If a plant is listed as hardy in USDA Zones 5-8, how can you tell if it will survive in your garden?
The USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) has adopted a map, which shows the expected high and low temperatures for a given area. The zones are divided on this map and numbered. It is based on the coldest climate in which a plant will survive.
If a plant is listed as hardy in zones 5-8, it means that it will withstand the cold temperatures up to zone 5 but will most likely freeze out in lower zones such as 2, 3, and 4. It also shows that it will withstand the heat up to zone 8 but will probably die out in a hotter climate of 9, 10, and 11. The best growing conditions for this plant would be between and including zones 5-8.
It isn't a perfect system but it does give gardeners an idea of where a plant will grow and thrive. For instance, you can leave the canna (pictured here) in the ground in zones 7-11 but you need to dig the rhizomes and store them indoors in the colder zones of 3-6. It would be listed as hardy in USDA Zones 7-11.
It's nice having flower-filled containers on our patios, decks, and balconies. They add a refreshing touch of color and life to areas where we spend our outdoor time. Right now they're probably looking lush, colorful, and healthy. But as summer progresses and the weather warms, container plants can become stressed.
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