top of page

New USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map 2023 Released: What Gardeners Need to Know!

Hey, green thumbs! If you're as obsessed with your garden as I am, you're probably itching to know about the latest updates in the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map for 2023 and what exact it all means for you in your unique growing zone. Well, grab your gardening gloves because we're about to dig into the changes and what they mean for your beloved plants!

What's the Buzz About?

The USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map is like a guide of sorts for plants, telling you where they're likely to thrive based on climate conditions. With changing climate patterns, this map gets a facelift every few years - around 30 to be exact -, and 2023 is no exception. The map has a rich history, serving as a crucial tool for gardeners since its inception. First developed in 1960, it underwent significant changes over the years. Initially, it used a simple numerical system, but in its 1990 edition, it introduced color-coded zones, making it more user-friendly. In 2012, the map took a leap into the digital age, becoming GIS-based for the first time, providing a more accurate and dynamic representation of plant hardiness across the United States[1]. Over the years, the map has evolved to reflect shifts in temperature patterns, keeping pace with the impact of climate change on plant survival and growth[3]. It remains an essential resource for gardeners, guiding them in selecting plants suitable for their specific geographic locations.

Check out the new map HERE, and see historical maps HERE.

So, What's Changed?

First, let's get something straight right out of the gate: While the maps have been updated - these climate shifts and changing weather patterns have been occurring for the last 30 years. This isn't a sudden massive shift whereby the USDA has now created some magical weather pattern or changed the climate in your area (we've done that as a species ourselves). So don't expect to suddenly be able to grow Lipstick palms in Ontario, or Crotons in North Dakota.

The zones have shifted. Some areas much more than others it seems. Some areas are a bit warmer, while others are cooling down generally speaking. These changes can be subtle but have a big impact on your gardening success, as well as what you might trial in your own garden. Your favorite plant that used to be a zone 6 might now be more at home in your zone 7.

Why does this matter? Well, knowing your zone helps you choose plants that can handle your local climate. It's like matchmaking for your garden – ensuring your flora are compatible with the temperature dance in your area. Just remember, that while your growing zone may have shifted, temperature duration can be equally if not more impactful than minimum temperature. In other words, 10 hours at 0F (-17C) might be more detrimental to a marginal plant, than say a quick dip for an hour before sunrise.

FAQ Time!

Q: Why do the zones change?

A: Climate change is real folks, we know that much. As temperatures shift, zones need to adjust to reflect the new normal. It's like updating your wardrobe for the changing seasons, except you're 30 years behind.

Q: How does this affect my garden?

A: If your zone has shifted, you might need to rethink your plant choices. Some plants might struggle in the warmer or cooler conditions, so it's crucial to adapt your garden strategy. It could also open up a possibility to experiment, and try a plant you've always wanted to in your new growing zone.

Q: Can I still grow my favorites?

A: Most likely, yes! Just be mindful of your new zone's characteristics and choose varieties that thrive in those conditions. Your garden might get an exciting makeover! Some plants that have been noticeably struggling may need to leave, while new - more adapted plants might need to be trialed. This change shouldn't impact the WAY we garden. Go have fun! Check out our article about organic gardening here.

Q: When should I start planting?

A: Timing is everything. Check the recommended planting times for your new zone to give your plants the best shot at a happy life. Chances are the timing may not have changed significantly, but give it read none-the-less!

Q: Any other tips for adapting to the changes?

A: Stay connected with local gardening communities. Try to do your part to combat climate change, and adapt your lifestyle accordingly. They're a goldmine of knowledge, especially when it comes to navigating the nitty-gritty of zone adjustments, and climate shift. Seek, and ye' shall see... we live in the digital age where nearly any information you need is at your literal fingertips.

The Bottom Line

As gardeners, we're the custodians of our own little green paradises. Understanding and adapting to these zone changes is our way of ensuring our plants not only survive but thrive in our environment. So, before you plunge into this year's gardening adventures, take a moment to explore the updated USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map. This winter is a great time while things slumber to plan out changes, consider new possible plantings, or make those final decisions on what to pull out. Check out gardening journals here on AMAZON. There are tons to choose from.

In the grand scheme of things, these changes are a reminder that our world is dynamic, and so is our responsibility to nurture it. As we embrace the shifts in our gardening landscape, we're not just growing plants; we're growing with them.

Happy gardening, fellow plant enthusiasts! May your blooms be bountiful and your vegetables be vibrant. Keep growing south!

🌐 Sources



Check out our Gardening Trifecta

3 must have products for the organic garden


Let the posts
come to you.

Thanks for submitting!

  • Instagram
  • Pinterest
bottom of page