How to Find Out if Your USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Changed

Guess what? You may be in a different planting zone now and not know it.

With little fanfare and scarcely a blip in the news, the USDA recently updated their hardiness zone map. You can visit their website to check if the changes affect you.

Credit: USDA official website

The last time the USDA updated was in 1990.

What does it mean? Well, climate change, for starters.

You may be able to grow more plants than you realized (or have to give up on rhubarb and gooseberries for good). It also means some of your gardening books may have been rendered out-of-date. For me, it means my garden is now based in zone 8a instead of zone 7b.

Because of this, I had to make some slight corrections to my recent hardy citrus post. McKenzie Farms also changed to zone 8a, but considering they have been growing citrus for 20 years, the data still applies to growers attempting citrus in zone 7 and up.

Eliza Lord

I'm a Greenville, SC native (the Appalachian foothills) who wears the hats of Greenville Master Gardener & Upstate Master Naturalist. I love to write about food and sustainability.

7 thoughts on “How to Find Out if Your USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Changed”

  1. Donna - February 29, 2012 6:08 pm

    I agree, climate change. We have not changed, but the zone expanded the range.
    Donna´s last blog post ..Bark in the Park

    Reply
    1. Sustainahillbilly
      Twitter: appalachianfeet
      - March 2, 2012 3:10 pm

      I felt bad when I told my mom, she was so shocked. I’m not the least reluctant to take advantage of what I can grow in a warmer zone… but I’d rather know it was for a natural reason. I’m worried this means I’ll be in zone 9 within the next 30 years, too!
      Sustainahillbilly´s last blog post ..How to Build an Inexpensive Cold Frame in Under 30 Minutes With No Tools

      Reply
  2. Curbstone Valley Farm - February 29, 2012 7:32 pm

    We have so many microclimates in the mountains here that I tend to follow the Sunset Western Garden zones, rather than USDA. It looks like our zone didn’t change with USDA this time, although this winter it feels like we’re living a lot farther south, as it’s been unusually warm and dry!
    Curbstone Valley Farm´s last blog post ..The Goat Shed – Part III

    Reply
    1. Sustainahillbilly
      Twitter: appalachianfeet
      - March 2, 2012 3:12 pm

      That does look like a great resource for the west coast. I’m putting the link here in case anyone needs it:; http://www.sunset.com/garden/climate-zones/

      Reply
  3. PlantPostings
    Twitter: plantpostings
    - March 1, 2012 9:49 pm

    We didn’t change, but we’re closer to zone 5b now. I’ve always had spots in the garden where I could stretch the zone a bit. But mostly, I’m firmly planted in zone 5.

    Reply
    1. Sustainahillbilly
      Twitter: appalachianfeet
      - March 2, 2012 3:13 pm

      Glad to hear the change didn’t affect everyone! It’s hard to learn new garden rules once you’ve been located in the same place a while.
      Sustainahillbilly´s last blog post ..How to Build an Inexpensive Cold Frame in Under 30 Minutes With No Tools

      Reply
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