What zone is virginia?

Virginia Planting Zones – USDA Map Of Virginia Growing Zones


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Knowing Your Virginia Zone – Understanding the USDA Planting Map

If you live in Virginia, you will be in one of the four Virginia USDA plant hardiness zones that range from 5a in the western mountains to 8a on the eastern shore. These zones should serve as a guideline when selecting flowers, shrubs or trees for your garden.

Much of Virginia experiences a relatively mild winter with extreme low temperatures above zero; however, those that live in the northwest could see chilly winter lows down as far as -20 F.

The Virginia planting map above can be enlarged by clicking on it so that you can see which zone covers your area. Once you have determined your zone, you can use this information when you start or add to your garden and landscape.

The USDA unveiled a new plant hardiness map at the beginning of 2012 that replaces the older version from 1990. The map is much more detailed than previous versions and now takes into consideration such factors as elevation, urban heat and proximity to a large body of water.

Although there are still many other factors that affect the success rates of plants such as soil type, winter sun and humidity, amongst others, the Virginia plant map should serve as a guide when landscaping or gardening.

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These landscaping tips will help you make the most out of your outdoor space this season.

Photo by Kierra Chin

Warm temperatures during the day and cool temperatures at night allow for proper root growth and dormancy conditions, making fall the perfect time to re-energize the yard with vegetables, foliage and color. Here’s a step-by-step guide to how you should be buying, preparing and planting this season.

Plant Prep Checklist

  1. Though there’s controversy surrounding how much fertilizer fall grass requires (annual flowers and leafy vegetables definitely need it), most sources state that a little can go a long way. Look for a 13-25-12 formulation, which has 13 percent nitrogen, 25 percent phosphorus and 12 percent potassium. Know that there are also organic fertilizers on the market if that’s a planting preference.
  2. Soil’s nutrients can get depleted during spring and summer, so regardless of your fertilizer philosophy, adding a layer of compost or manure should do the trick.
  3. Moisture is key. How can you tell if your soil has the appropriate amount? When soil is moist and cool, no additional water is needed, but if soil is crumbly and dry, you need to take action (make it happen using a sprinkler, or hold out for some rain). Another soil check can be done by inserting a screwdriver into the soil. If the soil is hard, water is needed, but if the screwdriver moves easily through the soil, you’re good to go.
  4. After planting, top off all your hard work with a layer of mulch. This will help your plants retain moisture whatever weather comes their way.

Photo by Kierra Chinn

Seasonal Selections

If you’re all about plant now, eat later, now’s the time to bury some Brussels sprouts, carrots, cabbage, kale, lettuce, radishes and spinach. Harvest times vary, but here’s a quick breakdown:

  • Brussels sprouts: December-February
  • Carrots and radishes: before the ground freezes
  • Cabbage and kale: during the first frost
  • Lettuce: before the first frost
  • Spinach: November-January

Other plants worth planting this time of year include fall bulbs that will bloom in spring, pansies, ferns and certain trees.

If you want to bring bursts of seasonal color to your flowerbeds, pansies, ornamental cabbage and mums are the answer. Be sure to get them in the ground before November. Perennials (coneflowers, hostas, peonies and sunflowers) can also be planted now through early November and will require watering up until the ground freezes.

You have until late October to plant shade-loving ferns, and maple, spruce, pine and deciduous trees do well when planted now. This allows for better root development while also avoiding the stress of summer heat. If you wait until late November, the roots won’t have enough time to strengthen before winter frost.

  • Home
  • About Us
    • Become an Extension Master Gardener
    • Master Gardeners in Numbers
    • Contact Us
    • Image Use Policy
    • Privacy Statement
  • Demonstration Gardens
    • Glencarlyn Library Community Garden
    • Teaching Garden at Fairlington Community Center
    • Master Gardener Tribute Bench & Garden at Fairlington Community Center
    • Potomac Overlook Regional Park / Organic Vegetable Garden
    • Shade Garden at Bon Air Park
    • Simpson Gardens in Alexandria
    • Sunny Garden
  • Events
    • Events in the D.C. area
    • Register Online!
  • Programs
    • Extension Master Gardener Help Desk
      • Help Desk Library Reference Sources
      • Planting Dates for Arlington and Alexandria
      • Select On-Line References for Kitchen Gardening
    • Extension Master Gardener Plant Clinics
    • Demonstration Gardens
    • “I Can Shine Garden” at Tancil Court
    • Public Education
      • Public Education Events
    • VCE Speakers Bureau
  • Resources
    • Gardening Basics for Arlington & Alexandria, VA
    • Balcony Gardening Basics
    • Best Bets: Plants for Particular Uses
    • Between the Rows – A Guide to Vegetable Gardening
    • 4-H Junior Master Gardener Program
    • Making Your Yard Sustainable
    • Invasive Plants and Better Alternatives
      • Learn More about Invasive Plants
    • Master Gardener Organizations in Virginia
    • Mosquito and Tick Control
    • Planting Dates for Arlington and Alexandria
    • Select On-Line References for Kitchen Gardening
    • Useful Links
      • Community Gardens in Arlington & Alexandria
      • Help Desk Library Reference Sources
      • Horticultural Sites
      • Local Farmers Markets
      • Local Nature Organizations
    • Wildlife
      • Creating Inviting Habitats for the Birds, Butterflies & Hummingbirds
      • Sharing our Spaces with Wildlife
    • YouTube Channel
  • Tried & True Native Plants: Mid-Atlantic
    • How To Use the Fact Sheets
      • Sources and References
      • Acknowledgments
    • Ferns
    • Grasses & Sedges
    • Ground Covers
    • Perennials
    • Shrubs
    • Trees
    • Vines
  • *MGNV Members Only

Virginia Planting Zones

Much of Virginia has a mild humid subtropical climate that is affected by the Atlantic Ocean. The far southern and eastern parts of the state can get humid and warm. Mountain regions west of the Blue Ridge have maritime temperate and humid continental climates. And the coastal areas are largely influenced by the Gulf Stream, where hurricanes are a likely occurrence. Summers in Virginia are hot and winters are typically crisp and cold. The state gets around 35 days of thunderstorms every year, mostly in the western region, and it averages just over 40 inches of precipitation annually. Virginia also sees tropical cyclones, tornadoes and impact from wild winter storms most years. July is the hottest month of the year, with the temperature across the state averaging 75 degrees. January is the coldest month and will regularly average about 36 degrees. Parts of Central Virginia will see significant snowfall during winter.

Hardiness zones are important for gardeners. Gilmour’s Interactive Planting Zone Map makes it easy to find your hardiness zone. The Virginia growing zones range from 5a to 8a. Growing and hardiness zones are also known as planting zones, and they help gardeners know which plants, vegetables and flowers are best-suited to thrive in an area. Knowing your zone means knowing which plants can survive winter. Zones also tell you when to plant, too. Virginia planting zones are based on first and last frost dates. Only grow plants that are rated for the Virginia planting zone you are in or lower. So if you live in zone 5a, plant anything rated for zones 1 through 5. Do not plant anything rated for higher zones, as those plants probably will not be able to survive winter.

Multiple vegetables and flowers grow in Virginia. Coneflower, ferns, coreopsis, perennial geranium, hardy hibiscus, catmint and black-eyed Susans are great flowers in Virginia gardens. Many vegetables grow exceptionally well in the state, too. Cucumbers, snap beans, garlic, sweet potatoes, peppers, snow peas, lettuce and squash are just a few that grow in abundance.

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