What is my plant hardiness zone? USDA climate plant growing zone map – Know your gardening zone

Will your plant flourish? Climate growing zone maps were created as a tool to help gardeners grow and propagate a successful garden. Climate zones are used as a guideline to determine the hardiness and survivability of various plants and trees in a geographic area. Making your plant selection will be easier by knowing the growing zone for your location. When I mention hardiness I mean winter hardiness zone;  determined by the plant’s ability to survive over the winter which is critical to the plants adaption to its environment.

For example, you would not want to put something in your garden that cannot handle hotter temperatures if you are located in one of the warmer climate zones. Conversely,  if you live in a very cold zone, it would not make sense to try to plant something in your garden that is suited for a hotter climate.  If you want a shrub, perennial, or tree to survive and grow year after year, the plant must tolerate year-round conditions in your area, such as the lowest and highest temperatures and the amount and distribution of rainfall.

climate plant growing USDA zone

Today, the USDA map is the standard measure of plant hardiness throughout most of the U.S.  The climate zones are based on the average annual minimum winter temperature, divided into 10-degree F zones. Plants differ in their ability to survive frost, and their responses vary from immediate death to sustained performance.  A plant’s placement within the landscape, how they are planted and their overall size and health greatly influences a plant’s satisfactory adaptability.  Every gardening zone has temperature differences, differing amounts of daily sunlight and rainfall.  pH is the measure of acidity or alkalinity of the soil. The ability of a plant’s roots to take up water and nutrients is dependent up the pH of the soil. All plants require a medium pH in the range of 10 to 14 to keep essential nutrients in balance.  All of these components affect a plant’s ability to thrive in its environment.

Plant Hardiness Zones

The USDA divides North America into 11 hardiness zones, each of which represents an area of winter plant hardiness. Zone 1 is the coldest, found in Canada and the far northern U.S.; zone 11 is the warmest, a tropical area that is essentially frost-free and found only in Hawaii and southernmost Florida. The temperatures listed indicate the average annual minimum temperatures — the lowest temperatures that can be expected each year.

USDA Hardiness Planting Climate Gardening Growing Zones and average annual minimum temperature

  • Climate Hardiness Growing Zone 1
  • Below -50 F (-45.6 C) ,  example city – Fairbanks, Alaska
  • Climate Hardiness Growing Zone 2
  • -50 to -40 F (-45.6 to -40 C) , example city – Prudhoe Bay, Alaska
  • Climate Hardiness Growing Zone 3
  • -40 to -30 F (-40 to -34.5 C) , example city – Tomahawk, Wisconsin
  • Climate Hardiness Growing Zone 4
  • -30 to -20 F (-43.5 to -28.9 C)  , example city – Northwood, Iowa
  • Climate Hardiness Growing Zone 5
  • -20 to -10 F (-28.9 to -23.3 C) , example city – Mansfield, Pennsylvania
  • Climate Hardiness Growing Zone 6
  • -10 to 0 F (-23.3 to -17.8 C) , example city – St. Louis, Missouri
  • Climate Hardiness Growing Zone 7
  • 0 to 10 F (-17.8 to -12.3 C) , example city – Griffin, Georgia
  • Climate Hardiness Growing Zone 8
  • 10 to 20 F (-12.3 to -6.6 C) , example city – Austin, Texas
  • Climate Hardiness Growing Zone 9
  • 20 to 30 F (-6.6 to -1.1 C) , example city – Phoenix and Tucson, Arizona
  • Climate Hardiness Growing Zone 10
  • 30 to 40 F (-1.1 to 4.4 C) , example city – Miami, Florida
  • Climate Hardiness Growing Zone 11
  • 40 F and above (4 C and above) , example city – Honolulu, Hawaii – Mazatlan, Mexico

Growing Zones USDA Hardiness Zone Map has its flaws.

Some flaws of the climate zones in the West are the many factors beside winter lows, such as elevation and precipitation. In the West, weather comes in from the Pacific Ocean and gradually becomes less humid and drier as it moves over and around the mountain ranges. For example, the weather and plants in low elevation, coastal Seattle are much different than in high elevation, inland Tucson, Arizona, even though they are in the same growing zone 8.

TIDBIT: The USDA Hardiness Zone map was developed under the direction of Henry T. Skinner, the second director of the U.S. National Arboretum. Mr. Skinner worked in cooperation with the American Horticultural Society and horticultural scientist throughout the United States to incorporate pertinent horticultural and meteorological information into the map.

The Texas Ranger Sage shrub – bushes with purple or white flowers

What is that blooming sage shrub or plant that is overflowing with purple flowers in the AZ desert? Humidity from Monsoon season brings a purple explosion for the Arizona Desert. The Texas Sage, Texas Ranger Plants are in full bloom! Take a look at the gorgeous purple sage pictures.

Picture of The Texas Ranger Plant. In Arizona it is commonly called Purple Texas Sage.

One of the best drought tolerant, heat resistant desert plants is the Purple Texas Sage bush / shrub (Texas Ranger Plant). Texas Sage is mostly evergreen (meaning it keeps its leaves), drought resistant, perennial, cold resistant, hard to kill and fits well in a low maintenance xeriscape garden.  These blooming desert plants thrive in the hot, humid monsoon season of Arizona.

Flowering Texas Ranger Shrub (Texas Sage Bush) in our yard. Gorgeous Purple!

Because the showy purple flower display coincides with high humidity, Texas Purple Sage is sometimes nicknamed a barometer plant.

Tucson bushes with purple flowers
Purple flowering bushes in the desert

Mostly you will hear this Arizona desert plant referred to as Texas Sage.  Actually it is not a true sage.  Texas Ranger Shrubs are related to penstemons and snap dragons.  This desert bush is native to Mexico and Texas.

Chihuahuan SageLeucophyllum laevigatum

The picture above is a variety of desert Sage bushes, called Chihuahuan Sage, Leucophyllum laevigatum. All of our sage bushes are blooming with brilliant purple flowers and lots of bees. These desert bushes are perfect for bees.

Arizona bush with purple flowers
Purple Sage Shrub Plant

I could even say that the Texas Ranger Shrub is the best plant to attract bees!  We have so many bees in our purple shrubs that you can hear the buzzing from across the yard. Texas Ranger plants and all the different varieties of sage would be a great benefit to bee hives.

Purple Sage bush, Chihuahuan Sage

Our Chihuahuan Sage, more commonly called Texas Purple Sage, is along the back of our yard where it receives full sun.  The hotter it gets the more this drought tolerant flowering shrub loves it!

The Chihuahuan variety of sage has an informal, relaxed growth habit. You can see in the pictures that I missed this seasons pruning. The best time to prune your Sage bush is in the spring because the summer desert heat brings a flush of new growth.

Follow a regular watering schedule during the first growing season. Once your Arizona Desert bush establishes a deep root system you can reduce the water.  Feed your Texas Sage with a general purpose fertilizer before the new growth in spring.

Our Purple Sage Bush alongside a Red Fairy Duster blooming desert plant

It is amazing to wake up and see your desert yard explode with purple flowers and the loud symphony of buzzing bees.  One of the best parts of Monsoon season is the blooming desert plants with our Chihuahuan Sage, Texas Purple Sage, Texas Ranger Plant, whatever you choose to call it, being at the top of our favorites list.

purple sage
Purple Texas Ranger Plant

To grow your sage bush – plant them in full sun with lots of room to grow.  If you prune your Purple Sage, do it in the spring.  They prefer well-drained soils and will rot if given too much water.  There are many different varieties of Texas Ranger Plants (Leucophyllum frutescens), Texas Sage, Sage bushes. Your desert landscaping will look beautiful with these fragrant lavender flowers.

Texas Ranger plant
purple flowering shrubs

In the photo below I included a picture of our Red Fairy Duster plant. Fairy Duster, Calliandra,  is an evergreen, desert shrub that I recommend for people who want plants that are perennial (you need to plant them only once), low maintenance, hardy, drought tolerant, and provides lovely color next to your sage bush.

White Cloud Texas Tanger Plant
White flowering Texas Sage bush
Purple Sage and Fairy Duster, blooming Arizona Desert plants

Once these desert plants bloom, get your camera and take pictures. The sage flowers do not last long especially if an AZ monsoon rain comes.

Phoenix desert plants purple
Texas Sage
Texas Ranger Shrub
Purple flowering sage bush