What Plant Hardiness Zones DON'T Tell You…

What Plant Hardiness Zones DON'T Tell You…

Hardiness zones are helpful, but for beginner gardeners, they can often confuse you more than they clarify. They’re based on the average annual minimum temperature, which gives you SOME info but not ALL the info you need to know what to plant and when to plant it in your garden.

Click here to find your zone: https://planthardiness.ars.usda.gov/


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  1. Georgia Ray on June 1, 2022 at 8:26 pm

    I live in zone 5 and it says average -5. Last winter we hit -15° which was -30° with the wind chill. We easily hit below -5 almost every winter because I live like 10 miles from Lake Erie and the storms cause huge cold fronts to come in frequently.
    I think it’s a good estimate to start with but it’s now where near as helpful as I was hoping.

  2. Avo Cado on June 1, 2022 at 8:26 pm

    More nerdiness please!!

  3. Madge Neil-Gardening on June 1, 2022 at 8:28 pm

    how do i get one of your book to buy

  4. Makayla's World on June 1, 2022 at 8:29 pm

    BOO BOO BOO!!!

  5. XENOHAVAQ on June 1, 2022 at 8:34 pm

    Bruh Idc what anyone says but Global Warming really slapping us in the face rn. Coming from the NE in VT we haven’t had a MAJOR snow storm since like 2010 and NYC flat out has seen at most two inches in the past four years. That might might need another updating ASAP

  6. Cark on June 1, 2022 at 8:35 pm

    Thanks for the informational video. Wondering if there are any micro-climate apps out there than can help me calculate how often and much I should water.

  7. Little Sister Hair Care on June 1, 2022 at 8:37 pm

    Would you say your videos cater to zone 10b

  8. No Touchy on June 1, 2022 at 8:37 pm

    people from SoCal are not allowed to discuss hardiness zones.
    some of us have to unbury the car every morning half the year.

  9. Julie Gogola on June 1, 2022 at 8:38 pm

    Unfortunately, with permanent plants like trees, shrubs and perennials, that "average" cold would possibly mean that every so often, when you have a not so "average" cold blast, you may lose some plants that may be the "bones" of your garden/landscape.
    I’ve also been wondering, if you have some tender plants in a greenhouse, and the low temp you might get a few hours comes a few degrees below what a plant or 2 can deal with outdoors, exposed to wind or rain, would that plant be able to handle that few degrees below the recommended lowest temperature?
    It would be above freezing though. To be specific, a zone 10b hardy plant being in a greenhouse 42f.
    My greenhouse is now 42f, and I am leery of going out to put on my backup heater because it’s in the teens outside, and it’s gonna be icy and I don’t want to fall and bust my butt going to the GH.

  10. Jamie Bexley on June 1, 2022 at 8:38 pm

    "I know we got pretty nerdy." Spot on 😂🤘

  11. Paul Rudin on June 1, 2022 at 8:39 pm

    Good video. Good info. and intuition. I’ve been thinking on the same lines. My USDA hardiness zone is 9b. I grew up gardening in Hardiness Zone 6b. The USDA zones were good. They worked. Now that I’m here, they are useless. The city I live in is a micro-climate which does not in anyway confirm to USDA categories. Zone 9b is supposed to have hot summers. It is rare for the temperature here to exceed 63 degrees F. On the converse, the USDA Hardiness map works for the lows. Temperatures rarely drop below 36 degrees F. But, they did drop to 34 degrees two days ago, on April 16. I have began to use a combination of USDA zones with geography definitions such as "Mediterranean Climate", "Maritime Climate", "Temperate Rain Forest", and etc. This has yielded a slightly more exact approximation of my climate zone. In the past, I wouldn’t have needed this information, but as our family has been seeking to create a self-sustaining, permaculture garden, within space and environmental constraints, I have been looking at unfamiliar crops. To make things more complicated, our climate seems to be changing. The temperature actually got up to 73 degrees last year. My kids were complaining about the heat…? The winter time lows dipped down to freezing more frequently, while staying above 27- 29 degrees (normal limits). And, though we supposedly live in a "Mediterranean Climate" there was no rain this winter. However, it’s been raining cats and dogs this spring. It’s like I’m back in Zone 6b again: totally atypical. Thanks,
    again. I thought I would offer this for food for thought.

  12. Yahir Hernandez on June 1, 2022 at 8:39 pm

    It would be nice to grow a big mango tree in the desert climate of las vegas

  13. Alyce Herrera on June 1, 2022 at 8:42 pm

    This is helpful. I have a house in Joshua trees which is a zone 9 and in desert hot springs (palm springs) which is also a zone 9. It freezes and shows sometimes in JT but never in DHS. I didn’t understand how they were both zone 9! In DHS the summers can be over 120/100 but in winter it averages about 60/40. I was thinking it is a zone 10. Also there is more rain in DHS than JT so it is more humid (especially with all the golf courses). So I think I’m going to go with zone 10 from now on.
    I’m just starting and I was going threw a lot of plants. Luckily most I started from seeds I saved from my corner produce stand and the woman there helps me with tips on how to grow stuff.

  14. IRQVET Racing on June 1, 2022 at 8:45 pm

    Bookends, I’m a visual learner, well done bro!

  15. conissen on June 1, 2022 at 8:45 pm

    Using Florida as an opposing example really makes me skeptical of any and all advice you have to give, ‘microzones’ sounds nice in a temperate zone, try talking to a Midwesterner where even in shade temps are 100+ most of the growing season, don’t buy this book

  16. trees and fishing on June 1, 2022 at 8:46 pm

    Your smug was showing. I should’ve listened to someone from zone 7 to explain the difference in zones

  17. Cark on June 1, 2022 at 8:46 pm

    I’m growing Microgreens in my uninsulated garage in a 7a zone during the summer months (60-90F). Lately, it’s been in the 70’s and 80s, but everything I sow (Sunflower, Peas, Beans, Corn, Broccoli, Clover) seems to take twice as long to germinate as what people prescribe. Wondering if this is due to the heat / humidity.

  18. Gibbie Chirico on June 1, 2022 at 8:46 pm

    Thank you for this

  19. Alex yu on June 1, 2022 at 8:47 pm

    Wouldn’t the data used is for zoning purpose based on annuel winter temps and not entire year minium temp if we are talking about the hardiness of the plant being able to survive it’s winter?

  20. Peter Sedesse on June 1, 2022 at 8:48 pm

    This was a really good video. The other thing is that zones mean different thing for different types of farmer. If you are big ag with 1000s of acres, then it is what it is… but if you are a market gardener on 1 acre, than you can use plastic row covers to easily push yourself up a zone or two and get your stuff into the ground a month before big ag can.

  21. B on June 1, 2022 at 8:52 pm

    This is exactly what I needed last year! I ended up placing them off intuition and being in line with this, feels good to have found this for reference even a year+ later with them doing well. Appreciate the knowledge regardless! Thanks so much

  22. Tux Brew on June 1, 2022 at 8:53 pm

    Thanks Kevin

  23. Halcyon Acres on June 1, 2022 at 8:54 pm

    Awesome video! That is great information. I’m in 7b, and this is spot on that there are so many other factors to consider. I would say that our heat and humidity is almost more important to consider in planting that the low temps. Micro-climates is an important concept too. Thank you for posting this! A lot to think about as I redo my garden.

  24. Susan M Jensen on June 1, 2022 at 8:54 pm

    Old gardener needs zone help?? i’m 4b so can some 5a/5b plants I can use?? ty

  25. Sue’s Urban Garden on June 1, 2022 at 8:56 pm

    This is great! I’m in Texas and I’m zone 8a and I’m realizing I may not need to cover my citrus as much as I was told. Last night it was about 30 degrees and right now it’s almost 60. I’m realizing we are truly on the cusps here in dallas.

  26. Emmy's Creative Corner on June 1, 2022 at 9:01 pm

    Thank you for this video. We live in Northern California Zone 9b and planted our lime tree 5 years ago, and this year is the first year we’re getting limes. BUT we’re planning to move to Washington which is zone 8a-b. I want to seed save from that lime and plant in pots. I’ve already done this with my dwarf lemon tree. I’m determined to grow these citrus plants in Washington, so I’m trying to gather as much information as I can to make it a successful grow.

  27. Etienne Louw on June 1, 2022 at 9:01 pm

    So, I live in Cape Town, South Africa and from now on will consider myself as living in zone 11. Spring is just mixed up a bit and summers get really hot and winters wet. Summer is November,December and January.

  28. Christine B on June 1, 2022 at 9:01 pm

    Very interesting. thank you

  29. cameron self on June 1, 2022 at 9:01 pm

    Meteorologist and plant nerd wannabe here. There is another rather large weakness of the hardiness zones. As you mentioned, it is based off the typical coldest temperature of the season. This temperature is based off a 30 year average. Take the the coldest temperature of each year over the last 30 years, add them together, and divide by 30. Nice simple math. Problem, it doesn’t take into account the year to year variability. In San Diego, your annual minimum likely doesn’t vary as much as it does in some other places. For most places east of the Rockies, the annual minimum typically varies quite a bit from year to year. I live in southeastern Houston. I’m simultaneously close to the urban heat core and the bay. My zone is 9B which equates to an annual minimum of 25-29F. The airport nearby averages an annual low of 28F. But in the 8 winters I have lived here 2 never froze, 3 never dipped below 30F, one dropped to 23F, and two dropped into the teens. Our annual minimum over 8 years has ranged from 15F to 36F. Another way to put it is we have had 5 winters in zone 10, 1 in zone 9, and two in zone 8. Where my mom lives in the North Carolina foothills is really similar. Her annual low average in the lower teens. But in the last decade, they have been as low as 1F while also having a winter that didn’t dip below 25F.

  30. buzzz kill on June 1, 2022 at 9:01 pm

    Stop handsplaining ,your traumatizing people with your racist hand gesturing.

  31. Christian Lloyd Comia on June 1, 2022 at 9:02 pm

    10b Climate is just Like Philippine Climate.

  32. Body Rot on June 1, 2022 at 9:02 pm

    A lot of the things you will learn by trial and error. Which can be frustrating but ultimately is a good thing.

  33. B M on June 1, 2022 at 9:02 pm

    Oh my goodness I just moved to Imperial Beach from Chicago! I love your videos.

  34. Jupiter Baphomet Rowe on June 1, 2022 at 9:02 pm

    just found your channel bc ive got a sudden interest in growing plants + food, and as a hard of hearing individual i super appreciate you taking the time to caption your videos. it’s not something a lot of content creators think to do so it’s always a delightful surprise to see channels where people put in that extra effort for accessibility 🧡

  35. Para te on June 1, 2022 at 9:03 pm

    Coast of Spain 😎 no frost only issue is not a lot of sun in the winter

  36. Bob Powell on June 1, 2022 at 9:04 pm

    The Western Garden book is not perfect. But it’s really good at addressing smaller zones. I worked for a large California Nursery that specialized in deciduous Fruit and shade trees outside Visalia California. I set up a program for selling deciduous fruit trees by microclimate. Because stone fruits, apples, Cherries, Pears and Nut Trees and other deciduous fruit trees rely on “Chilling Hours” (hours under 45 degrees Fahrenheit).
    I put a TON of work into that. Basically informing each Nursery by Microclimate. So people wouldn’t buy the inappropriate variety. VERY complex. And my boss just let it die. Didn’t want to pay for Graphics the consumer could understand. Oh well, I did get paid to do the research.

  37. Victoria O'Shea on June 1, 2022 at 9:06 pm


  38. TrashcatLinol on June 1, 2022 at 9:07 pm

    I’m in zone 5b, and our hot days days reach 99 to 100 the last 5 years… And -10 to -20 during the coldest snaps in the winter, which has lasted an entire month… I hate the extremes!

  39. Christian Lloyd Comia on June 1, 2022 at 9:08 pm

    I have sapodilla or Chico like what you have in your table hehe.

  40. Arjanit Marku on June 1, 2022 at 9:11 pm

    Can someone please answer this question for me please. Can you grow fruit tree that grows in a zone 7 in a zone 6? It only says it grows in zone 7

  41. James Morris on June 1, 2022 at 9:12 pm

    One thing I never see in my homestead groups are the discussions about personal micro climate. My family and friends wonder why I have frogs and lizards, rabbits and hares living on my property when the neighbor can barely grow wheat on his acreage

  42. Segundo B. Salioni on June 1, 2022 at 9:14 pm

    Good poop.

  43. Journey With Nichole on June 1, 2022 at 9:14 pm

    Thank you so much!!!

  44. Steve Fisher on June 1, 2022 at 9:15 pm


  45. Harpy81 on June 1, 2022 at 9:18 pm

    oh cool I’m zone 5b

  46. Jenoveryonder on June 1, 2022 at 9:18 pm

    Try living in the desert where it rains 1.5 inches a year. It stinks.

  47. WertiaAudit on June 1, 2022 at 9:20 pm


  48. sunshineandtea on June 1, 2022 at 9:23 pm

    As someone trying desperately to grow a garden in Phoenix, THANK you for explaining why I’m in the same zone as much more temperate areas in Cali.

  49. Melissa Hoerter on June 1, 2022 at 9:24 pm

    I live in zone 5b and was looking to get a cold hardy bamboo plant for outside. It says online it is for zones 5-9, hardy to -10°F. What happens if it gets below that temp? I have lived here my whole life and I know it can happen and it usually lasts for a couple days. When it is specified that a plant is hardy to a certain temperature, does that mean it can withstand that temperature for extended periods of time?

  50. Epic Gardening on June 1, 2022 at 9:24 pm

    Click here to find your zone: https://planthardiness.ars.usda.gov/ – BOOK LINKS:
    → Signed Copy of My Book: http://bit.ly/epicgardenbook
    → My book on Amazon: https://amzn.to/2xf4cqv