USDA Hardness Zone Updates
In November 2023, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) released an updated Plant Hardiness Zone map!
- Central Virginia remains firmly in zone 7
- Much of the area shifted to the slightly warmer zone 7b (5° to 10° F)
- Small pockets remain in 7a (0° to 5° F)
What this means for Central Virginia’s Gardeners: All plants labeled for zone 7 should* be winter hardy.
*It’s important to note the map is based on 30-year averages of the lowest annual winter temperatures at specific locations. In other words, the map does “not reflect the coldest it has ever been or ever will be at a specific location.”
- Lynchburg’s coldest date on record is February 20th, 2015 at negative -11° F
Below are the maps for Central Virginia and Zoomed in on Lynchburg, Va.
- Light / Lime Green – Zone 7b (5° to 10° F) makes up most of the maps
- Zone 7a (0° to 5° F) are the pockets of medium green
- Zone 6b (-5 to 0 °F) are the small pockets of dark green along the western edge of Bedford County and Northern tip of Amherst county
When is it safe to plant outside?
At Gary’s Garden Center, we continue our recommendation of May 10th being the safe date or “all clear of frost” date for planting summer annuals, tropicals, and vegetables outside! May 10th is the latest frost date on record for Central Virginia. Therefore, you need to have a plan to protect anything tender you decided to plant outside before May 10th! That said, by the first of May you can look at the 7 to 10 day weather forecast and have a good idea of whether to go ahead and plant or not!
Click here to read more about updates to the map and how the map was generated!
Click here to visit an interactive map that allows you to search by zip code and even zoom into your street!
USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map, 2023. Agricultural Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture. Accessed from https://planthardiness.ars.usda.gov/