Hardiness Zone 5 Gardens
Your garden's success is, in large part, based on planting suitable crops for your climate. Here, we'll focus on Zone 5 plantings. Some major US cities that fall in USDA Zone 5 are Chicago, Illinois, Cleveland, Ohio, Detroit, Michigan, Minneapolis, Minnesota, Omaha, Nebraska, Portland, Maine and Providence, Rhode Island. Below, there are resources to help you find your specific USDA zone and alternatives to that system.
USDA Hardiness Zone 5
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) defined geographical zones of Canada, the US and Mexico in which a specific category of plants is capable of growing, as defined by its ability to withstand the average annual minimum temperatures of the zone.
This system leaves out other important climactic data such as high summer temperatures, humidity, soil moisture and snow cover insulation.
USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map
· USDA Hardiness Zone Finder by zip code
· USDA Hardiness Zone Maps of individual states
Extend the Gardening Season
Putting up cold frames a wooden frame covered with glass brings the zone up 1.5. Putting up a hoop house, a simple plastic structure that uses passive solar energy (as opposed to a greenhouse, which is heated), brings it up another 1.5
This animation illustrates the general warming that has occurred from 1990 to 2006. Click the play button to see how the hardiness zones have changed.
Arbor Day Foundation Hardiness Zones
The Plant Hardiness Zones divide the United States and Canada into 11 areas based on a 10 degree Fahrenheit difference in the average annual minimum temperature. (The United States falls within Zones 2 through 10). For example, the lowest average temperature in Zone 2 is -50 to -40 degrees Fahrenheit, while the minimum average temperature in zone 10 is +30 to +40 degrees Fahrenheit. See more.
Suggested hardiness zones have been indicated for all trees and perennials available online from the Foundation. If a range of zones, for example, zones 4-9, is indicated, the tree or perennial is known to be hardy in zones 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9. Suitable hardiness means a plant can be expected to grow in the zone's temperature extremes, as determined by the lowest average annual temperature.
Keep in mind that local variations such as moisture, soil, winds, and other conditions might affect the viability of individual plants.
You may want to ask a local professional arborist or nursery about which trees to plant in your community.
· ADF Hardiness Zone Finder by zip code
· Become an ADF Member and get 10 free trees
US Sunset Climate Zones
A plant's performance is governed by the total climate: length of growing season, timing and amount of rainfall, winter lows, summer highs, wind, and humidity.
Sunset's climate zone maps take all these factors into account, unlike the familiar hardiness zone maps devised by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which divides most of North America into zones based strictly on winter lows.
The U.S.D.A. maps tell you only where a plant may survive the winter; our climate zone maps let you see where that plant will thrive year-round.
Sunset's 45 Climate Zones consider temperature as well as other important factors:
Generally, the farther an area is from the equator, the longer and colder are its winters. Closer to the poles, the number of daylight hours increases in summer and decreases in winter.
Gardens high above sea level get longer and colder winters, often with intense sunlight, and lower night temperatures all year.
- Ocean influence
Weather that blows in off the oceans and the Great Lakes tends to be mild and laden with moisture in the cool season.
- Continental air influence
The North American continent generates its own weather, which - compared with coastal climates - is colder in winter, hotter in summer, and more likely to get precipitation any time of year. The farther inland you live, the stronger this continental influence. Wind also becomes a major factor in open interior climates.
- Mountains, hills, and valleys
In the West, the Coast Ranges take some marine influence out of the air that passes eastward over them. The Sierra-Cascades and Southern California's interior mountains further weaken marine influence.
From the Rocky Mountains to the Appalachians, continental and arctic air dominate, with moist air from the Gulf pushing north during the warm season.
During winter, Arctic outbreaks are most intense between the Rockies and the Appalachians. Both ranges act as barriers that limit the influence of the cold beyond them.
Local terrain can sharply modify the climate within any zone. South-facing slopes get more solar heat than flat land and north-facing slopes. Slope also affects airflow: warm air rises, cold air sinks.
Because hillsides are never as cold in winter as the hilltops above them or the ground below them, they're called thermal belts. Lowland areas into which cold air flows are called cold-air basins.
Microclimates also exist within every garden. All else being equal, garden beds on the south side of an east-west wall, for example, will be much warmer than garden beds on the north side of the same wall.
Indicator Plant Examples - Using USDA data
Acer palmatum (Japanese maple)
Cornus florida (flowering dogwood)
Cotoneaster microphyllus (small-leaf cotoneaster)
Deutzia gracilis (slender deutzia)
Euonymus fortunei (winter-creeper)
Rosa multiflora (multiflora rose)
Chives, Lovage, Tansy, Most Mints, Bee Balms, Catnip, All Buddelia davidiis, Calamintha, Lavandula angustifolias and Lavandula x intermedias, Rue, All Salvia officinalis, Winter Savory, Costmary, Feverfew, Cat Thyme, French Tarragon, Wormwood, Southernwood, Bronze Fennel. Ground Cover Thymes: Lavender, Lemon Frost, Caraway, Lime and Mint, Upright Thymes: Pennsylvania Dutch Tea Thyme, Italian Oregano Thyme, Orange Balsam Thyme, Silver, Lemon and English Thymes.
Aster - Daisy like perennials in shades of pink and purple - fast growing - full sun - blooms early fall
Bee Balm - Attracts butterflies, hummingbirds and bees - partial sun - blooms July-August
Black Eyed Susan - Easy to grow - full sun - blooms July - September
Clematis - Prefers heavy mulch - full sun - blooms June- September
Cone Flower - The famous Echinacea purpurea that is used as a herbal remedy - attracts butterflies and bees and grows in partial sun - blooms July - October
Geranium - Cut back in early summer for repeat bloom time in fall - full sun with partial afternoon shade - blooms in fall.
Hibiscus - Tropical looking large blooms - plant in full sun
Iris - Tons of colors and varieties on this tall flower that likes full sun and blooms in late spring - summer.
Peony - Big Bushy blooms with a subtle scent - partial sun - bloom in mid spring.
Sedum - Hardy perennial plant attracts butterflies and bees - partial sun - blooms August - September
Verbena - Clumps of colorful flowers - it's cascading trails are perfect for planters and baskets - full sun - can bloom from spring to frost if dead flowers are trimmed. Attract butterflies.
Vegetable Planting and Harvesting Calendar - Zone 5
Tim's Square Foot Garden Planting Calendar
Note: The seeds that are started indoors are allowed to germinate indoors and then moved immediately out to the cold frame.
Mid to late February:
- Put together cold frame and place it onto an area of the garden where warm weather crops will be grown. This will allow time for all seedlings to fully mature in the cold frame before removal.
Last week in February or first week in March:
- Start seeds of lettuce indoors. Exact date will vary depending on the weather.
- When weather permits, empty both compost bins and place about a 1 to 2 inch layer of compost over all garden beds.
First or second week of March:
- Start seeds of celery, cabbage, broccoli, and brussel sprouts indoors.
Third week in March:
- Start seeds of peppers, and tomatoes indoors.
First week in April:
- Onion seedlings/slips arrive via mail and are planted directly out into the garden.
- Transplant lettuce seedlings out into the garden under hoop house if the seedlings are big enough. They are usually big enough when they just start to get their second set of true leaves.
Second week in April:
- Continue to transplant lettuce seedlings out into the garden under the hoop when they get big enough.
- Plant pea seeds directly out into the garden
Third week in April:
- Transplant broccoli, cabbage, and brussel sprout seedlings out into the garden.
- Start seeds of cucumbers in cold frame.
- Plant certified seed potatoes out into the garden.
Fourth week in April:
- Transplant tomato and pepper seedlings into bigger pots.
- Start more heat tolerant lettuce seeds indoors like butter head and romaine varieties.
First Week in May:
- Start harvesting a few of the small leaves on your early planted lettuce.
- Start harvesting green onions, if large enough. Harvest about half of the topsetting onions for green onions before the plants get too big.
- Start a few more heat tolerant lettuce seed varieties outside on the covered back porch.
- Transplant celery seedlings out into the garden
- Plant corn seeds directly out into the garden.
Second week in May:
- Take apart cold frame and put away until next spring.
- Transplant pepper, tomato, and cucumber seedlings out into the garden.
- Plant seeds of bush green beans and pole lima beans directly out into the garden.
Wow, take a break and start harvesting all of those fresh vegetables!!
Third or fourth week in June:
- Pull up the garden peas and replant with bush green beans.
First week in July:
- Start seeds of fall broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower on covered back porch.
- Not much else to do in the garden so I am Going Fishing!!
Second week in July:
- Pull up cucumber vines. By this time the cucumbers are finished producing, for the most part. This seems to help out the pepper plants that are growing in close proximately.
Third week in July:
- If the majority of the onion plant tops have fallen over, pull them up and clip the tops off and let them dry/cure for about 10 days on screens over the garden plot where they were grown.
- Pull up walking/egyptian top setting onions and clip tops and/or bottom bulbs and allow to dry until October.
First week in August:
- Plant bush green beans seeds directly into the garden where the spring planted onions grew.
- Transplant out into the garden the broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower seedlings. Make sure to keep these seedlings well
- Plant carrot seeds directly out into the garden. Keep seed bed shaded, if possible, and well watered.
Second or third week in August:
- Plant bush green bean seeds into corn plot when corn is finished.
- Start seeds of fall lettuce on the covered back porch
Take a break!! Tomato and pepper plants should be producing a nice harvest about now!! Enjoy the lazy late summer afternoons. You will find me fishing a lot this time of year.
First or second week in September:
- Transplant lettuce seedlings out into the garden. Make sure to keep these seedlings well watered!!
Month of October:
- Keep a row cover handy to keep frost off of late planted beans.
- Keep the carrot and lettuce plots covered with hoops to keep them growing throughout the fall. Harvest the lettuce as needed.
- As heavy frost approaches, cover broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower plants. This keeps the plants actively growing until harvest.
- Around the third or fourth week in October, pull up the pepper plants and replant the area with topsetting onion tops that have been drying since late July. New green growth should be visible from these onions in about 2 to 3 weeks.
Month of November:
- Cover all unused garden areas with 2 to 3 inches of shredded tree leaves.
- After first hard freeze, cover topsetting onions with a thin layer of shredded tree leaves.
- Start harvesting carrots when they mature. Mulch the carrot bed with a 1-inch layer of shredded tree leaves.
Month of December:
- Finish harvesting lettuce. If the weather stays relatively warm, expect to harvest lettuce nearly all the way through December.
- Finish harvesting the carrots. In past years, I have harvested carrots into early January.
Now, take about two months off. Use this time to plan for next year's garden. Make sure to order your seeds early enough to have them in time to start your spring garden.
- Average First and Last Frost Dates by State
Use this section of our site as a guide to help you estimate the average date on which can expect the last frost to occur in the late winter / spring as well as the first one in the fall.
- Zones 5-6 Planting Schedule
This schedule is a general guide for the zone, please check with your local extension office for precise information for your specific area.
- Search the Heritage Perennials Plant Database
Search by Plant Name/Description, USDA Zone Number, Perennial Height, Foot Traffic, Growth Rate, Sun Exposure, oil Type, Soil Moisture, Soil pH, Care Level, Flower Colour, Blooming Time, Foliage Colour, Plant Uses & Characteristics
Where's Your Zone 5 Garden?
Kristie Moore8 on July 09, 2018:
Lot`s of helpful information and tips I didn`t know! My trick for gardening in zone 5 is about indoor gardening. I have a small herb wall garden at home with grow lights. Recommend this gadget for everyone, cause it`s really helpful when there isn`t enough sunlight! Check this if you`re interested - https://growace.com/grow-light/led-grow-lights.htm...
annertaylor55 on May 20, 2014:
My zone 5 is Beloit, Wisconsin. I have found a great deal of appropriate, intelligent, and functional data. Terrific! Very helpful! Thanks! :-)
Paula Hite from Virginia on February 25, 2014:
Your lens was featured on "The Green Thumb: A Place For Gardeners To Gather" Facebook page! Please visit, like and share with your friends!
appelonia on October 25, 2013:
Thanks for an informative lens!
NC Shepherd on June 13, 2013:
Wow, I thought I was in Zone 5, but by the animated map I see Ohio has joined Zone 6. That's an amazing graphic!
Bartukas on April 24, 2013:
Great lens :P
anonymous on January 26, 2013:
Thanks for the link for the Zone Planting calender. I need one for zone 9. Great lens by the way!
microfarmproject on December 15, 2012:
I lived in zone 5 most of my life. I know live in AZ, which has a much different climate! Great info.
RuthieDenise on November 03, 2012:
Lot's of good information. I'm down in sunny Florida.
GardenIdeasHub LM on October 19, 2012:
Great information on zones and climate conditions. Thanks for the fantastic info!
RyanBlock on October 01, 2012:
I recently moved to zone 5 and I feel like its pretty rough growing season; but having a plan laid out is always nice
HomeDecorKnight on September 18, 2012:
Very much informative for us people. I like the lens
anonymous on August 30, 2012:
I live in New Lebanon, Ohio. I have a large garden area. My garden gets out of control easily. Watering during the drought and while on vacation has been the downfall of my efforts with producing suffering greatly. I hope to put out some fall crops before the rain from Issac hits. sue
anonymous on August 03, 2012:
Please delete. Just wanted to give a heads up that our Vegetable Planting and Harvesting Calendar Zone 5 image is missing but clicking on where its supposed to be brings me to the link...that is cool, had forgotten about it.
anonymous on August 03, 2012:
Stopping back to see how your zone 5 garden is growing, it's a tough growing season this year with the drought hitting so much of the nation.
Gloria Freeman from Alabama USA on July 13, 2012:
Hi I liked your lens before back to bless it, and add to my lens Squid Angel flinnie.
msseiboi on July 11, 2012:
Greta lens..thanks for sharing
BlogsWriter on June 05, 2012:
Very useful information for US people.
steph-naylor on May 29, 2012:
Great Lens! Youâve motivated me to start my own project! Thanks ever so much! Iâm definitely going to recommend your Lens to my friends!
Linda Hoxie from Idaho on May 03, 2012:
Incredible information, well done! My blessings to you this rainy day in May!
ResearchAddict on May 03, 2012:
I am a beginning gardener and am always looking for tips like these. Thanks for the wonderful lens.
AshleySears LM on April 29, 2012:
Fort Wayne, Indiana. Thanks for all the amazing information!
squid-pinkchic18 on April 26, 2012:
Very helpful! We're getting anxious to plant our garden soon :)
natachadavid on April 19, 2012:
For the perfect pictures, try capturing beautiful perennial flowers that is awesome for photography background or background for laptops and even on your walls, try using pinhole camera they are the best!
anonymous on April 10, 2012:
I learned a lot here today. I was not familiar with hardness zones before reading your lens. The area of Alabama that I live in is called the Black Belt because of the rich, black soil that we have. It's a great area for gardening and farming. Our climate zone probably has a lot to do with that.
benjamindlee on April 09, 2012:
great lens! Interesting to see how it changes around my hometown.
Jillynn on April 09, 2012:
I am definitely not in Zone 5 but smack in the middle of the desert of urban Arizona. I am envious of your zone 5 garden options! I did live in New York and New Jersey at one point and the vegetation was amazing.
enfuegoinc on March 31, 2012:
I am in Oak Park, IL & we are having an early Spring. Buds, Flowers and Leaves are everywhere too!
brynimagire on March 21, 2012:
Great info . Nice lens ! Thanks.
Markstuffnmore on March 20, 2012:
I'm in western Montana! I like your lens a lot thanks for all the great information.
anonymous on March 11, 2012:
Canton, NY :)
AndieDee on March 07, 2012:
Leah J. Hileman from East Berlin, PA, USA on February 29, 2012:
My Zone 5 garden used to be in Ashland, Ohio (Vegetable Gardening was my 4-H Club project), but now I live in an apartment complex in southwest Florida and can't grow any of my favorite Zone 5 flowers or herbs here; they scorch too easily.
Rosaquid on February 29, 2012:
Looks like my zone has warmed some. Thanks
Gloria Freeman from Alabama USA on February 29, 2012:
Hi very nice lens,thanks for sharing.I am a little more south of zone 5.
PecjakJN on February 27, 2012:
very nice leans thanks for sharing.
anonymous on February 27, 2012:
ann arbor, mi!
knit1tat2 on February 10, 2012:
I'm in Ne where they say it's a 4, but guess what, it's a 5 more often than a 4!
lensesbyjames on February 10, 2012:
I'm in Michigan this is a great and informative lens.
gardeningchoice on February 05, 2012:
I'm in Providence, Rhode Island -Zone 5. Nice lens!
N Beaulieu on February 01, 2012:
This is a great reference for gardeners in USDA Zone 5. Glad I found it!
gemjane on January 31, 2012:
Nice Lens! I garden in SE Indiana. Used to be on the border of 5b and 6a, and according to the new USDA zone map I'm now completely surrounded by 6a.
seosmm on January 31, 2012:
Wow, very interesting lens!
girlfriendfactory on January 16, 2012:
Wow, great lens and I love that the top is up to date with January info so we know what we should be doing right this very minute! A flyby winging is happening as I type! :)
rollerdoorsltd on November 24, 2011:
Very informative information for the gardening enthusiast
joel7223 on October 22, 2011:
Thanks for the making this lens. Very useful
adamfrench on October 13, 2011:
Enjoyed this lens a lot
homerepellent on October 08, 2011:
Thanks for sharing all of these wonderful resources! I especially found the vegetable planting and harvesting calendar very useful.
dahlia369 on October 03, 2011:
Nicely done lens & great resource. ***Angel blessed*** :)
wilfredpadilla on September 28, 2011:
I like Gardening. Thanks for sharing!
feliciasfavs on September 22, 2011:
Lots of high quality information in here. And even helpful to know that there are solutions to these zones.
fireblazzer on September 14, 2011:
wow this is a great page.. well worth its good ranking.
i have been thinking about making a small garden for emerngacy food in an emergancy situation... this lens has given me a lot of useful ideas
ScareYouDiva on September 09, 2011:
Indiana - it's so tricky being on the edge of the southern zones, but still getting hammered in winter sometimes.
Paula Atwell from Cleveland, OH on September 02, 2011:
Wow! Really interesting. We are in zone 5, and this is really helpful.
renstar lm on August 16, 2011:
Great Lens, I love growing fruit but here in the UK it's hard work with the weather.
Julianne Gentile from Cleveland, Ohio, US on August 15, 2011:
Fantastic resources here!
anonymous on August 10, 2011:
Great stuff for those who are living in Zone 5.
sousababy on August 09, 2011:
Google +1'd this beauty of a lens.
sousababy on August 09, 2011:
I am in the Twightlight Zone or under a polar ice cap according to the map - ha (since I am Canadian). Just not hardy enough . . maybe that's why Canadians are so apologetic. Actually, we have some great regions around the Niagara vineyards for growing grapes and Leamington is known as the tomato capital. Lots of corn and soy crops too around my neck of the woods. I would imagine I am in Zone 5. Great lens!
TheresaBesaw on August 08, 2011:
My zone will be in Ohio next year. It's stuck in my head for now, but this lens offered some needed inspiration.
zdaddyo on July 25, 2011:
Great info. I'll need this for next year!
anonymous on July 21, 2011:
@Hooks and Needles: You can find a lot more about zone 5 gardening and plant raising in general at this useful site: www.plantdex.com
phoenix arizona f on July 15, 2011:
serenity4me lm on June 24, 2011:
Illinois Quad City area
QuinnWolf LM on May 26, 2011:
I'm in Zone 9, Central Florida and gardening here is completely different from up north. Unfortunately, we get the extremes of humid, hot summers and freezes in the winter. It's hard to grow any vegetables except for tomoatoes, scallions and carrots. I'd love to grow white squash like my dad does up north but the plants can't tolerate the heat.
RinchenChodron on May 09, 2011:
Great job on this gardening lens.
UKGhostwriter on May 09, 2011:
Fantastic resource - well done
anonymous on April 23, 2011:
I'm a zone 5 also but I have the added disadvantage of being in the high desert in Oregon so I have altitude issues, desert issues and zone 5 issues but I think with cold frames and hoop houses it'll all work. We shall see.
Michey LM on April 08, 2011:
You have very interesting maps and info.
Hooks and Needles on April 03, 2011:
I got a lot of information here. Thanks especially since I am in Zone 5.
Philippians468 on March 30, 2011:
thank you for this informative lens! it is indeed wise to plant climate appropriate crops to increase one's harvest! lovely lens! cheers
E L Seaton from Virginia on March 17, 2011:
Nice job. I won't put the tender baby plants out too early using this lens. Good job!
BubblesRFun on March 16, 2011:
Love this lens...Thanks for putting the planting and harvesting calendar...I never know when to plant anything. That's a Great help!
decksandfences on March 01, 2011:
Looks like we wont be planting for a while!
tssfacts on January 23, 2011:
Excellent article. Everyone should know what their planting zones are. Great job. Blessed by a SquidAngel. Featured on Home and Garden SquidAngel.
antith3tical on January 20, 2011:
I'm in the KC area. I'm planning on planting my first garden this spring. It's not going to be anything fancy, but this lens will definitely come in handy when I do.
Yourshowman LM on December 07, 2010:
very Great resource. Thanks.
MargoPArrowsmith on December 06, 2010:
Great information. I am in zone 4
anonymous on November 08, 2010:
What a wonderful resource this lens is. Beautifully put together.
Jennifer Sullivan from Chicago, IL on November 02, 2010:
This is a great resource, thanks!
anonymous on October 18, 2010:
Awesome lens-thanks for creating it!
anonymous on October 01, 2010:
Colorado City, CO.
VarietyWriter2 on September 30, 2010:
Blessed by a SquidAngel :)
Jeanette from Australia on September 29, 2010:
What great information. This should come in handy for many US veggie gardeners.
anonymous on September 21, 2010:
What a great idea for a lens. Something like this should do really well, and you have done a splendid job, I say splendid! I'm in Squidoo zone!
Lee Hansen from Vermont on September 19, 2010:
We're in Zone 6/7 right now, but moving back to Zone 5 for retirement. It's warmer in New England than when I was gardening there a decade ago. It's almost too warm here in PA during summer now. Love the resources in this lens - it's a new fave!
ShamanicShift on September 11, 2010:
This is very useful to me, now and then a freelance gardener. I'm bookmarking it for future reference.
Ruth Coffee from Zionsville, Indiana on September 09, 2010:
Great info for reference. I live in Zone 5.
anonymous on September 08, 2010:
Apparently I'm a zone 4. Very informative!
QueSea on September 02, 2010:
Michigan here! Great lens.
The Homeopath on September 02, 2010:
Woo! A shout out from another zone fiver! I love my climate, but we do need to watch out for hailstorms here. Some perennials and even hardy annuals can bounce back, but a lot of good stuff gets obliterated.
Tonie Cook from USA on July 26, 2010:
My Garden Heaven is in Zone 5! This is a great lens that has just been rolled. Thank you for sharing this wonderful information.
Vicki Green from Wandering the Pacific Northwest USA on July 09, 2010:
My zone 5 garden is in the northeast corner of Washington state.
WiscBear on May 25, 2010:
very informative lens from a fellow Zone 5 Recession Gardener
Laura Hofman from Naperville, IL on May 10, 2010:
Very interesting and informative lens - I'm in Zone 5 too. I'm looking forward to planting my annuals soon. Thanks again!
Beth Webster-Duerr from Henrietta, New York on May 08, 2010:
I'm south of Rohester, NY so on the border of zones 5 and 6. Great and very detailed info that is much appreciated by this gardener. Favorited and lensrolled to my Mother's Day Roses Forever lens. Thanks!
tcinvestor on May 06, 2010:
Great tips and resource for people to become more self sufficient & reliant. Thank you.
LoKackl on May 01, 2010:
Hi Heather - wonderful lens! I LOVE your new photo ;-)
TheBestGadgets on April 21, 2010:
Great lens, lots of useful info. I just wrote a lens about gardening gadgets that people might be interested in.
Patricia on April 17, 2010:
Excellent lens! Blessed!