Getting in the Zone: Discovering the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map

As a frequent traveler, when I hear the word “zone,” my mind immediately goes here:

Legroom is totally overrated... said no one ever! Credit seatguru.com.

Legroom is totally overrated… said no one ever!
Credit seatguru.com.

But on the Bougainvillea 101 website, I came across the following:

Bougainvillea are tropical and must be protected from frost. In Zone 8 and cooler, you are almost limited to growing them in some kind of container unless you treat them as an annual (plant a new plant outdoors each year).

So of course I had to Google “plant zones.” They’re basically a fancy way of saying that certain plants do better in certain climates.

The USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map: These people don't play. Credit usda.gov.

The USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map:
These people don’t play. Credit usda.gov.

I typed my ZIP code into this interactive map from the USDA. Turns out I live in zone 9b — that unflattering peachy color — which means the low temperature rarely drops below 28 degrees Fahrenheit. It is Florida, so… yeah.

The USDA is quick to point out that other plenty of other factors come into play. These include:

  • Wind
  • Light
  • Pollination
  • Soil moisture
  • Duration of exposure to cold
  • Snow (a non-issue here in Florida)
  • Humidity (an ever-present issue here in Florida)

My question is, what else can I grow in zone 9b? The Old Farmer’s Almanac offers some insights. Other suggestions?

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Posted on January 6, 2014, in Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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