[NAFEX] Sunset zones

Stephen Sadler Docshiva at Docshiva.org
Fri Dec 23 14:36:18 EST 2005

You can find the Sunset hardiness ratings for many, many, plants in the
Sunset books.  Since most catalogs don’t list Sunset zones, this would be
the best way to take advantage of the very useful Sunset zones.  I can also
sometimes find a zone by googling the term ‘sunset zone’ and the plant name.


Stephen Sadler, Ph.D.

USDA 9, AHS heat zone 8, 

Sacramento CA - Mediterranean climate


From: nafex-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org
[mailto:nafex-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org] On Behalf Of mauch1 at aol.com
Sent: Friday, December 23, 2005 6:22 AM
To: nafex at lists.ibiblio.org
Subject: [NAFEX] Accurate well defined hardiness map


Just so we're all clear


The statistic used by the USDA is the average annual minimum temperature

the USDA means the average, over ten or more years, of the very lowest
temperature (the absolute minimum) observed for each year for each
meteorological station.  


Megrette is correct that you can have a winter that exceeds your zone, but
most of us would take a 

2.5% bet.  Of course, if you want to be safe, you can always plant stuff
that is hardy to a zone colder, but that gets more difficult the lower your


And those proponents of the the Sunset zones are right too, I can think of
two plants (getting away from fruit) namely delphiniums and Primulus
viallii, that are USDA zone hardy, but don't like the warm humid summers
here on the east coast(EC) so don't thrive for long (neither has ever
survived more than two summers for me).


Of course there's the famous Cox Orange Pippin.  Wonderful apple, but to
truly thrive and produce great apples, it prefers a maritime climate (i.e.
England)  (though I did know a amateur grower who said it did fine in my
area when grafted on the North side of a tree).


But to be honest, at least here on the EC, most plants are not rated for the
Sunset zones and it seems complicated, and most plants will do well enough
if you attend to their needs based on the USDA zones.  


I haven't found the heat zone map useful at all yet.  Not enought plants are
rated by it for it to be very useful.


Chris Mauchline
SE PA, zone 6
40° 5' N 75° 51'W
~650 ft elevation

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