Wednesday, February 1, 2012

New USDA Zone Hardiness Map

USDA 2012 Hardiness Zone Map for Massachusetts
The USDA's 2012 Updated Zone Hardiness Map has been released.   This is the first major update to the hardiness map since 1990 and according to this article  in Horticulture Magazine, a "majority" of zones are now a half zone warmer.

The new hardiness zone designations represent the results of an analysis of 30 years of data and make a compelling statement about global "warming".  So does today's weather:  near 50 degrees F, overcast, with occasional showers.

Our zone has remained the same, which means we still probably can't grow crape myrtle <sigh> unless, of course, we plan to bring it in for the winter to join our Meyer lemon and honey fig in Steve's office or someone develops a hardier cultivar that can stand up to New England winters.

You can find the newest version of the USDA map here .  This only applies to US zones. For international readers, has a listing of links to World Hardiness Zones here.  

Cathy and Steve are still in USDA Zone 6b, Sunset zone 34, anxiously waiting for spring to arrive on the seacoast, north of Boston, MA, USA


  1. Our zone remained the same as well, but I was so surprised to see how much has changed. It is interesting that the map just happened to change this year when we are having such a warm winter.

  2. We were always on the borderline but are well into zone 5 now... it really doesn't come as a surprise as we haven't seen minus 30 in over 30 years! Larry

  3. I went up a half zone here which makes sense...I also agree it is strange that in this weird weather year we are getting the new zone map...glad to see you guys are back..I was just thinking of you yesterday...hope all is well!!

  4. What intrigued me was that the change is based on 30 years of data - - not just recent trends, which have definitely been unusual here as well.

    Sorry we've been absent from the blog and Blotanical -- we've had a trying few months but things are getting better. ;)

    1. so happy to hear things are OK. I have not been on Blotanical in months due to work and life but have subscribed to blogs to keep up and that is still hard...take care of yourself :)

  5. We remained the same in my area, but surrounding us, certain areas did rise. But we are not having the deep freezes as much anymore. I have been growing zone 7 plants here for quite awhile, but that has more to do with the micro-climate I created, than a warming trend here. It definitely has been getting warmer as every hot summer and mild wither goes by.

  6. Good to see you back, Scotland is not big enough to be concerned with zones. Winter temp is milder on the coast but cooler than inland in the Summer. Last Winter was one of the coldest on record with this one being one of the mildest. I know about the evidence for global warming but it seems to be showing itself in a strange manner in Scotland.

  7. Donna and Alistair, we experience a unique microclimate here as well, and so what we experience for weather is often quite different than what is seen in the rest of the region.

    Alistair, my guess is that regardless of what is happening "globally", you are experiencing the same thing we are -- we are at the mercy of the prevailing jet streams and how they interact with each other.

    That hit close to home this week when I read about a boat that capsized off the coast not far from here a few years ago washed up on the shore in Scotland!

  8. You'd wait a long time for spring, if you were on this side of the pond - we are expecting to be snowed in by the end of the weekend. Meanwhile my snowdrops are all out, as are my cyclamen. My snowflakes are about 12" high already with heads forming on them - they will be unhappy next week. But yes, we are getting warmer earlier over here too.

  9. I am right in the middle of several different lines, each with different zones, so I try to buy plants that will live in all of them! Unless I just can't resist, of course! ;)

  10. Our zone changed from 5a to 5b! Was glad to see this post... had missed you!

  11. Cathy and Steve,

    My zone has remained the same. Nice to hear from you again after your blogging break, which we all need to take at times.

  12. Mine changed from 5B to 6a, but I'm right on the edge. No major changes for me, but it was interesting to see how zones changed across the nation.


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