USDA Rhode Island Hardiness Zones: 6a, 6b, 7a
Rhode Island, the world’s sailing capital, is located on the eastern seaboard of the United States. While you might think of Rhode Island as just “the Ocean State” with tourist destinations, agriculture is one of the state’s leading industries.
Rhode Island is well known for its production of apples and sweet corn.
Rhode Island’s humid continental climate makes for the right growing conditions for various crops, including grapes and potatoes. The humid continental climate gives Rhode Island warm summers and colder winters. Due to the colder winters, Rhode Island has three plant hardiness zones.
The plant hardiness zones of Rhode Island are 6a, 6b, and 7a.
Rhode Island Planting Zone – A Quick Overview
- If you live in the northwestern part of Rhode Island, you live in the 6a planting zone.
- Foster is located in the 6a planting zone.
- If you live in Johnston, or its surrounding area, your planting zone classification is 6b.
- Providence, the capital of Rhode Island, is classified as the 6b planting zone.
- If you live in a coastal area, such as Newport, you live in the 7a planting zone.
Using the Rhode Island Growing Zones Map
The climate of Rhode Island makes the perfect environment to grow a vegetable or flower garden. But, not every vegetable plant or flower thrives well in Rhode Island’s growing zones.
To save yourself the disappointment of a dying garden, you need to make sure you are choosing plants that match your gardening zone.
If you are unsure of your gardening zone classification (sometimes referred to as planting zones, growing zones, or plant hardiness zones), use the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map.
In 2012, the USDA designed the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map. This map was designed to classify and color-code each plant hardiness zone in the United States. Because of the map’s usefulness, the map has become the gold standard referenced by gardeners across the United States.
To use the map, simply click on the state of Rhode Island. You’ll notice three colors depicting the planting zones in the state. Zoom in on your area to determine the color of your planting zone. Then, use the color-coded legend on the side of the map to determine your planting zone.
If you need a more accurate reading of the map, enter your address and zip code in the search bar.
The coastal region’s gardening zones differ significantly from the gardening zones in the northwestern portion of the state. Plants that might grow well in the 6a planting zone might not always thrive in the coastal region’s planting zone 7a.
It’s helpful to know your plant hardiness zone before going to the nursery to purchase plants for your garden. It would be best if you also considered the micro-climate of your area.
For instance, if you live in the 6b planting zone but you’re closer to a body of water, you might find that your garden’s micro-climate differs from the general area. You might find your garden space to be more humid. Many factors, including soil type, dew, humidity, and slope, affect the micro-climate.
Consider these factors before you visit the nursery.
Rhode Island: Not Just the Ocean State
Rhode Island’s growing season lasts approximately 150 days of the year. Typically, you can begin planting outdoors at the end of April. Some locations may need to wait until the end of May to start outdoor gardening.
You will want to wait until the year’s last frost has passed before planting sensitive plants outdoors, or you may damage or kill your seedlings.
If you’re planning a vegetable garden in Rhode Island and not sure what to plant, consider planting tomatoes, spinach, or eggplant. Lettuce, peas, and onions also do well in Rhode Island’s planting zones.
Think about planting swamp milkweed, red columbine, or Doll’s eyes in your flower beds. The Wildwood Nursery and Garden Center, located in East Greenwich, Rhode Island, suggest planting American Holly trees, Eastern Red Cedar trees, or Eastern White Pine trees to your landscape.
The good news is each of these varieties of trees is also deer resistant.