USDA Plant Hardiness Zones Explained

USDA Plant Hardiness Zones Explained

I sometimes mention in my videos that I’m in zone 5, more specifically, zone 5b. But what does this actually mean? Today I’ll talk about USDA Plant Hardiness Zones.

If you shop on Amazon, you can support OYR simply by clicking this link (bookmark it too) before shopping:

USDA Plant Hardiness Zone interactive map:
Interactive map UK:

Links to agricultural extensions:

I’m passionate about an approach to organic gardening that is frugal, easy, sustainable, and works with nature to achieve amazing results. My videos will help you grow more healthy organic fruits and vegetables, while working less and saving money. I don’t push gardening products. I don’t hype bogus “garden secrets”. I provide evidence based strategies to help you grow a lot of food on a little land without spending much or working harder than you have to!


  1. Robert Kirby on November 6, 2021 at 10:31 am

    Greetings Patrick:
    Took some research but I have confirmed that my property is in USDA zone 6A to 6B! I do agree that this information is best applied to perennials and certainly there will be cool and warm spots within any garden. During our 1st summer in Nova Scotia I did little more than put some tomatoes in the ground and I was quite pleased with the results. Spring arrived today it seems with the last of our snow quickly disappearing. I was quite pleased to find not a lot of frost in the ground so I guess the deep snows did a good insulating job.

  2. tpikeporchlight on November 6, 2021 at 10:32 am

    I found the following article about hardiness interesting. It claims the hardiness for many plants is not thoroughly tested anymore because of how quickly they are developed and brought to market. It also highlights the difference between the Canadian and US system. The US system just considers minimum temperatures while the Canadian system takes into account the extended times minimum temperatures exist and prevailing snow cover. The Canadian scale is roughly -1 of the US scale as a quick conversion. I guess I will see some additional winter struggle in my 5a Canadian location (4a US).
    Absolutely amazing channel Patrick. I suspect there are many gardeners watching who are on either side of your hardiness zone. One thing that would be useful when talking about extended crops is what you think would be good candidates for experiments in even colder climes or highlight plants which seem on the edge where you are. Keep up the great work.

  3. Gung Ho on November 6, 2021 at 10:32 am

    I’d like to know why so many plant recommendations end at zone 9? I’m in zone 10b so it is very frustrating.

  4. Peter Sedesse on November 6, 2021 at 10:34 am

    I live in the tropics, one thing I never realized is how much a frozen winter helps farmers up north by killing pests. Yes, we can grow almost everything 12 months a year down here, but we lose a lot more crops from insects and fighting them organically is like a neverending war.. much more so than in the USA, where you occassionally have pressure and it is war πŸ™‚

  5. Gerry Clough on November 6, 2021 at 10:35 am

    So funny you say you prefer the temperate zone 9 to a more subtropical one .
    I’m in a zone 9 area East of Melbourne Australia which is classed as temperate but last year we got summer days over 115F
    Don’t think that happens in County Cork πŸ™‚ They also get lots more rain than we do – soooo green.
    Loved the South of Ireland when I visited decades ago.
    great video Patrick and I’m sure it will be very useful to many non American followers.

  6. allanpennington on November 6, 2021 at 10:36 am

    Interesting, I am in Zone 8 but at 400M above sea level so have to take into account frost dates carefully. I have invested in a poly-tunnel though. Is there a way to work out how many weeks this adds to before last frost for spring seed starting and weeks after first frost for lengthening the harvest of crops in the tunnel?

  7. MM G on November 6, 2021 at 10:37 am

    Oh what a relief Oscar turned up at the end. ❀️

  8. aparnaganapati on November 6, 2021 at 10:38 am

    Patrick, Thank you for this educational video. Good to see your little Black and White helper πŸ™‚

  9. ISALAI 17 on November 6, 2021 at 10:39 am

    I’m a new subscriber. The Money GPS told me about your channel. πŸ˜€

  10. mewendy1 on November 6, 2021 at 10:39 am

    Besides county extension agencies, I’ve found that most ag. colleges have info for the public. For me, that means A&M in college station, tx. Most all gardeners I know here make use of their month to month planting page.

  11. Shalbin James on November 6, 2021 at 10:40 am

    Hii Patrick!Its been a while since I last commented :)Your garden looks great as always!!In our tropical climate here in south India 20Β°C is cold .lol,We have a consistent temperature range of 25-35Β°C even 37Β°C days in March.Sometimes I wish to live in an area where Apples ,black berrys,blue berrys.. thrive.You are LUCKY in that sense :)) We grow bananas ,pineapple,mangoes,and jackfruits commercially.Anyway,Thanks for sharing the usda zones indepth.With warm r regards,Shalbin.

  12. GrownToCook on November 6, 2021 at 10:42 am

    Very well explained! I am often asked what zone our garden falls into and officially It’s zone 7. But because of the difference in day length and because our summers are relatively cool it is indeed quite different from zone 7 in the US

  13. Joe Bucci on November 6, 2021 at 10:42 am

    Patrick,, 95370, my zip covers over 100sq. miles and goes from 800′ to aro. 4200′ in elevation. The USDA rates it aΒ 8b – 9a, It’s not the cold I worry about, but it’s the heat. We often get a 50 degree change in the summer from 60 degrees at 5:00am to 110 degrees at 5:00pm. It gets brutal on the plants. I use drip irrigation and have the timers set for early watering before the heat, and the afternoon watering at 4:30pm just to cool the ground and roots. I work outside for a living and the last thing I want to do after an 10 hour day is to go into the garden when its 105*. Sorry that I got long winded on the topic but I need to say it πŸ™‚

  14. HMH on November 6, 2021 at 10:44 am

    Hi Oscar – and Patrick πŸ˜‰ – same here, I’d love a hot climate for what one can grow, but I really don’t do well in the heat so we have to do without those lovely fruit you mention and enjoy the ones we can grow instead.

  15. ReyReyloads on November 6, 2021 at 10:46 am

    Great video as usual.

  16. robert tucker on November 6, 2021 at 10:47 am

    Thanks Pat. I much prefer your usda system. Here in England, plants can fall into only 3 levels: hardy, half hardy and tender. Not very helpful and massive ranges in each. Great to see Oscar btw!

  17. Melanie Varela on November 6, 2021 at 10:50 am

    Thanks for the breakdown on the zones. I’m in 7a, and we have a pretty reliable growing season here. I’ve just taken a big risk and planted an avocado tree, (I grew it from a seed). It’s about 5 years old now. I put it against the front of the house that faces east. I built a portable greenhouse that I can put over it if the house wall temperature drops too low in winter. But it usually stays warm enough, even with the rare snow events we have. I plan on putting 2 others with it next year. Fingers crossed and attention to temps just may get me a small harvest of fruit in a few years.
    I also just harvested a dozen butternut squash from my sink hole volunteer plants. Still about 20 on the vine.

  18. chevy6299 on November 6, 2021 at 10:53 am

    Thanks for the info and Zones are just a starting point.

  19. tinkletorn on November 6, 2021 at 10:53 am

    Congrats – 100K – well done, and let those vids keep coming

  20. Gratitude Ranch on November 6, 2021 at 10:54 am

    How hot and humid is it in Chicago summers? I’m in WA stand the hottest we ever see is around 100. But usually it isn’t near that. Like mid 80’s and at night at least mid 50’s-60’s. I hate anything about mid 80’s myself. Sorry to say it, lol. I just can’t handle it.

  21. Przemyslaw Wisniewski on November 6, 2021 at 10:54 am

    Got a question about Oscar πŸ™‚ Is he helping with mice and chipmunks? My Cucumbers and celery roots are being devoured by them πŸ™ I’m also in Chicagoland area.

  22. Jackie Horsley on November 6, 2021 at 10:55 am

    thanks for all the good formation

  23. xweiliable on November 6, 2021 at 10:56 am

    Great videos. But maybe less constantly walking in and out of bush in your video. It was getting dizzying

  24. Neues vom Landei on November 6, 2021 at 10:56 am

    Finally I understand what you are talking about when you mention those zones! πŸ™‚ Thank you for this valuable piece of information. Say hello to Oscar πŸ˜€

  25. Fernando Romera on November 6, 2021 at 10:57 am

    Interesting organization. By the way, cool T-shirt

  26. ken wasiqi on November 6, 2021 at 10:57 am

    what about using a greenhouse in your zone 5 would a greenhouse make that area a zone 6-7? or 10?

  27. John Wakamatsu on November 6, 2021 at 10:57 am

    I agree that USDA Plant Hardiness Zones are very helpful for determining the type of plants one should grow. I also know that this information is the average minimum temperature and not the lowest temperature. I live in zone 11a, but have experienced a few days of hard frost that destroyed a number of tropical plants.

  28. Robert Kirby on November 6, 2021 at 10:57 am

    Our last frost date is around April 21; about the same as yours. The Gulf Stream which warms Ireland…..passes just close enough to Nova Scotia!

  29. StreetMachine18 on November 6, 2021 at 11:01 am

    Love how you move around the garden and change camera angles when you talk. It makes your videos stand out!

  30. Isaac Frerichs on November 6, 2021 at 11:03 am

    I’ve missed your videos. You’ve been quiet lately.

  31. Myst Void on November 6, 2021 at 11:04 am

    I am in zone 6a, (Norway) but there are many plants I see you grow that would fail here because of the summer temperature. I have a tiny garden, so no room for a greenhouse – but now I see one can get a small one to place on raised beds. Maybe next year my dream of fresh tomato will come true. Thanks for your videos, they are so inspiring. Oscar too πŸ™‚

  32. Dayna In Hawaii on November 6, 2021 at 11:05 am

    Thanks, this helped me understand my hardiness zone better (I think we’re 11a or 11b) Growing food here has many challenges, but at least we can grow year round!

  33. charlie zicolillo on November 6, 2021 at 11:05 am

    Hi Patrick the map has me in zone 7b. Iam in Brooklyn,NY.

  34. Walker_Hinlle Dolce on November 6, 2021 at 11:06 am

    Thanks for you upload this video very much!!! but could you pls tell us which we could find exactly information of PLANT hardiness zone?

  35. Isaac Frerichs on November 6, 2021 at 11:08 am

    Question: I remember watching an an earlier video of yours where I think you planted seeds in cups and placed the cups in a pan and watered the pan. Is this correct and if so, did you put holes in her bottom of the cups or on the sides? Is water able to pass under the cups if the wholes are directly on the bottom of the cups?

  36. Shaggy2061 on November 6, 2021 at 11:09 am

    So true that it does have shortcomings. Living in Phoenix area we have learned to almost ignore the USDA .We have to really manage our micro-climates more than anything to get great growth.. But still the biggest killer here is the winter cold we have several below freezing nights in the winter

  37. Pacific Permaculture on November 6, 2021 at 11:10 am

    Thanks for the info,great video ! !

  38. Telin Strong on November 6, 2021 at 11:11 am

    have you done a video on what plants can grow in unfinished compost if so will you please give me a link

  39. Huw Richards on November 6, 2021 at 11:12 am

    Great insight into the USDA plant hardiness zone! I think raising the issues about not including frost dates and summer temperatures etc was very important! by the way your garden looks like a mini food forest, amazing work!

  40. wolco003 on November 6, 2021 at 11:14 am

    10a Woot Woot! Expensive soil!

  41. Monica Valentine on November 6, 2021 at 11:17 am

    A cat? Instant subscription πŸ˜‚ for real wanna walk around this garden though…
    also, I’ve read into some permaculture literature & some follow β€˜biological time/biotime ’ for their local regions to determine crop planting times, kind of a cool idea I’ve been trying to start practicing!

  42. Gordon Booth on November 6, 2021 at 11:20 am

    Eat Local! Close as you can get….. even wear’s wisdom. Thanks

  43. Little Cougar on November 6, 2021 at 11:21 am

    Great video and your "forest" is looking extremely wonderful. Also, thank you for the cameo with Oscar.

  44. SurfinScientist on November 6, 2021 at 11:21 am

    Again a well-researched video. Compliments!

    BTW, you have reached 100K subscribers, haven’t you? Congrats!

  45. Jenex05 on November 6, 2021 at 11:22 am

    I’m the opposite to you, I don’t do well in the cold. July is our coldest month in sub tropical queensland, Australia but this year we are experiencing a couple of weeks of 24 degrees C, the hottest weather we have had in winter for 24 years. Been beautiful days but cold nights and morning, make you wonder, how hot is summer going to be this year. Was very hot last year, not worth planting much, plants drop their flowers when it too hot.

  46. omfug on November 6, 2021 at 11:25 am

    100K viewers–>congrats Patrick!

  47. Tina Hart on November 6, 2021 at 11:26 am

    Thank you Patrick another great video, that must have been quite a bit of work to do all that. I did not know there was a chart for U.K. Zones so was really interested to see that. A great video! Well done πŸ˜ŽπŸŒ±πŸ‘πŸ»

  48. ncooty on November 6, 2021 at 11:27 am

    You can also access global agro-ecological zone maps from

  49. Barry Weigle on November 6, 2021 at 11:29 am

    Perfect info
    Thank You

  50. David Sharrow on November 6, 2021 at 11:30 am

    Great information. One other factor that affects production for perennial fruits is the number of chill hours. A lot of fruits that grow in your zone won’t fruit in higher zones due to a lack of hours under 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

Leave a Comment