°F.

Check out the official USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map below, then go to the USDA website to find out which zone you live in!

USDA Plant Hardiness Zones Map, 2012.
USDA Plant Hardiness Zones Map, 2012.

Click here to see the full USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map.

Note: The USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map was last updated in January of 2012, the first update since 1990. About half of the country was made a half-zone warmer on the map. According to the USDA, this is not a statement on global warming; rather, the scientists are using a different set of long-range data and more sophisticated 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. Learn more about the updated map here.

NRC Canadian Planting Zones Map

Unlike the USDA map, which is based only on minimum winter temperatures, the planting zones map produced by Natural Resources Canada considers a wider range of climatic variables, including maximum temperatures and the length of the frost-free period. However, the NRC also produce a map that shows plant hardiness zones for Canada based on the USDA extreme minimum temperature approach. Click here to see both Canadian planting zone maps.

Check out a simplified version of the official Natural Resources Canada Plant Hardiness Zone Map below, then go to the Natural Resources Canada website to find out which zone you live in!

Natural Resources Canada Plant Hardiness Zones Map, 2014.
Natural Resources Canada Plant Hardiness Zones Map (simplified version), 2014.

Click here to see the full Natural Resources Canada Plant Hardiness Zones Map.

Planting Zone Tips

Flowers, shrubs, trees, and all plants grow best when planted in the 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 flowering.

Planting native species is a surefire way to achieve a stable garden. See our article on natural landscaping.

Another key part of successful gardening is knowing when your frost dates are. Find your local frost dates here.

What are your thoughts on planting zones? Let us know in the comments below!

Reader Comments

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India zones

I did not see the map of india in zoneal maps. Will you please tell in which zone Kota, Rajasthan, India is and that what are the best plants to be grown in a highly hot area like this?

Small Flower Gardens for the novice

I am transplanting a Delphinium Guardian Blue to a large outdoor pot. How large of pot do I need, 2, 3 or 5 gallon?

pot size?

You want to move the plant to a pot that will give it room to grow—so it will have a couple of few inches around its base. Too big a pot and it will look out of scale.

Remember, too, that you don’t want the pot to be too big, and so too heavy, to pick up!

Beginner gardner

Hi I'm a beginner gardner and I live in yuma az my zone is 10a what flowers are the best for pots and raised garden beds?

You have an endless list of

You have an endless list of possibilities in your hardiness zone, but just to name a few– Bird of Paradise, Black-eyed Susan, African daisies, Hibiscus, Snapdragon, and Gardenia.

This zone map does not take

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.

ZONE 7A Niagara orchards & vineyards

Please look more closely at the Natural Resources Canada map ➾ it shows that the regions of the Niagara Peninsula below the escarpment are, in fact, ZONE 7A ➾ not zone 5.

Click on the map or go to www

Click on the map or go to www.planthardiness.gc.ca/?m=1 to see a larger PDF of this map and the different colors around Niagara Falls.

Visit your local county

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

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

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

USDA Map

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...
I hope this helps. --TOFA