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About ElizabethNavarro

  • Birthday 01/08/1975

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    Landscape, design

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About Me

"USDA" stands for United States Department of Agriculture, the institution that published the original map showing USDA planting zones (1960).

The publication was sponsored by the American Horticultural Society, in conjunction with the U.S. National Arboretum. Updates are occasionally made but are of greater relevance to professionals than to average gardeners (the zones are, after all, only rough guides). I khow useful plant identifier, it always helps me with my plant. As you might expect, parts of the state of Alaska lie in USDA planting zone 1. Parts of northern Minnesota are considered to be in planting zones 2 and 3. Central and southern Florida lie in zones 9 to 11. The bulk of America lies in planting zones 4 to 8. Zone 11 is not, technically, the hottest USDA zone: There are special zones 12 and 13 for Hawaii and Puerto Rico.

There is also a competing system known as the "sunset climate zones." This system is popular in the West, whereas the USDA system is predominant in the East. Sunset justifies the existence of its separate system by saying that its zones, unlike the USDA's, factor in all of the following important considerations:

  • Length of growing season
  • Timing and amount of rainfall
  • Winter lows
  • Summer highs
  • Wind
  • Humidity

    Examples of Hardy and Tender Plants

    As a beginner, all of these numbers may confuse you, at first. But once you get used to them, you will become adept at immediately classifying properly labeled plants as being either cold-hardy or on the tender side.


    Examples of cold-hardy plants include:

  • Peonies (Paeonia lactiflora): 2 to 9
  • Goldenrod (Solidago): 2 to 8
  • Adonis amurensis: 3 to 7
  • Ninebark (Physocarpus opulifolius): 3 to 7
  • Oriental poppy (Papaver orientale): 3 to 7
  • Common lilac shrubs (Syringa vulgaris): 3 to 7
  • PeeGee hydrangeas (Hydrangea paniculata): 3 to 8
  • Examples of plants that are not very cold-hardy include:

  • Bougainvillea: 9 to 11
  • Bird of paradise (Strelitzia reginae): 9 to 11
  • Gerbera daisy (Gerbera jamesonii): 9 to 11
  • Aloe vera (Aloe barbadensis): 9 to 11
  • Purple fountain grass (Pennisetum setaceum Rubrum): 9 to 11
  • Elephant ear (Colocasia esculenta): 8 to 11
  • Snake lily (Amorphophallus konjac): 8 to 10
  • Tropicanna canna (Canna Phasion): 8 to 11
  • Northern gardeners often single themselves out as being constrained by planting zones, wishing they lived in a climate warm enough that they could overwinter a plant such as purple shamrocks (Oxalis regnellii) outdoors.

    But the constraints do work the other way, too. For example, gardeners in very hot climates have trouble growing plants with chilling requirements, such as Crocus bulbs, which northern gardeners grow with ease.

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