- February 1, 2019
- Ideas & Trends
It’s often said that the key to successful, sustainable plants is putting the right plant in the right place. But first, you need to know your place. That begins by learning your hardiness zone.
The USDA Hardiness Zome system divides the US into 13 plant hardiness zones—including Alaska, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico—based on the average annual extreme minimum temperature of a region. It’s a rough guide to helping gardeners and landscape professionals choose plants that will grow well in their area.
Much of Colorado falls into zones 4-6, though Colorado’s fruit-growing area near Grand Junction can cross into zone 7.
These numbers should inform your choices when buying seeds or plants for your landscape. You won’t have too much success with a bougainvillea rated for zone 10, so stick to your zone for best success.
Keep in mind that hardiness zone labels can cause some confusion in the Rocky Mountain region. A plant sold as a “perennial” in a big chain store may grow as a perennial in its home zone, but in Colorado they would be an annual. Examples include chrysanthemums and verbena.
Don’t forget about other factors. Plant health depends on more than just temperature. Soil quality, sun, wind, and drainage can all affect the success of a plant—even if it is labeled for your zone. Keep these variations in mind, and you’ll set yourself and your garden up for success in the growing season.
Of course, consulting with a landscape professional can help you make sense of zones and find the right plants. At Camelot Design we design with a focus on sustainability: we want your plants, trees, shrubs, and flowers to not just ‘survive’ in Colorado, but to thrive in ways that are environmentally aware in every respect.
I design intentionally for zone, growing conditions, and water requirements, and carefully select growing materials that are well-suited to Colorado’s often harsh growing conditions.