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Gardeners - for choosing plants that will survive chilly winters, this is a must-read section. . .
North America is a huge region with widely varying weather. Gardeners need a way to determine which plants are best suited to the weather in their areas, especially winter cold. Fortunately, there is the USDA’s Hardiness or Growing Zone system.
The system works like this: the country is divided into 13 zones. Looking on a map, they appear as colorful bands that wiggle sideways from coast to coast. The zone with the average coldest winters, where plants need to be iron-tough to survive way-below-zero temps is zone 1. Much of Alaska is rated zone 1. Zone 2 averages winter temperatures that are 10 degrees warmer than zone 1. Zone 3's winter temps average 10 degrees warmer than zone 2, and so on.
Areas in the continental U.S. with the warmest average winter temperatures are rated zone 11. The southern tip of Florida and parts of southern California fall into zone 11. All the rest of us garden in zones somewhere in between.
Add your zip code to the box below and hit "Find Your Zone". Got it? Here’s how to use the info to make informed selections for your garden:
Over time the system has been refined to include "a" and "b" sections, with "a" representing the colder half of the range and "b" the warmer half. Examples of this can be seen on the state map micro zones, below.
We add the "a" and "b" to zone information to plant info where relevant. In most cases, however, the numerical listing for the zone is all that's needed. For example, if the Zone Finder delivered a zone of 7B for your garden, simply search on 7. And then keep an eye out for plants that note 7A versus 7B in the product page detail. Most won't make this distinction because all of zone 7 is a good fit.
That’s it! You’re now ready to shop and make choices that are well suited to your part of the country.
By the way, we also use zone information to guide timing for product shipments. See: Seasonal Shipping Schedule.
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