You might think that it’s impossible to grow a palm in Minneapolis but you’d be wrong. If you think you can wait until June to plant tomatoes in Texas you’re in big trouble. It’s obvious that certain plants aren’t going to thrive in certain climates and that’s where a little bit of knowledge about your hardiness zone comes in handy!
What Are The Zones?
The zones are in place to help gardeners and growers determine what plants are best suited for what climates. The system is rooted in a 30 year study of the average annual extreme minimum temperature. The zones are broken into 10-degree brackets and they are intended to provide guidance to growers on what plants to select for their local environment.
It is important to note that the zones are based on the average lowest temperatures and not the lowest temp recorded in the area. Extremes can impact your plants and vegetation. A plant rated for zone 9 would be quite suited to Houston but still may not have made it through the past winter in Houston.
Other Growing Factors
There are several factors at play that contribute to the success of a plant. Knowledge of the specific conditions of your local microclimate can really help you create an environment that will thrive. Wind, soil condition, humidity levels, and sun exposure can play critical roles.
Plants grow best within a range of optimum temperatures. Some plants require a certain amount of cold weather in order to reproduce. Some plants are incredibly versatile and will thrive in a wide range of zones.
Make sure to check the tag of a plant before buying it to ensure it has the best opportunity to thrive in your local environment. Local stores probably won’t stock many plants out of season or zone but knowing your zone is critical if you’re ordering seeds and plants over the internet.