Known to be the coldest state in the nation, Alaska has a surprisingly wide range of climates. From ice cap to tundra to cold semi-arid to warm summer humid continental and everything in between, there is not just one way to describe the state, but Alaska planting zones are not quite as diverse. Some parts of Alaska have very long, very cold, harsh winters and short cooler summers. The southeast portion of the state is much warmer and wetter, and it is actually the only part of the state that has a daytime high of above-freezing-averages during the winter months. There are also more mild regions, including Anchorage and the southern central parts of the state.
If you are planning a garden in Alaska, before shopping for plants, flowers or vegetables, you want to first find out what Alaska growing zone you live in. This is critical in ensuring you plant a garden that grows and thrives through the season. Using Gilmour’s Interactive Planting Zone Map to find your zone is simple and easy. The Alaska planting zones could range anywhere from 1a through 8b. It is a bit more difficult to grow in Alaska, but as long as the climate, shorter than normal growing season and poorer soil conditions are known challenges, it is easy to modify planting practices to accommodate and overcome any of them. The most important part is choosing plants that are rated for which of the Alaska growing zones you are in or lower. For example, if planting in zone 4a, any plant rated 1 through 4 will be likely to survive climate conditions.
Despite the cold, there are a number of flowers that will do quite well in Alaska. Monkshood, Fireweek, forget-me-not and salmonberry are all good options for flowers that can withstand the cold and sometimes-harsh conditions of the region. In terms of vegetables, a surprising number of veggies will grow well there, too. Beets, cabbage, chard, dill and turnips are just a few that are fine to grow even though it is so cold.
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