USDA Alabama Hardiness Zones: 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a
Summers are hot and humid in Alabama. You could say that Alabama has a hot and humid subtropical climate with its hot summers and mild winters.
The growing season is long, and there are significant amounts of rainfall throughout the state. Alabama vegetation is lush and thick from the warm weather, rain, humidity and long growing seasons.
Alabama is also known for bouts of severe weather, including hurricanes, tropical storms, and tornadoes, which can be detrimental to gardens in the Alabama climate zone.
In addition, there are short winters and mild average winter temperature in Alabama, so you’ll need to know your first and last frost dates before you begin planting.
Alabama Planting Zone – A Quick Overview:
- The growing season in the northern parts of Alabama is about 200 days long. This area is predominantly classified as zone 7a and 7b.
- Zone 7a can be found in a small pocket in the northeastern corner, where Alabama meets the states of Tennessee and Georgia.
- The city of Huntsville is in zone 7b while Tuscaloosa and most of Birmingham are in zone 8a.
- The growing season in the southern parts of Alabama is about 300 days long. The southern parts of the state are predominantly in zones 8a and 8b.
- In north Alabama, the last frost date happens between April 1 and 15th, while the first frost could happen anywhere between October 16th and 31.
- In the southernmost parts of Alabama, the last frost dates happen between January 1st and February 28th. The first frost date is in November.
- The last frost happens in the middle region of the state in the month of March, while the first frost is in November.
- Zone 8b is found in the southeast, along the border of Florida.
- The southwest areas nearest to the Gulf of Mexico is hotter, with some cities along the coastline falling into zone 9a. However, winds coming off the gulf sometimes ease the temperatures.
- Alabama and South Carolina fall into the same five USDA plant hardiness zones; 7a-9a.
Using the Alabama Growing Zones Map
Although the climate of Alabama is warm and humid across the state, looking at the Alabama hardiness zones will help you fine-tune your gardening plans. First, you’ll want to look closely at the map of the Alabama hardiness zones from the USDA map data of 2012.
Find your location on the map, either by looking at where you are in the state or by searching for your zip code. Next, look at the color of the area you live in, and then compare it to the legend on the right. The color that matches up to your area will tell you what Alabama gardening zone you live in.
The information from the USDA map is a general guide to help you start planning a fantastic garden. However, the area you live in may be slightly different than what the map says. Also, since the map is just a guide, you’ll need to talk to local farmers and gardeners to determine if the map is accurate for your location or if you live in a micro-climate.
A micro-climate is generally a smaller area with slightly different terrain – for example, rolling hills or deep woods – that can affect the temperatures and precipitation of your site. You can also use this to your advantage by creating a micro-climate by using buildings or trees to shelter your garden from the wind or by creating hedgerows that reflect water towards or away from your garden.
Again, the local gardeners and farmers in your area can help you understand how to grow in your specific location, offering advice and tips that will be most suited to your growing region and soil type. The Alabama zone map is just one of many tools in your gardening arsenal!
Alabama: A Long but Hot Growing Season
Alabama is naturally a wonderful place to grow gardens with its beautifully long growing season and plenty of rain. However, you’ll want to keep in mind that some vegetables, herbs and plants just don’t thrive in the heat, so you may have trouble growing cool-weather crops such as lettuce or spinach. Although even cool-season vegetables are worth a try if you get your planting schedule right.
However, in Alabama’s plant hardiness zones you can focus on plenty of other plants, such as beans, peppers, tomatoes and cabbage. Flowers that grow well are hyacinths, geraniums, and wisteria. And if you love trees and shrubs, you’ll find plenty of pine trees and red cedars growing throughout the state. Sugar maples, serviceberry, Japanese maple, and pink dogwoods also thrive in the warm climate of Alabama.