Discover Your Planting Zone
Planting zones provide an assessment of what plants are best suited for growing in a particular region. They can give you more information about what plants are most likely to survive the winter in your specific area and the best times to plant specific plants.
The US has 13 zones and Canada has 8. In the USA, each zone covers a ten-degree range, with Zone 1 being the coldest and Zone 13 being the warmest each year. In Canada, the system takes into account 7 different climate variables including wind gust, rainfall, and frost-free days, versus temperature ranges alone.
How to Find Your Planting Zone
In the United States, a plant hardiness zone map, including one offered by the USDA, is a great way to take an introductory look at plant hardiness zones and learn more about the best plants for your region. You can also search specific zones by state or province.
To find your planting zone in Canada, take a look at a Canadian plant hardiness zone map. Match the colour of your region to the shade on the scale to learn about the specific zone of your province.
Why Planting Zones Matter?
Planting zones will let you know what plants will best survive in your area based on annual temperatures and overall weather. Understanding your planting zone can help you protect your plants and grow a more successful garden, especially if you want to grow outdoors.
Based on your regional planting zone, you can decide whether a greenhouse is the right choice, which makes planting more flexible and can extend your growing period.
What is Plant Hardiness, and Why Does It Matter?
Plant hardiness offers a measure of the plant's ability to survive adverse growing conditions. It may measure how the plant can survive in times of drought, flooding, heat, and cold. Plant genetics can have a huge impact on how well a plant survives under specific conditions, particularly when it comes to surviving in the cold.
Each plant has a specific environment in which it grows best. Some elements of that environment are under your control, like soil conditions or the amount of sunlight a plant gets. On the other hand, you can only control temperature through the use of a greenhouse, in which you can provide more complete control over every element of your plant's growth. If you want to grow plants that are not hardy enough to survive in your current environment, a greenhouse offers the most effective way to extend your overall growing season.
How to Use Your Planting Zone
When you know your planting zone, you can use it to inform the types of plants you can most reasonably expect to grow and when you need to put those plants in for maximum effectiveness.
1. Get to know your planting zone.
Take a look at your average temperatures and what they tell you about your garden. For example, your planting zone may tell you the best time to put in plants in your region. In Zone 1, for example, you may not want to plant until mid-June, while in Zone 11, you can plant at any time.
2. Look into any other factors that may impact plant hardiness.
While knowing your planting zone can make a huge difference in what you plant and when you plant it, you need to understand your local area and other factors that may impact hardiness, including soil conditions, general weather, and sunlight.
3. Check the list of the best plants for your area.
By taking a look at your planting zone, you can develop a solid understanding of what plants are best for your specific area, which can allow you to more effectively choose plants that will survive and thrive in your garden.
What a Planting Zone is NOT
A planting zone is a great indicator of what plants are most likely to work well in your current environment. However, there are several things that a planting zone can't tell you.
- Specific local frost dates
- How well a plant will thrive in your area's soil conditions
- How a year's specific local weather patterns will impact your plants
While planting zones are a good starting point, they aren't absolute--which makes it imperative that you also consider other factors when determining what planting zones you live in and what plants you need to put in each year.
Planting Zones by State in the US
On the USDA website, you can enter your zip code, which will give you your specific plant hardiness zone. Some states, the smaller northeastern states, may have a single planting zone, or perhaps 1-2 primary growing zones across the state. Larger states like Texas and California, on the other hand, may offer a wider range of potential growing zones. Texas has regions in Zone 6 through Zone 9a, according to the USDA hardiness zone, while California has planting zones that range from 5a to 11a.
Take a look at:
- Zone 1: Minimum average temperatures of -60° to -50° F
- Zone 2: Minimum average temperatures of -50° to -40° F
- Zone 3: Minimum average temperature of -40° to -30° F
- Zone 4: Minimum average temperature of -30° to -20° F
- Zone 5: Minimum average temperature of -20° to -10° F
- Zone 6: Minimum average temperature of -10° to 0° F
- Zone 7: Minimum average temperature of 0° to 10° F
- Zone 8: Minimum average temperature of 10° to 20° F
- Zone 9: Minimum average temperature of 20° to 30° F
- Zone 10: Minimum average temperature of 30° to 40° F
- Zone 11: Minimum average temperature of 40° to 50° F
- Zone 12: Minimum average temperature of 50° to 60° F
- Zone 13: Minimum average temperature of 60° to 70° F
Planting Zones by Province in Canada
Like states in the US, provinces in Canada may have vastly different planting zones depending on their size. It's important to find your plant hardiness zone by your specific area. You may want to look up the various zones by your province, as depicted in this map of Alberta or this map of planting zones in Canada.
Image: Natural Resources Canada
Canadian planting zones include:
- Zone 0
- Zone 1
- Zone 2
- Zone 3
- Zone 4
- Zone 5
- Zone 6
- Zone 7
- Zone 8
Can a Greenhouse Help Extend Your Growing Season?
A greenhouse could offer the ideal solution whether you:
- live in a zone where you can safely plant all year long but have trouble with plants that may need cooler temperatures to thrive
- want to grow vegetables and flowers that do not typically survive well over the cold winters in your region and need help protecting those plants through the cold winter months.
The greenhouses offered by Planta can help extend your growing season by providing a temperature-controlled environment in which you can determine precisely how much heat or cold your plants get, along with controlling the sun and water input.
In addition, a greenhouse may prove ideal for mountainous environments, snowy and windy environments, or those at high altitudes. With a greenhouse, you can control more of the factors that go into growing your plants and provide more delicate plants with the protection they need to thrive.
Contact us today about our greenhouse solutions and how they can help you make the best of your garden.