The state of Massachusetts has mostly a humid continental climate and when it comes to Massachusetts planting zones, there are just two. It has cold and snowy winters and warm summers. A popular region known as the Berkshires has cooler temperatures all year long, while the coastal region tends to be warmer. Summer highs average right around 80 degrees in the hottest months, and winter lows average about 16 degrees with considerable snowfall. Along the coast, winters are less extreme with temperatures remaining above freezing even in January, when the inland areas of the state are much colder.
Massachusetts growing zones fall somewhere between 5a and 7b. Growing zones, also known as plant hardiness zones, are a way of identifying what plants will survive and do well in certain areas. Find your Massachusetts growing zone quickly and easily on Gilmour’s Interactive Planting Zone Map. Growing zones help determine not only what to plant, but also when to plant it. Using first and last frost dates as a guide, each zone will specify when to put plants in the ground. Massachusetts planting zones vary depending on how far inland you are in the state, with the more western-reaching parts of the state seeing extreme cold and more volatile winters and planting zones between 5a and 5b. When planting a garden, keep in mind that anything rated for the zone you are in or lower should be able to survive winters. So, for example, in the coldest parts of the state that are planting zone 5a, plants rated anywhere from zone 1 through zone 5 will likely be fine.
Plants and flowers that do well in Massachusetts are wide-ranging, so whatever look a gardener is going for is likely achievable. Hostas, many varieties of ferns and sedums are all striking perennials that do extremely well in this region. Echinacea (also known as purple cone flowers), black-eyed Susans, daylilies and Siberian Irises are blooms that thrive here. If planting a summer vegetable garden, root vegetables like potatoes love the Massachusett planting zone conditions, as do carrots. Note that sweet potatoes do not do as well here since they need a warmer and longer growing season. Corn, lettuce, beans, tomatoes and peas are other veggies that will produce plenty. And brassicas (cabbage, Brussels sprouts and broccoli) love the cooler temperatures and rich moist soil, making them ideal to grow in a seasonal Massachusetts garden.
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