As with anywhere else in the world, Maryland possesses its own unique climate and weather conditions. The same can be said for Florida, Kansas, or Washington. Each area has a climate unique to itself, where various plant varieties grow better or worse. Tropical flowers grown for the year-round heat of Florida, would not do so well if planted in our local Maryland area. Knowing this, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has made a point to identify various climate zones, identifying different areas of the country as possessing unique climate characteristics. This allows for farmers, gardeners, or landscapers to get a better understanding of what crops or plants do well in their area. However, to the average landscaping client, these planting zones may feel foreign, and hard to understand. We want to shed some light on the topic, and answer a common question, “Why are Maryland planting zones important?”

Hardiness planting zones chart

Plant Hardiness Zones: What are they?

One of the most important metrics that the USDA provides publicly are maps of the United States, with specific plant hardiness zones that encompass regions of the country. This map was originally created in 1960, with routine updates up until the most recent version was published in 2012. Each individual state can have multiple hardiness zones, as the map is zoned based upon the lowest the temperature should reach in a given area. These zones often encompass multiple states, and some states have up to four, like Florida. Zones are divided into ten-degree segments, plus or minus the zones adjacent. The USDA website offers these maps in every size from national, down to regional maps where you can view the specifics of your area. Maps are paired with an associated key, indicating the zone, and the temperatures reached in that area. The link to view all available maps can be found here, with Maryland encompassed in the “North East” regional map.

Benefits of Utilizing Maryland Planting Zones

With the great climate information provided by the USDA plant hardiness zones, you can make more informed decisions on what to plant. We all know that different species of plants do better in different climates, with certain varieties performing better in the hot, or cold. Many places where plants can be purchased, at nurseries or online, will provide an ideal zone for the plant to thrive, as well as zones where the plant will survive. Just an extra piece of data when making planting decisions, do not overlook it, as it can save you time and money selecting the right plant material.

Maryland Planting Zone: What You Need to Know

The planting zone in Maryland ranges from 5b to 8a. In other words, this is saying that the lowest temperatures range from -15 degrees Fahrenheit to 15 degrees Fahrenheit. The one thing that the planting zones do not consider is the highest temperatures, although they are slightly less relevant. Around the DC area, the specific hardiness zone is 7a, which means the coldest temperatures get, is from 0 degrees Fahrenheit to 5 degrees Fahrenheit. Some plants that grow very well in zone 7 include marigolds, cosmos, and daisies. Now that you know the planting zone of your local area, you can make informed choices as you plant this year.


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