Planting Zones –
Maximizing the Possibilities
Your knowledge of planting zones can help you maximize the potential of your garden by allowing you to purchase plants from nearly anywhere in the world and enjoy them in your home garden.
Plant hardiness zones have now been recorded for most areas of the world. Maps of varying degrees of sophistication are available from several sources. I’ve gathered links for many of these together to allow you to easily determine your hardiness zone.
Look at the following maps for your region of the world, and match the colors to the keys on the individual maps.
Remember that these maps serve only as a guide; your own microclimate may vary, sometimes quite widely.
How to Use Planting Zones Maps
Maps of plant hardiness zones are useful as indicators of the likelihood of a plant surviving in a given climate, but should be considered in tandem with other key information which affects the ability of a plant to flourish. Such considerations as temperature ranges, sunlight levels, and amount of rainfall, air movement patterns, and the growing seasons common to the region should all be considered before purchasing a plant for inclusion in your garden.
Once you know your zone, you can use that information to determine exactly which plants are likely to flourish in your climatic conditions, given that other plant requirements are met.
Most plant encyclopedias list planting zones along with sunlight and moisture requirements as part of the entry.
In recent years, there has been an interesting movement often labeled as Zonal Denial. This phrase attempts to capture the propensity that we plant collectors seem to have of trying to grow plants in climate areas just one or two zones outside of our normal zones.
OH, but what delight!
Plants from alternative zones often have interesting leaves and unusual characteristics that can really bring drama into your landscape.
Creative gardeners can get very excited about the extra punch this can give to the garden, because it often sets a garden apart and gives it an edge over other gardens in the area.
For those who are willing to put in the extra work to overwinter and provide extra water to these garden divas, zonal denial can be an exciting experiment!
The opportunity to grow plants that we would not be able to grow normally is a real gift to gardeners! It broadens an already awe-inspiring experience and adds to it even more opportunity to enjoy our earthly home.
I love and embrace the quote from Thomas Jefferson, who once said:
“There is not a blade of grass that shoots uninteresting to me.”
This never-ending interest in the earth and its bounty is what sets us as gardeners apart! You are a special breed!