If you’re a gardener, you probably have heard of the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map. This handy guide divides the country into 11 growing zones based on average winter temperatures, allowing you to determine which plants grow well in your area and which crops are best for your climate.
Depending on where you live, you may have heard about zones 5 and 7 for gardening. The latter is a particularly good zone for flowers, and you can find a wide variety of flowering trees and shrubs that grow well in this part of the country.
What Is Zone 8?
If you are gardening in zone 8 or its subzones, you will have a moderately long growing season. You can find a variety of vegetables, fruits and flowers that thrive in this region.
What Are Cold Hardy Plants for a Zone 7 Garden?
The first step in choosing what to grow in your zone 7 garden is to decide whether you want to plant perennials or annuals. Perennials typically have a longer growing season, which is important in a zone 7 garden because of the short, cold winters. However, there are some cold-hardy plants that can be grown as annuals if you wish to give them a head start in the spring.
Some plants that are cold-hardy in zone 7 include mealy-cup sage, an excellent perennial with striking blue flowers. This plant is perfect for adding color to a rock garden or a backdrop behind a retaining wall.
Ground cover is another important consideration in a zone 7 garden. Yellow alyssum is an ideal choice for a retaining wall because its trailing stems add interest to the garden and will spread when you plant it in your soil.
Its main requirement is good drainage, but you can also mix it with other rock garden plants for a colorful display. Its long stems create a carpet of bright blooms, especially in the late summer.
What are the Other Considerations for Zone 7?
Although most gardeners in zone 7 enjoy a long growing season and have access to a variety of fruits, vegetables and flowers, they should take into account other factors when planting. For example, some plants do better in full sun than others, so you will need to determine which ones are best for your landscape.
Lastly, you should know that there is a big difference between a cold and warm winter. Many plants that are cold-hardy in the winter will not be happy when it gets too hot in summer. In the heat of summer, many plants can burn or die. This can result in an unhealthy looking garden and, ultimately, an unhappy gardener.
The USDA’s Plant Hardiness Zone Map can help you choose what to plant in your zone 7. This map can also be used to determine when certain trees and shrubs prefer to be planted and what types of soil conditions they need to flourish. The Map is available in a number of resolutions, including a static map that’s available for download in your state and region. You can also view the Map online using a computer or smart phone, which is helpful for gardeners who don’t have access to the map at their location.