Landscaping Project Essentials: The Planting Zone Factor

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If you're considering changing your property's landscaping, you have a lot of things to think about, such as what types of plants to grow. One key issue you don't want to overlook is hardiness. This term refers to a plant's ability to thrive in a particular climate. To help landscapers and home gardens choose viable plants for their landscaping and gardening projects, experts have developed the concept of growing or planting zones, which are also known as hardiness zones. The following article takes a detailed look at this topic.  


The idea behind hardiness is that plants do better in climates that are similar to their native habitat. If a plant does not like cold weather, for example, then it's unlikely to survive the winter in the upper Midwest. The U.S. Department or Agriculture, or USDA, has developed a map that divides the country into hardiness zones based on a plant's ability to tolerate cold.  

For example, if a plant is recommended for a zone with a low number, such as zone 2 or 3, that means it tolerates cold very well. If it's recommended for a zone with a high number, such as zone 10, that means it does not tolerate cold weather. The USDA map is not the only hardiness zone map based on cold weather tolerance. The Arbor Day Foundation has one as well.  

In addition to hardiness zone maps for cold weather, you can also consult a map for heat tolerance. A planting zone map developed by the American Horticultural Association divides the country in 12 zones based on a plant's ability to grow successfully in hot weather. 


Typically, horticultural experts provide a range of zones, rather than just one zone, when they offer guidance for a plant's hardiness. For example, a particular shrub or tree might be hardy for several zones, such as zones 5 through 8. This could mean, however, that the plant will not grow as vigorously in the edges of this range (zones 5 and 8) as it would in the middle (zones 6 and 7). 


To find if a plant is a good fit for your landscape, you can check it's tag. Nurseries and garden centers typically place a tag on each plant for sale that lists the recommended planting zone range.  

Planting zone recommendations provide homeowners with valuable information for their landscaping projects. By choosing trees, shrubs and flowers that are a good fit for your climate, you improve your chances for success. Contact a landscaping company like Superior Lawn and Landscape for more information.