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USDA Hardiness Zones and Gardening

Find out which USDA hardiness zone you’re in before starting a garden.

USDA hardiness zones are an important factor when considering starting a garden.  You’ve made a plan of where you want your plants and what you think looks best, but have you ever considered about what plants will thrive in your area?

The United States is a huge country, spanning from the Atlantic to the Pacific. From dry deserts, areas of open plains to subarctic and tropical regions, the variety of plants vary greatly as you go about from region to region.

Learn about the USDA Hardiness Zones and have a beautiful garden
Want to have a beautiful garden this year? Choose the best plants for your region by learning about the USDA hardiness zones for plants.

Why Are The USDA Hardiness Zones Important?

The USDA hardiness zones represent the average of extreme minimum temperatures for an area, calculated from the lowest daily minimum temperature recorded. This does not represent the coldest it has ever been or ever will be in an area. It simply is the average of lowest winter temperatures for a given location for this time period. This is also important to know for both rural and urban planters. Cities hold more heat because there is more blacktop and concrete, so a city may have a higher zone than the surrounding rural areas. Areas with higher elevation tend to be colder than surrounding low laying areas so they may have a cooler zone. Locations near a large body of unfrozen water may have milder winter weather and will be considered to be in a warmer zone.

USDA Hardiness Zones

Here is a list of all of the zones as named by the USDA, with their temperature ranges and a few examples of cities that reside these zones.
USDA Zones Temperature RangesExample Cities
Zone 0 a< -65° F
Zone 0 b -65° F to -60° F
Zone 1 a -60° F to -55° F
Fairbanks, Alaska
Zone 1 b -55° F to 50° FAlaska North Slope
Zone 2 a -50° F to -45° F
Prudhoe Bay, Alaska
Zone 2 b -45° F to -40° F
Zone 3 a -40° F to -35° F
International Falls, Minnesota
Zone 3 b -35° F to -30° F
Tomahawk, Wisconsin
Zone 4 a
-30° F to -25° F
Minneapolis/St.Paul, Minnesota
Zone 4 b -25° F to -20° FBaraboo, Wisconsin
Zone 5 a -20° F to -15° FCedar Falls, Iowa
Zone 5 b-15° F to -10° FDecatur, Illinois
Zone 6 a-10° F to -5° FBuffalo, New York
Zone 6 b-5° F to 0° FOwensboro, Kentucky
Zone 7 a0° F to 5° FOklahoma City, Oklahoma
Zone 7 b5° F to 10° FAlbuquerque, New Mexico
Zone 8 a10° F to 15° FAtlanta, Georgia
Zone 8 b
15° F to 20° FDallas, Texas
Zone 9 a20° F to 25° FSan Antonio, Texas
Zone 9 b25° F to 30° FOrlando, Florida
Zone 10 a30° F to 35° FPhoenix, Arizona
Zone 10 b35°F to 40° FSan Diego, California
Zone 11 a40° F to 45° FMiami, Florida
Zone 11 b45° F to 50° FHonolulu, Hawaii
Zone 12 a50° F to 55° F
Zone 12 b55° F to 60° FSan Juan, Puerto Rico
Zone 13 a60° F to 65° FLos Angeles, California
Zone 13 b65° F to 70° F

Thing to Consider Before Planting

Remember that the USDA hardiness zones are simply a tool to help gardeners choose the best plants for their area. This is by no means an absolute and many plants can grow in different zones. Make sure you are doing your research before you buy plants and vegetable seeds for your garden.


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