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Understanding Plant Hardiness Zones

Increase your gardening success by selecting plants suited to your cold hardiness zone and other environmental conditions.

Hardiness zones reflect the average minimum temperatures for an area. Buying cold hardy plants help reduce losses when extreme winter temperatures occur.

You’ll find the USDA Plant Hardiness Map printed in garden books and catalogues. Locate your town on the map and match the color of your region on the map key. Or enter your zip code at the USDA Plant Hardiness Map website and your hardiness zone and minimum winter temperature range will appear.

Each hardiness zone represents areas within a 10-degree Fahrenheit range of minimum temperatures. This zone is subdivided into 5-degree segments to more precisely represent the area within each zone.  The lower the number; the colder the winter temperatures.

A bit more information: Cold hardiness is just one factor to consider when selecting plants for your garden. Make sure the plants you choose will thrive in the soil, wind and soil in your yard. Check their heat hardiness to ensure they will thrive in summer’s heat.


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