For Ohio Gardeners

Their USDA Hardiness Zone Map

This might be the called “the art of planting hardy plants”, because although a map is provided and most all plants are clearly marked with hardiness zones, there is enough variation in both plants and garden conditions to merit a little leeway in how accurately a gardener can estimate the hardiness of a plant.


Hardiness zones

Despite the caveat on just how much we might depend on the hardiness zones, they are one of the most useful tools to help the gardener plan for where to put a plant and whether to expect it to survive the usual winter temperatures of their garden.


Cold Climate Gardening


Most of the areas fall into Zone 5 a, but I can say from experience that there are times our winters drop into the temperatures of Zone 5 b (-15° to 10° Fahrenheit). (View the map of Ohio for zones, including those affected by proximity to Lake Erie)

With protection, plants that aren’t completely hardy may still survive, and mini-climates in the garden can spell the difference between a plant survivor or a new member of the “plant cemetery”.

Hardiness Zones Are Guides

The art of gardening and landscape planning works with the temperature estimations, and the USDA hardiness zones are one of our most informative tools.

Just please keep in mind that hardiness is a guide, not a guarantee.

Hardiness zones do prevent a great deal of disappointment for long term plantings, and for that they are eminently useful.

Using the Ohio hardiness zone map will help gardeners choose trees, shrubs, and perennials that will survive their cold climate temperatures.

Using a Hardiness Zone Map

When planning your home landscape, or visiting the nursery to buy your plants, check the hardiness zones of the plant.

Most of the plants offered for sale in local garden centers are recommended for your area, but I have noticed some selections where I muttered “no way” under my breath.

It is often a matter of whether the plant suffers the full brunt of winter weather or is sheltered by buildings, fences, or other barriers to harsh winds and freezing cold that determines its winter survival.

Additionally, other conditions can exacerbate or ameliorate the winter effects. For instance, some plants cannot abide wet conditions in the soil during cold months. Others are desiccated by winds, or heaved out of the ground by the frosts. Still, knowing how cold the air is likely to get and whether a plant is known to tolerate those temperatures is valuable information.


Can I plant Zone 4 plants in my Zone 5 garden?

You can generally plant anything that tolerate colder zone temperatures.

Can I plant Zone 6 plants in my Zone 5 garden?

You can try such plants though you risk losing them in a colder winter.

Can I plant Zone 7 plants in my Zone 5 garden?

I’d say “no”.


Curious About The USDA Zones?

USDA Hardiness Zones for Plants

This handy chart may help you understand hardiness regions.

Temperature in ° CUSDA ZoneTemperature in ° F
–45.6 and below1Below –50
–42.8 and below2a–45 to –50
–40 to –42.72b–40 to –45
–37.3 to –39.93a–35 to –40
–34.5 to –37.23b–30 to –35
–31.7 to –34.44a–25 to –30
–28.9 to –31.64b–20 to –25
–26.2 to –28.85a–15 to –20
–23.4 to –26.15b–10 to –15
–20.6 to –23.36a–5 to –10
–17.8 to –20.56b0 to –5
–15 to –17.77a5 to 0
–12.3 to –14.97b10 to 5
–9.5 to –12.28a15 to 10
–6.7 to –9.48b20 to 15
–3.9 to –6.69a25 to 20
–1.2 to –3.89b30 to 25
1.6 to –1.110a35 to 30
4.4 to 1.710b40 to 35
4.5 and above1140 and above


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