USDA Florida Hardiness Zones: 8a, 8b, 9a, 9b, 10a, 10b, 11a
Florida consists of two main climate zones: it has a humid tropical climate in the south and a humid subtropical climate in the northwestern portions of the state. You’ll find hot, humid summers with almost daily thunderstorms. Florida winters are mild, with occasional bursts of cool weather.
The sunshine state gets plenty of rain – an average of 50 inches per year, which is more than the rest of the United States. However, the state rarely sees snow because the temperatures are just too warm. And since it is known as the sunshine state, it does see an average of 221 sunshine days per year, which is more than average across all US states.
With the warm, sunny weather and plenty of rain, you might think Florida is an ideal place to garden. And it is, as long as you know your Florida gardening zones.
Florida Planting Zone – A Quick Overview:
- The further south you go, the higher the growing zone of Florida.
- The southernmost tip of Florida is the highest grow zone. If this is where you live, it is zone 11a. If you aren’t quite at the very bottom of the state, you’ll probably be in Zone 10b.
- If you live in the north-western areas of the state, you’ll probably be in zones 8a and 8b, where the climate isn’t quite as hot.
- If you live between Tampa and Orlando, two famous places in Florida, you’ll be right in Zone 9b.
- But if you live in Gainesville or Ocala, you’ll find yourself in zone 9a.
Using the Florida Growing Zones Map
One means of being more successful in your gardening is planning your garden according to the Florida hardiness zone you live in. The hardiness map for Florida is based on 2012 USDA map data. This data helps you know when is the best time to plant and harvest in your garden.
You can find your Florida gardening zone by finding your location on the map or by entering the zip code for where you live. The color of the area you live in. will correspond with the map legend on the right-hand side of the map. This color gives you the correct gardening zone.
The USDA zones are a guide, but they may need to be slightly adjusted. For example, living near bodies of water, forests, or areas where there are variations in terrain could mean the area you live in is slightly warmer or cooler than expected. So you may need to adjust the zone you live in.
If you need help with this, you can always talk to local farmers or gardening experts to better understand what is specifically happening in your area.
It’s possible to create a micro-climate where you live by adding shade trees to shade your garden from the harsh afternoon sun or planting a hedgerow to act as a windbreak to protect your garden from severe weather.
Florida: Plenty of Sunshine and Rain for Great Gardens
Florida has plenty of sunshine and rain to help your garden grow, but the heat and humidity can be brutal for some types of plants. However, there are still plenty of plants that you can grow if you time your planting according to the growing zones in Florida.
For example, Living Color Garden Center says you can plant Sweet Potatoes in south Florida in April. On the other hand, if you want to grow peas and beans, you can start those outside as early as February since they are cool-weather vegetables. Southern peas do exceptionally well in the heat and can be grown all summer long.
In the winter, you can grow beautiful petunias, pansies, and Lobelia for pretty splashes of color.