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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).

Great Color from Second-Year Flowers

After a big year of annual color, perennials put on their own show.


Member Diana Edwards, out in Michigan, was kind enough to share her beautiful photos.

When you plant any of our regional mixes, the annuals bloom immediately, making the first year a rainbow of color all summer long. Then as the second spring arrives, the same plantings light up with brand new species the gardener hasn’t enjoyed before. This is because annuals bloom quickly the first summer after planting, whether you plant in fall or spring. But it takes another full year to see the perennials in the mixture.

During their first year, perennials make only root growth and a few leaves. The blooms don’t appear until their second summer. After that, of course, they return year after year with larger and larger clumps and more and more flowers.

Ms. Edwards’ planting above shows early summer perennial color of Dame's Rocket (lavender), brilliant Blue Flax , Lanceleaf Coreopsis (yellow), and Siberian Wallflower (bright orange.)

The photos at the right show a beautiful bloom of Gloriosa Daisies along the driveway, (bottom) and in the center photo, Black-Eyed Susans , Globe Gillas (the globular purple flowers) and Fleabane Daisies.

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