Zone Five: USDA Plant Hardiness World View

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The locations of the USDA Zone 5 plant hardiness zones. Image by USDA

The world-wide locations of the USDA plant hardiness zone five. Image courtesy of the USDA, modified by James Gibson.

If you live around cities such as Kingston, Ontario; Montreal, Quebec; Des Moines, Iowa; Chicago, Illinois; Albany, New York; Portland, Maine; Saint Petersburg, Russia; Tabriz, Iran; or Yumeri, China; or in the interiors of Korea or the north island of Japan, your plant hardiness zone is five. This means average minimum winter temperatures are between -10°F and -20°F.

According to PBS’s The Victory Garden, USDA plant hardiness zone five is ideally suited to plants of East Asian origin. The zone straddles the 40°N zone unless significantly impacted by water or elevation influences; and is primarily restricted to the northern hemisphere except for an elevation-related enclave in the southern Andes Mountains of South America, an otherwise sub-tropical zone.

What are Hardiness Zones?

Hardiness zones are defined geographic regions, most commonly based on USDA criteria that support specific plants, flowers, and trees. They usually define a minimum range of temperature that a plant or tree can survive safely in that zone.

If possible it is advisable to consult other planting-related maps such as first and last frost dates, and heat zones.

Canada’s Zone Five Regions

Canada has limited areas of USDA hardiness zone five; primarily some pockets in Quebec along the St. Lawrence River, a belt around coastal New Brunswick, and a large region of the northern mainland of Nova Scotia centered on Truro. Other zone five areas include a large part of Western Prince Edward Island, a wide swath from Markham to Ottawa in southern Ontario, southern border clusters in Alberta, and scattered areas in the interior of British Columbia centered on valley towns such as Cranbrook and Fernie.

The patterns of plant hardiness Zone 5 in USA. Image by USDA

The patterns of plant hardiness Zone 5 in USA. Image courtesy of the USDA, modified by James Gibson.

Zone Five Regions in the United States

In the west, zone five stretches east from pockets in the interior of Washington State, Oregon, and northern California to the mountain valleys of western Montana with a sweep down into northern Utah, Nevada, Colorado and northern New Mexico.

Hardiness zone 5 then stretches in an arc from Nebraska and northern Kansas through Iowa to beyond the southern Great Lakes, penetrating north through the middle of Michigan. Beyond Ohio, it begins again in northern Pennsylvania and drifts north through northern New York State, ending in coastal Maine.

The patterns of plant hardiness zone 5 in Russia and Kazakhstan. Image courtesy of Davis Landscape Architects.

The patterns of plant hardiness zone five in Russia and Kazakhstan. Image courtesy of Davis Landscape Architects.

Russia, Kazakhstan and Hardiness Zone Five

A large portion of the western side of Russia, in a belt running down from St. Petersburg, lies under the influence of the Atlantic Ocean and within climatic zone five. In addition, severe winters determine a zone five in the areas extending southeast beyond Volgograd into northern Kazakhstan and toward Alma Ada.

The patterns of plant hardiness Zone 5 in China. Image courtesy of Davis Landscape Architects.

The patterns of plant hardiness zone five in China. Image courtesy of Davis Landscape Architects.

Zone Five Patterns in China

Plant hardiness zone five takes a wide 40°N swath from just above Beijing near the coast to the interior centered on Yumeri China. Due to the elevation influence of the Himalayas, a belt also forms farther south around Tibet.  

Plant Options for Gardeners

According to PBS’s The Victory Garden, the following plants grow well within hardiness zone five:

  • Boston ivy (Paithenocissus tricuspidata)
  • Common privet (Ligustrum vulgare)
  • Flowering dogwood (Cornus florida)
  • Japanese rose (Rosa multiflora)
  • Japanese yew (Taxus cuspidata)
  • Slender deutzia (Deutzia gracilis)

Asian Plants Thrive in Low Temperatures

The low temperatures experienced in zone five encourages gardeners to carefully consider what plants work best in their zone, while still allowing many Asian-origin plants and others to not only survive, but thrive.

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