USDA updates its 2024 Plant Hardiness Map: Find out what planting zone you live in

USDA updates its 2024 Plant Hardiness Map: Find out what planting zone you live in

The United States Department of Agriculture released an updated version of last year's Plant Hardiness Map to offer a guide for gardeners to understand which plants can survive and thrive based on the area they live in.

In 2023, the USDA released a map based on 30-year averages of the lowest annual winter temperatures at the specific locations, split into 10-degree and 5-degree zones, and integrates data from 13,412 weather stations compared to over 7,000 used in the 2012 map.

The new map is a tool used to help gardeners and growers understand which plants can flourish in particular temperatures in different locations.

Scientists also use the map for data in many research models, such as those modeling the spread of exotic weeds and insects.

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Planting zones typically define which plants can survive winter in your area, and zones are typically listed in plant growing guides for reference, per Almanac.com.

To find your plant zone, all you need to do is enter your ZIP code in the search box to find your location in the Plant Hardiness Zone Map. You can also click on the map at your location of interest to see the Plant Hardiness Zone classification there.

All Plant Hardiness Zone Maps serve as general guides for growing perennial plants.

Gardeners have to understand that past weather records can’t provide a guaranteed forecast for future variations in weather.

The USDA notes that it's good to speak with knowledgeable producers and gardeners and look into services when gardening in certain weather conditions in their areas.

Gardeners also have to understand environmental factors and hardiness zones contribute to the success or failure of plants. According to the USDA, wind, soil type, soil moisture, humidity, pollution, snow, and winter sunshine affect plants' survival. The manner these plants are placed in an area, how they are planted, and their size and health can also influence their survival.

The Plant Hardiness Zone Map is based on the average annual extreme minimum winter temperature, displayed as 10-degree F zones ranging from zone 1 (coldest) to zone 13 (warmest), the USDA notes.

Colors on the map like red, orange, yellow, green, and blue, describe the plant's hardiness zones.

These numbers and colors also give gardeners a better idea of which plants can survive in different temperatures in the U.S. while helping them decide on which perennial plants to grow based on their performance in other parts of the country.

Approximately 80 million American gardeners and growers represent the most frequent users of the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map, the USDA explained on its website.

Gardeners can find and download plant maps by visiting the USDA website.

This story was reported from Washington, D.C.


Original article source: USDA updates its 2024 Plant Hardiness Map: Find out what planting zone you live in