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Learn which plants thrive in your Hardiness Zone with our new interactive map!

Zone 6 Planting Guide

By Carol Stratus
Azaleas work in a garden in hardiness zone 6
woodland garden image by hazel proudlove from Fotolia.com

A critical component to growing a lush, easy to care for garden is selecting the correct plants. The United States Department of Agriculture has divided the country into 11 hardiness zones to illustrate regional temperature differences. Hardiness defines a plant's ability to survive the coldest temperature for the region. For example, a plant that thrives in South Carolina's zone 7 or 8 in winter temperatures of 1 to 10 degrees would die in zone 6's minus-10 degrees. The hardiness zones are further broken down into 5-degree increments and labeled as 6a and 6b, with the regions in 6b being 5 degrees warmer than 6a. Plant selection based on regional compatibility will lead to success in your garden.

Preparation

Familiarize yourself with the plant lists for zone 6. Take the lists with you and visit garden centers, nurseries and public gardens until you can identify them by name. Usee a zone 5 plant list, as recommended by garden.org, if you live in the northern edge of zone 6.

Take notes and pictures of plants in your area through the year. Watching plants change throughout the seasons, you can plan groupings for your garden.

Learn how to overwinter plants that cannot survive a zone 6 winter. Overwintering allows the zone 6 gardener to keep tropicals such as hibiscus and bougainvillea that will thrive in the hot, humid summers. Invest in large, lightweight fiberglass flower pots so that the tropicals remain in the same pot all year avoiding transplant shock each spring and fall.

Planting

Plant in zone 6 using a month-by-month checklist. Plant vegetables in April after the last frost, tender plants such as tropicals and annuals in May and plant spring flowering bulbs September to November.

Transplant perennials, trees and shrubs in the spring or fall. Zone 6 frequently has summer droughts which can kill plants that do not have a mature root system. Any plants transplanted within a year will need to be supplemented with extra watering throughout the summer months.

Clear all spent foliage in the fall. Cut back perennials after the first frost, mow the grass with a mulching mower to pick up fall leaves to place in the compost pile, take tropicals inside to be overwintered.

 

Things You Will Need

  • List of zone 6a plants
  • List of zone 6b plants
  • List of zone 5 plants

Tips

  • Use a cold frame to grow spinach and cold hardy lettuce all winter in zone 6.
  • Plant hardy herbs such as sage, rosemary and parsley to enjoy through a zone 6 winter.

About the Author

 

Carol Stratus joined the ranks of online content providers in 2009 to break from traditional slow print publishing cycles. Stratus' portfolio of content published on eHow, the award-winning internet site visited by 70 million web surfers a month, reflects a breadth of expertise ranging from sports and fitness to electronics. Stratus has a bachelor's and master's degree.