By: Brent and Becky
"An investment in knowledge pays the best interest."
- Benjamin Franklin
Finally, on the other side of winter, and for many a roller coaster spring, warmer weather is here for many of us. With more hours of light in the day, the weather warming up, and new green growth, it’s easy to forget that our plants were out shivering in the cold all winter.
Of course, the severity of your winter weather is very different depending on where you live. For savvy gardeners, keeping the extreme temperatures of your area in mind is an important step when shopping for plants. Many plants you bring home and into your garden will need to survive the worst of your local weather, not just the growing season temperatures.
With just a glance, it’s hard to tell if a plant is hardy enough to survive your winters. To avoid confusion, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has created a numbered system to organize different “zones” in North America. Each region, with a unique climate, is assigned a number according to the coldest winter temperature. These range from zones 0-12, encompassing all the unique climates from the Arctic to jungles. States further North are all too familiar with frigid winters, earning zone numbers between 3 and 5. Areas like Florida enjoy zones 9 or 10 weather where a winter freeze is a rare occurrence.
These numbered zones are helpful to gardeners. By knowing what zone they are living and gardening in, gardeners can set their gardens up for success by using plants that are tough enough to survive. Taking your zone number seriously will help your garden perform better, and save you the disappointment when the mercury plunges.
What to Plant
Once you know your local zone, you have an outline of which plants are the best fit for your backyard. Staying within this zone is a great way to have a low-stress garden and backyard. Your plants are designed to thrive in your exact climate and won’t require much extra care.
Many gardeners, especially those living in colder zones, find themselves tempted to plant some of their favorites that have caught their eye, even if they are outside of your zone. While it isn’t impossible, getting a plant to thrive in conditions that aren’t ideal is difficult. Most times, planting something from a warmer zone will require the perfect spot and a lot more TLC.
Knowing your zones can help your garden look better with much less work. Keep an eye out for the zones listed on our website, in our catalogue, or on the plant tags in stores before you buy, to make sure that you bring home plants that will thrive. While exotic tropicals might need extra care or even a bit of luck, plants for your zone are a much easier way to have a lush garden. Gardening should be fun! By following these guidelines, you will have a higher chance of success and years of enjoyment!
Resources: USDA Map Click Here
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