Gardening Basics: Plant Hardiness Zone

I am going back to work at the Home Depot as a side job and I landed a great sales position in the Garden Department. It’s time to brush up on my gardening knowledge. Here is the first in a series of Gardening Basics posts for those who are looking to learn a little about plants and gardening.

First thing’s first: Plant Hardiness Zone

Plant Hardiness Map

To figure out what plants will grow best in your specific area you’ll need to know what your plant hardiness zone is. There are tons of websites that will give you this information. For example, the USDA’s site has an interactive map where you can put in your zip code or a state to find out what your zone is and from there you can determine which plants will thrive in your area.

When looking for plants your nursery should have little tags on or in each plant that shows which zones the plant does best in, and which zones the plant will act as an annual or a perennial plant.

For Hemet, CA (where I live), I’m in zone 9A, which means our annual minimum temperature averages between 20 and 25 degrees.

Whereas, Chicago, IL is in zone 6A, which means that their annual minimum temperature averages between -10 and -5 degrees. They would need plants that can handle those cold temperatures.

Finding out your zone hardiness can make or break your gardening or landscaping project. Of course we all want to have beautiful gardens, and some people are happy to re-plant the same annuals each year, but ensuring you’re picking the right plants for your area.

If you have a specific plant that you really, really, absolutely love, but know that it won’t survive your climate, and option is to grow it indoors. Just be sure to water it, feed it, and get it sunlight.

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