What are the gardening zones of the USA, and what do they represent?

gardening using USA gardening zones

The United States is split into several gardening zones based on the average minimum winter temperature in a given area.

These zones are defined on a map produced by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) called the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map.

The map is divided into 11 zones, numbered 1 through 11, with Zone 1 being the coldest and Zone 11 being the warmest.

USA Gardening Zones: Objective

The gardening zones are used as an indicative guide to help gardeners understand which plants will flourish and grow in their respective climates.

For example, a plant that is well-suited to a warmer zone may not survive the winter in a colder zone.

Many people try and move their outdoor plants inside for warmer temperatures wherever possible. These can often also be supported with plant heating lights.

By selecting plants that are appropriate for the gardening zone in which they live, gardeners can ensure, or at least increase the possibility, that their plants will be able to survive and grow.


The gardening zones of the USA are based on the average annual minimum temperature, which is the lowest temperature that a certain area experiences during the year.

The temperature is measured in degrees Fahrenheit and is based on data collected over 30 years. The longevity of this study makes it a robust measure for gardeners to understand what plants are appropriate for their specific USA gardening zone.

Updating of USA Gardening zones

The USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map is updated from time to time to reflect climate changes.

It is used by gardeners, nurseries, and landscape professionals to support them in choosing plants that are appropriate for their particular location.

It is important to note, however, that the gardening zones are not the only factor to consider when selecting plants.

Other critical factors to look at include humidity, sunlight, and soil type.

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