Tennessee Hardiness Zones: 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a
The inland state of Tennessee has six major geographical areas including mountains, valleys, plateaus, highlands, farmlands and plains. The temperature is reflected in the geographical regions, with the plateaus and mountain ranges being cooler in temperature than the valleys and plains.
Tennessee has moderate year-round weather, featuring cool winters with very little snowfall and warm and muggy sunny summers in a subtropical climate. In the winter, temperatures are in the range of the mid-40s while summer averages temperatures in the high 80s.
Tennessee has a great growing season, between 160 – 220 days, with ample precipitation. The last frost can be any time between the end of March and the end of April, depending on location, and the first frost in the fall is usually not until November. There are many fruits, vegetables and plants that can thrive in Tennessee growing zones.
- The only area of Tennessee in USDA zone 5b is small section in the mountains. The higher altitude makes this the coldest region of the state.
- If you live in the northeast region from about Cookville to Knoxville, or in the mountains along the border of North Carolina, you are likely in USDA zone 6a, 6b or 7a. Most plants from zone 1 through 7a will survive winters in this region.
- Much of the rest of the state is USDA zone 7, where the lowest temperature in winter is typically between 0 and 10 degrees F.
- The southwest corner of the state is the warmest in zone 7b with a very small pocket south of Memphis falling into zone 8a.
As you can see on the map above, growing zones in Tennessee range from 5b to 8a, according to the 2012 USDA map data. You can find which zone you live in by finding your location on the map; you can also search by zip code. Once you have found your area, you compare the color on the map with the legend.
This will let you know what zone you live in. The zones let farmers and gardeners know what plants will thrive in their region. Keep in mind these zones are just a suggestion.
There will be factors that may slightly change your zone. A good rule of thumb is to talk to your local greenhouse and nursery to get suggestions on plants that will do best for you.
Tennessee: Enjoying Your Prime Growing Location
There are dozens of plants that can grow in Tennessee due to the warm weather and long growing season.
According to the Institute of Agriculture in Tennessee some of the best vegetables to plant in Tennessee are squash, peppers and eggplants because these vegetables thrive in hot temperatures. Kale is a good option for both spring and fall planting.
Another option is to grow plants that mature quickly but like it cooler, and grow these in the early spring, and then again in the late summer. This would help them be harvested before it gets to hot and then after the hottest weather has passed. A great example of this would be peas.
You can see that it is very possible to have a successful garden in Tennessee. Even better, a garden that can produce food year round!
As long as you are taking your hardiness zone into consideration and planting at the right time, you can get a great harvest year after year.