Native Range & Hardiness Zone

  • A "Native Range" is the indigenous area for a given plant species … the geographic area where the species occurs naturally.
  • Hardiness zones are concerned with the temperate conditions of a location. The USDA hardiness zones are defined by how cold an area gets in the winter.
  • You can use either one or the other of these methods, but always refer to the growing conditions (soil moisture, sunlight and soil type) for best results.
  • Plants will grow outside of their native range, as long as the growing conditions are favorable for the plant.

Native Range

The definition of a native plant, provided by the United States Department of Agriculture’s US Forest Service, says a native plant is one that has “evolved and occurs naturally in a particular region, ecosystem, and habitat." A plant’s native range is the region where the plant has a historic presence and is known to grow naturally.  Using the “Native Range” filter on our website will allow you to see the plants that are native within your State. In addition to the Native Range filter, each plant page on our website includes a Range Map which shows the species distribution at a county level. Of course native plants don't observe these borders. They will and do occur naturally outside of these boundaries. The thing to keep in mind is that growing conditions that are favorable for the plant are primarily important.  The growing conditions that we list for each species are the best fit for the plant, and will help it thrive. These conditions reflect the ecoregion – be it woodland, sand hill prairie, or wetland – in which the plant evolved.

Hardiness Zone

Many gardeners are familiar with the USDA Hardiness Zone designations, and we've included "Zones" as a filtering option on our website. Hardiness Zones represent geographical areas of the United States defined by the average minimum winter temperatures. Always keep in mind is that growing conditions that are favorable for the plant are primarily important. The growing conditions that we list for each species are the condition that will naturally help that plant to thrive.

Get the full benefits and beauty from native plants! Create a sustainable garden that flourishes without additional resources, for years to come when you choose plants that are well suited to the growing conditions at your location.

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