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How to Find Your Planting Zone

Identifying your plant hardiness zone is essential to your garden growing success. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Plant Hardiness Zone Map provides an informative view of average temperature trends across The United States and Canada. Zone Hardiness maps are based on the average yearly extremes for minimum temperatures in a given area.

These maps do not account for average peak temperatures in a particular zone. Understanding your gardening zone for plant hardiness can help you decide which plants to select for your garden and can mean the difference between a successful crop and a failing garden.

Family planting vegetable from backyard garden

Your geographic location and climate will affect how successful your flowers or plants will grow in your gardening areas. If you select plants that are only somewhat cold hardy for your particular zone, a harsh winter with well below average temperatures could lead to the demise of the plants.

It is important to note that USDA Plant Hardiness Zones are not entirely foolproof. Frequently, planting zones have micro-climates that occur within each geographical area. Unprotected areas of open land or areas of the ground that slope down into valleys can be more prone to frost and colder temperatures than higher elevations. On the opposite end of the spectrum, sometimes temperatures can also soar higher than what the map claims they should be.

Insert your zip code to find your hardiness zone. *To zoom out of interactive map click home icon in the top left corner.

What is my Grow Zone?

Find out what your USDA Plant Hardiness Grow Zone is, and you will uncover what plants are likely to thrive in your location of the United States and Canada. The USDA Zone Hardiness Map is divided up into 13 planting zones. They are sectioned off by a 10-degree Fahrenheit differential for the average annual minimum temperatures. The larger the number is, the warmer the temperature is in the corresponding garden zone. For added clarity, zones are broken down into subsets of a and b, which represents a 5-degree differential in which a is colder than b is.

Look at the map and pinpoint your geographical location. The majority of the United States falls under USDA Planting Zones 4 through 8. Most garden centers label their plants with markers that signify a plant’s grow zone. If you are planning on purchasing a plant, tree, or shrub, you should cross-reference the plant with the zone for your region on the map to determine if it is a suitable growing environment where that plant will thrive.

In addition to identifying your hardiness zone, it can be helpful to reach out to your local garden center for additional guidance. They are experts in your community and your planting zone and can help you troubleshoot any further questions that you may have.

Family picking blueberries in the garden.

Other Factors that Affect Plant Growth

Purchasing seeds, dry root plants, and potted plants that are determined to be hardy for your zone will not guarantee that the plants will thrive in your garden. Plant Zones are not the only factors that determine plant hardiness and growth of plants. Sunlight, soil structure and pH, nutrient levels, water, and plant spacing also significantly impact the viability of plants.

Sunlight

When planting, consider the amount of sunlight that your garden receives each day. Some plants thrive well with a minimum of 6-8 hours of sunlight per day. While others prefer partial or full shade for its optimal growing conditions.

Soil Structure and pH

Soil structure and pH are crucial components to healthy plants. Soil consistency can vary from geographical region to region. It can even vary significantly within the bounds of your property. Different plants have different soil structure requirements and thrive best within a specific pH range. In addition to planting plants specific to your grow zone, it is essential to test your soil and amend it according to plant needs.

Kellogg Garden Organics

All Natural Raised Bed & Potting Mix

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Water

It is important to consider a plant’s water requirements before adding it to your garden. All plants require water to help them grow, but some plants are more drought-tolerant, while others require more regular watering to help them thrive. Know your plant’s requirements in conjunction with its USDA Grow Zone to ensure a successful crop.

Plant Spacing

All plants have different spacing requirements that can help ensure sufficient airflow. Such airflow helps to keep leaves dry and free from disease and allows plants to spread out to reach their full potential. If plants are too crowded together, their growth can be stunted due to nutrient drain, shadowing from other plants, and the development of fungus.


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17 Comments

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  1. I bought 8 bags of the All Natural Garden Soil for Flowers & Vegetables last weekend, planted some seeds and they are already sprouting!!! I will be getting more!!

    • That is wonderful to hear Janice, thank you for sharing! If you haven’t already make sure to grab some organic fertilizer. Your plants will lots of nutrients and minerals as they grow.

  2. I live in the most southern part of TX (usually very hot) I have been trying to garden for the past 3 yrs, with little success. I have raised beds, with good gardening soil ( so the bag says). My raised beds are dark in color, was wondering if maybe I should paint them white? Dorothy K.

    • Hi Dorothy! There could be a number of reasons you’re having some difficulties growing. Making sure what you want to grow is suitable to grow in your area, planting during the correct season, proper watering, sun exposure, and nutrients are essential. Feeding your soil is the step that most people miss in the growing process. Plants eat up a lot of nutrients from the soil so regularly adding those nutrients back in for the plants and the life in the soil is important. The color of your beds may not be the issue. We have a guide here https://www.kellogggarden.com/monthly-organic-gardening-ebook/ that walks you through what to plant and when. When you get access to that guide there are two more, one that walks you through companion planting and another that discusses container gardening. We have also have a getting started video series here that may help https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLblqvIbSXvLUUam8T2F5EbFHmZCgKPiBO

  3. Hi Kellogg,
    I am about to plant my patio vegetable garden in plastic containers about 12′ High. Should I line the bottom with stone for drainage control or just fill the containers with soil?? I will be using organic soil.
    Also, I will be entertaining an Asian friend for the Summer and Fall months. What vegetables would you suggest I grow to complement Asian quisine?

    • Hi Joseph! Well draining soil is beneficial to almost every plant, so adding in stones or twigs and sticks is great for the bottom of your pot. One of the reasons we add aged wood fines to our soil to help create pockets for good water and airflow. As far as vegetables for Asian cuisine, there are a lot that you could plant. Baby Pak Choi, radishes (there is a watermelon radish that is great), eggplant, peas, chives, Rosette Tatsoi Greens, Napa cabbage, cucumber. The list is long. Let us know if this helps. 😀

  4. I need help with determining when to plant my leggy seedlings. I live in rochester ny and I may have started the seeds a little early. I’m growing a variety of sunflowers, zinnias, a variety of tomatoes, cucumbers beans etc. I have a raised garden and planning on also planting in some pots mplease help, some of the young plants are dying.

    • Hi Kevin, seedlings get leggy when they are trying to reach the light. If you have a grow light you just need to bring them closer to the light, if you are growing next to a window then you might want to take them outside for a bit if it is warm enough. Tomatoes need a minimum soil temperature of 60°F, Beans 70°F, and cucumbers 65°F though they don’t germinate until the soil gets warmer. If your starts seem to be struggling more light and including some organic liquid fertilizer in your watering may help until the soil temperatures are ready for them.

  5. Spring lettuce is looking great. Have never had any luck with cabbage or Brussel Spouts, but I am trying again this year! Do you have any tips for me?

    • Hi Anita! What planting zone are you in? Are you growing in the ground, in a raised bed, or another type of container? And finally, What happens when you try to grow cabbage or Brussel sprouts? Do they start to grow and then wilt and die, are they overrun with pests, do the leaves show signs of disease or discoloration?

  6. Greetings from Turkey,
    I have been following your information and recomendations for a while. I am very new for planting. Thank you for sharing your valuable knowledge. This helps me to be more organized.
    Kindest regards,
    İlknur İçingir

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