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Growing Zones

Regional Maps Showing USDA Zones

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Growing zones are intended to be taken as advise, not gospel. There are so many microclimates (both natural and manufactured ones) that you really cannot say definitively that a plant of borderline hardiness in your area will or will not grow for you until you've tested it.

Click on the images below to be taken to a larger image of the USDA zone map in which you are interested.

1. Growing Zones in the Northeastern U.S.

USDA zone map for the Northeast. There is quite a lot of diversity of growing zones in this region.
USDA

For purposes of the USDA growing zones, the meaning of "Northeastern" is somewhat expanded beyond how it's used in everyday speech. It does not consist simply of the New England states and New York. Rather, it extends south to Virginia and West to Michigan.

Massachusetts, alone -- a relatively small state, in terms of territory (and occupying an especially narrow band of land North to South) -- contains five different growing zones (3-7). The northern reaches of Michigan, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine include some of the coldest patches in the continental U.S.

2. Growing Zones in the Southeastern U.S.

Here's a zone map for the Southeastern. The USDA offers regional maps now.
David Beaulieu

Within the confines of this region, gardeners will encounter primarily growing zones 6-10. The extreme southern tip of Florida, however, is one rank higher. As is the case with the other regions, rank shoots down precipitously as elevation rises -- a highly relevant factor, since this region is home to the Smoky Mountains, etc.

Gardeners in the Southeast are often challenged by soils with excessive clay. If you face this challenge, in addition to applying soil amendments, you may wish to consider selecting plants that tolerate clayey soil.

3. Growing Zones in the South-Central U.S.

Here's a South-Central zone map. Use it if you garden in Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas or Oklahoma.
David Beaulieu
Dominated geographically by Texas, this region is subject to extremes in climate. Areas along the Gulf Coast tend to be hot and humid. The Texas Panhandle is hot and dry. I experienced the latter up-close and personal when I journeyed through the area on my historic Route 66 trip and snapped some photos there, in case anyone unfamiliar with the region would like a small taste of it.

4. Growing Zones in the Southwestern U.S.

USDA Growing Zones for the Southwest include CA. Consult this map if you are a Southwesterner.
David Beaulieu
The trip alluded to above took me through parts of this region, as well. Its diversity of growing zones is impressive, ranging from the peaks of Colorado (3) to the burning deserts of southern New Mexico, Arizona and California (10-11). Besides the extremely high temperatures in these southern areas, plant-growers may be faced with the challenge posed by caliche soil.

5. Growing Zones in the Northwestern U.S.

Northwest gardeners who need help with planting zone info can turn to this USDA regional zone map.
David Beaulieu
Like "the Northeast," the term "the Northwest" enjoys a somewhat expanded meaning when used in connection with USDA growing zones. So if hearing the term conjures up images of the rainy weather characteristic of the Pacific-Coast segment (Seattle, say), you'll have to adjust your thinking a bit. For our purposes here, the region extends east to Montana and Wyoming -- hardly known as prime territory for "singing in the rain"!

6. Growing Zones in the North-Central U.S.

Refer to this zones map if you garden in the North-central states. It comes courtesy the USDA.
USDA
The North-Central region is dominated by cold-weather growing zones (3-5), with only the extreme southern fourth of it offering a more hospitable clime (6-7). The Northeastern part of the area is contiguous with the western Great Lakes.

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