There are many factors that determine the success of your gardening venture. From the nutrients in the soil to the temperature and sunlight, a lot of factors need to be taken into account when choosing plants for your garden. One of the most important considerations that determine how well any plant will go in your area is the gardening zone.
As a gardener, it should be the first thing you need to check before you go on and start a plantation. Identifying your hardiness zone is essential to your garden success. In this article, you will learn everything about gardening zones and how you can find yours.
Planting Zones – Everything You Need to Know
Have you ever noticed that the plants in any nursery or garden center contain tags containing helpful botanical information? The botanical name of the plant, the hardiness zone, and the sunlight needs, all are mentioned on each plant.
You will also find this information even if you are shopping for plants online. Paying attention to this information is important as it can help you find out if a particular plant can survive winter in your area.
But, do you know which hardiness zone your area comes in? Finding out your planting zone is important if you want to know what can be grown in your yard successfully. Here is everything about planting zones that you should know before you start any plantation in your garden.
Where Do Hardiness Zones Come From?
The concept of hardiness zones is almost a century old. The first map with a climate-based division of the United States was put forth by the researchers at Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University (https://garden.org/nga/zipzone/). This map consisted of eight zones that helped gardeners to judge if a particular plant, shrub or tree can survive in their region or not. It was a black and white map that was updated several times in the next few decades. It led to the formation of 10 color-coded zones based on the current temperature data of that particular time.
The US Department of Agriculture came up with its own planting zones map in 1960. Different changes were made on this map over the years. The current version of the Plant Hardiness Zone Map was made in 2012. There are zones numbered from 0 to 13. Each region is also divided into an A or B category.
How to Find Your Hardiness Zone
Finding your gardening region is easy. Simply look at the planting zones map and locate the region you live in to find your plantation zone. You can also color code in the key to the zones to find yours. If you are looking for an even convenient way to locate your planting zone, go to the USDA website. There is a handy tool that you can use to easily find your zone. You just need to put in your zip code and the website tool will provide you all the information about your planting zone.
What Does USDA Hardiness Zone Mean for You?
Let’s say you live in Columbus, Ohio. You will fall in Zone 6a. Southern Minnesota? You’re in zone 4b. Houston, Texas? Zone 9a.
What does this information tell you about the plant that can be grown in your region?
Most of the perennial shrubs, trees, and plants are sold with their planting zone mentioned on their tags, in addition to other requirements like sunlight, size, and soil. These zones are assigned based on the lowest temperature that the plant can survive. In other words, it tells you about the cold tolerance of a particular plant.
This information is of no use if the plant you are choosing is an annual. These plants complete their lives in a year. Similarly, tropical plants are also exempt from this as they don’t go dormant in winter and come back the following spring.
Other Factors to Consider
While the USDA hardiness zone is important for cold-hardy perennials and other plants, it is not the only thing that determines the success of a plant in your garden. The planting zone should be the starting point when you are selecting any plant for your region. However, it is not the only thing to consider. There are several other environmental factors that should also be taken into account. Consider the following factors as well when choosing a plant to grow in your garden.
When planting, it is important to consider the amount of sunlight that you receive in your garden each day. Some plants need at least 6-8 hours of direct sunlight to thrive. Others may grow well in partial or full shade as well. Thus, when choosing a plant, you must consider the amount of sunlight it needs for its optimal growth and whether you get that in your garden or not.
pH and Soil Structure
You also need the right pH and soil structure to make your plants thrive in your growing zone. The consistency of nutrients in the soil varies from one region to another. It may even be different within the boundary of the same property. Different plants need different soil structure to survive and to grow well. Thus, in addition to choosing plants that are compatible with your planting zone, you must also test your soil and amend it if needed.
You must also consider the water requirements of the plants you plan to plant in your garden before planting them. All plants need water to grow. However, some plants are drought-resistant as well. Some plants require regular watering while others can survive long periods without water. It is important to know the water requirements of your plants, in addition to the USDA Grow Zone, to make sure that you grow a successful crop.
Different plants also have different spacing requirements to get the right amount to airflow. It is needed to keep the leaves and stems dry and free from diseases. It also allows the plant to spread to its full potential. Growing plants in a crowded space will stunt their growth as the soil will be drained of nutrients.
What is my growing zone?
To find your USDA hardiness zone, visit the USDA website, and enter your zip code to find your planting zone.
What gardening zone are we?
Locate your region on the plant hardiness zone map to find your zone.
Where is Zone 7 in the United States?
Zone 7 in the United States falls in Alabama, Nevada.
What zone is the UK for gardening?
The United Kingdom lies in USDA Plant Hardiness Zone 6 through 9 with some variations across regions and seasons.
Final Thoughts on Finding Your Gardening Zone
This was all the information about the USDA plant hardiness zone you need to know before you choose any plant to grow in your region. The success of your plants depends on how well-suited it is for your particular region.
- You can locate your growing region by visiting the USDA website and locating your area.
- You can also insert your region’s zip code on the website to locate your growing region.
While it is important to choose plants according to your growing region, you must also consider the other factors that are mentioned in the article above. All these factors combined will help you figure out what to grow in your garden and which plants will not be able to survive the conditions of your area or region.
For more information and any further questions, get in touch with us in the comments.