In the mitten state of Michigan, planting zones range from the 4s to 6s based on region because Michigan has a continental climate. Although, like several other states, it has two very distinct regions. The southern and central areas have a significantly warmer climate with cold winters and hot summers. The northern lower peninsula and upper peninsula have much different weather patterns and a more severe climate. This area regularly has shorter warm summers and cold to extremely cold, long winters. Summer temperatures average about 66 degrees across the state while winter averages are in the low 20s. Lake water temperature and the westerly winds that dominate the region affect both the arrival of summer and winter, making each later than what would be expected due to the state’s mid-latitude location.
Plant hardiness zones, or growing zones, are used to identify plants that will most likely survive and do well in a given area. They are useful in not only determining what to plant, but also in knowing when to plant. Michigan growing zones are determined using frost dates (first and last) as a guide. Each zone will show when specific plants should be put in the ground based on their frost tolerance. Michigan planting zones vary depending on location, but will fall into the range of zones 4a through 6b. Find your Michigan zone with Gilmour’s Interactive Planting Zone Map. Remember that any plant rated for the Michigan planting zone you are in or lower will be able to survive winter in the zone it is planted. For example, if planting in zone 4a, it is fine to plant anything rated from zone 1 through zone 4.
Many plants and vegetables do very well in this state. Plant sweet corn, carrots, green beans, broccoli, cucumbers and lettuce in a summer vegetable garden. Coneflower, hibiscus, hosta and black-eyed Susans are all low-maintenance, easy-to-grow plants in Michigan’s planting zones. Other native plants that will thrive in Michigan gardens include butterfly weed, Joe pye weed, bee balm, the Michigan rose and meadow sweet.
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