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USDA Hardiness Planting Zones

To determine if a plant is sufficiently cold-hardy, the USDA created numbered zones indicating winter low temperatures; the lower the zone number the colder the winter.

  • If the coldest winter temperature expected in your area is -15°F (zone 5) then any plants rated zones 3-5 will survive the winter temperatures in your area.
  • If you live in very warm winter areas (zones 9-11) plants with zones 3-4 ratings are not recommended. The lack of freezing winter temperatures do not provide a time for winter dormancy (rest).

A Spectacular Show of Wildflowers at Orlando's Ritz Carlton

Ritz Carlton Orlando with Cosmos

The Ritz Carlton Orlando plants wildflowers in fall for Florida's winter bloom.

Our Mike Lizotte worked with Andy Ragsdale, Golf Course Superintendent at the Ritz-Carlton Grande Lakes in Orlando in the fall of 2006. Andy wanted good color from the flowers for his winter season. We always recommend planting in warm weather areas in fall, especially South Florida, since with no frost, wild annuals will put on a big show with winter bloom. Once the planting began to bloom, Andy was kind enough to send Mike some magnificent photos and information:

Dear Mike:
Check out the cosmos we had in December! (Large photo above showing hotel.) I had a walk path going right thru these flowers for the golfers that walked from Green #11 to the #12 Tee box. (You can't see the walk path in the photo; it's to the right of the picture.)
Included are a few more pictures of some other areas we have wildflowers that the golfers can enjoy. It’s awesome.

Thanks for your help,
….Andy Ragsdale, Golf Course Superintendent

Hotel Photo (top): The golf course at the Ritz Carlton Orlando bursts into bloom with a custom mixture of cosmos (Pink, White and Red Cosmos and Yellow and Orange Sulphur Cosmos ) during the winter season. Planted in October, these annuals are in full bloom in December. So while the rest of us were blanketed with snow and cold weather, golfers in Orlando enjoyed these seeded beds of wildflowers. Species seeded were Cosmos bipinnatus (pink, red, white) and Cosmos sulphureus (orange and yellow) .

Golfcart Driveway Photo: This shows the great bloom from Perennial Gaillardia along one of the golfcart driveways between #11 and #12 on the Ritz Carlton course. The Ritz Carlton planted our Southeastern mixture, and this species made the most color. These tough, perennial plants, since they’re prairie natives, do well in the hot Florida sun, and they’ll be there for years.

Fairway Photo: Beautiful beds of tall cosmos (C. bipinnatus) make a great show where the golfers can appreciate it from the 10th tee.

Uninvited Guest on the golf course: Wherever there’s water in Central Florida, the wildlife often includes alligators. He doesn’t bother the golfers or the wildflowers.

Official Wildflower of Florida: In the plantings, Andy included Florida’s Official Wildflower, Plains Coreopsis , C. tinctoria.

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