Plants 101

Best Plants to Grow Based on Your Hardiness Zone

Selecting the right plants for your garden involves more than just aesthetic preferences—it's about choosing species that can thrive in your specific climate conditions. In this guide, we'll explore the best plants to grow based on each hardiness zone.

Back To Blog

Zones 1 & 2

Hardiness zones 1 and 2 are characterized by extremely cold climates with long, harsh winters and short, cool summers. Gardening in these zones can be challenging due to the limited growing season and cold-hardiness requirements of plants.

For example, hardiness zone 1 encompasses regions where temperatures can drop as low as -50°F and hardiness zone 2 often as low as -40°F during the winter months. These areas have very short growing seasons, often with frost occurring throughout much of the year.

In both both zones, it's crucial to select plants that are extremely cold-hardy and adapted to short growing seasons. Additionally, consider plants native to Arctic and subarctic regions, as they are more likely to thrive in these challenging environments.

Zones 3 & 4

In these zones, gardeners should select plants that can withstand colder temperatures and shorter growing seasons. Hardiness zone 3 typically experiences cold winters with temperatures dropping as low as -40°F. This zone encompasses regions with a moderately short growing season and occasional frost occurrences. While hardiness zone 4 features cold winters with temperatures dropping to about -30°F. This zone experiences a longer growing season compared to Zone 3 but still faces occasional frost.

Recommended Plants

Zone 3

Zone 4

Zones 5 & 6

Hardiness zone 5 experiences cold winters with temperatures dropping to around -20°F and has relatively mild summers with occasional hot days. Hardiness Zone 6 features milder winters with temperatures rarely dropping below -10°F and warm summers.

These zones typically have a moderately longer growing season, with frost-free periods lasting from spring to fall. Incorporating a mix of perennials, shrubs, and trees can provide year-round interest and beauty in the garden.

Recommended Plants

Zones 5

Zones 6

Zones 7 & 8

These zones are characterized by relatively mild winters, making them suitable for a wide variety of plant species.

Zone 7 typically experiences winter lows between 0°-10°F and covers regions with mild winters and relatively long growing seasons. Zone 8 typically experiences winter lows between 10-20°F and covers regions with even milder winters and longer growing seasons compared to Zone 7.

Recommend Plants

Zones 9 & 10

These zones represent regions with warm climates and mild winters so gardeners are able to enjoy a wide variety of tropical and subtropical plants.. Zone 9 typically experiences winter lows between 20°- 30°F while zone 10 typically experiences winter lows between 30°-40°F. It's important to ensure that plants selected for these zones are well-suited to the local climate conditions, including humidity levels and soil types!

Recommended Plants

Zones 11 & 12

Zones 11 and 12 experience consistently warm to hot climates year-round with zone 11 temperatures rarely dropping below 40°F and zone 12 rarely dropping below 50°F.

In these zones, gardeners can cultivate a diverse array of tropical and subtropical plants that thrive in warm temperatures and high humidity. It's important to provide adequate irrigation and protection from strong winds and excessive sun exposure to ensure the health and vitality of plants in these zones.

Recommend Plants

Zone 11

Zone 13

Hardiness Zone 13 is not officially recognized by the USDA, as it represents areas with consistently warm and tropical climates where temperatures rarely, if ever, drop below freezing. These regions typically have average annual minimum temperatures above 60°F and are primarily found in equatorial regions and tropical islands where frost is virtually nonexistent.


No matter which USDA Plant Hardiness Zone you call home, there are abundant plant options available to create a thriving and beautiful garden.

By selecting plants that are well-suited to your specific climate conditions, you can cultivate a landscape that flourishes year-round, bringing joy and beauty to your outdoor space.

Words By The Sill

Empowering all people to be plant people—a collection of articles from The Sill’s team of plant experts across a variety of plant care topics to inspire confidence in the next generation of plant parents. Welcome to Plant Parenthood™.

Do Some Plant Shopping