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How to Use the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map to Grow Your Garden


How to Use the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map to Grow Your Garden

It’s easy to want every single plant you see on Instagram. They’re beautiful shades of green, sculptural, and add an organic texture to any room, patio, or yard. But if you’re new to the plant game, where do you even begin? You like succulents, but you don’t live in the desert. You’re not in a tropical climate, but those majesty palms are practically reaching out to you to take them home at Lowe’s. Enter the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map.

The USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map

The USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map is the standard by which gardeners and growers can determine which plants are most likely to thrive at a location and is based on the average annual minimum winter temperature, divided into 10-degree F zones. Zone maps are tools that show where various permanent landscape plants can adapt. If you want a shrub, perennial, or tree to survive and grow year after year, the plant must tolerate year-round conditions in your area, such as the lowest and highest temperatures and the amount and distribution of rainfall. Use this map to give yourself the best chance at having the green thumb you always wanted!


What Can I Grow in Philadelphia?

Philadelphia is in Hardiness Zone 7b: 5 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit. Here winter temperatures can dip from 0 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit. This means that you’ll be a more successful gardener if you choose to grow Rosemary, Snake Plants, Sunflowers, Wisteria, Tulips, Arugula, Basil, Carrots, Daffodils, Hydrangeas, Lavender, Marigolds, and more. Here’s a full list of the best plants to grow in Zone 7!

Interested in growing your own Urban Garden? We have our own how-to guide for How To Grow an Urban Garden!


Plants for All Four Seasons

This Zone also offers opportunity to add plants with year round interest to their gardens. These plants look great in all four seasons! You can enjoy the green needles of Conifer trees, or the beautiful weeping leaves of the Japanese Maple. Learn more about Zone 7 Year Round Plants.


Local Nurseries

Fortunately for most novice gardeners, local nurseries will pack their inventory with plants that are more likely to survive the local hardiness zone. Be sure to check the label and growing instructions on the plants before buying to make sure your home can provide the adequate light and water requirements! Click here to view a list of Philadelphia’s best local plant shops to find one near you!

Now that you know a little bit more about keeping plants alive, enjoy all your greenery!