Plant Hardiness Zones and Frost Free Dates
There are literally thousands upon thousands of varieties of plants. Not
all of them will thrive in a given type of climate. Cactus like the heat
and dryness of semi arid areas. Palm and orange trees need lots of heat
and water. Lettuce and cabbage does well in cooler weather. Plant hardiness
zones define the environment for particular groups of plants. It is a gardener's
tool for selecting the proper plants that will thrive in the area you live
in. By knowing the hardiness zone you live in, you can select the right
plants to grow for your area.
Plant Hardiness zones represents the average low temperature range for an
So why is this important? Each plant has a minimum temperature range in which
it can survive during the winter months. Once you know your range, you can
select perennial plants that will survive the winters in your area.
The USDA Plant Hardiness Zones map(above) is now interactive on the USDA
website. By clicking on their map, you can zoom in on your state and town.
Interactive Plant Hardiness Map
Frost Free Dates:
The first and last frost dates are critical dates for those of us who plant
tender annuals. It is crucial to know the first and last frost free dates
in your area.
It is important to note that these dates can vary significantly, even in
a small area. For example if you are right by a large lake, in a valley,
or high up on a hill, overnight lows will vary. Check with local growers
and your local garden stores.
Always be vigilant of tender annuals on cold nights. Be prepared to cover