USDA Zone 5 Gardening
Hardiness Zone 5 Gardens
Your garden's success is, in large part, based on planting suitable crops for your climate. Here, we'll focus on Zone 5 plantings. Some major US cities that fall in USDA Zone 5 are Chicago, Illinois, Cleveland, Ohio, Detroit, Michigan, Minneapolis, Minnesota, Omaha, Nebraska, Portland, Maine and Providence, Rhode Island. Below, there are resources to help you find your specific USDA zone and alternatives to that system.
USDA Hardiness Zone 5
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) defined geographical zones of Canada, the US and Mexico in which a specific category of plants is capable of growing, as defined by its ability to withstand the average annual minimum temperatures of the zone.
This system leaves out other important climactic data such as high summer temperatures, humidity, soil moisture and snow cover insulation.
Extend the Gardening Season
This animation illustrates the general warming that has occurred from 1990 to 2006. Click the play button to see how the hardiness zones have changed.
Arbor Day Foundation Hardiness Zones
The Plant Hardiness Zones divide the United States and Canada into 11 areas based on a 10 degree Fahrenheit difference in the average annual minimum temperature. (The United States falls within Zones 2 through 10). For example, the lowest average temperature in Zone 2 is -50 to -40 degrees Fahrenheit, while the minimum average temperature in zone 10 is +30 to +40 degrees Fahrenheit. See more.
Suggested hardiness zones have been indicated for all trees and perennials available online from the Foundation. If a range of zones, for example, zones 4-9, is indicated, the tree or perennial is known to be hardy in zones 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9. Suitable hardiness means a plant can be expected to grow in the zone's temperature extremes, as determined by the lowest average annual temperature.
Keep in mind that local variations such as moisture, soil, winds, and other conditions might affect the viability of individual plants.
You may want to ask a local professional arborist or nursery about which trees to plant in your community.
· ADF Hardiness Zone Finder by zip code
· Become an ADF Member and get 10 free trees
US Sunset Climate Zones
A plant's performance is governed by the total climate: length of growing season, timing and amount of rainfall, winter lows, summer highs, wind, and humidity.
Sunset's climate zone maps take all these factors into account, unlike the familiar hardiness zone maps devised by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which divides most of North America into zones based strictly on winter lows.
The U.S.D.A. maps tell you only where a plant may survive the winter; our climate zone maps let you see where that plant will thrive year-round.
Sunset's 45 Climate Zones consider temperature as well as other important factors:
Generally, the farther an area is from the equator, the longer and colder are its winters. Closer to the poles, the number of daylight hours increases in summer and decreases in winter.
Gardens high above sea level get longer and colder winters, often with intense sunlight, and lower night temperatures all year.
- Ocean influence
Weather that blows in off the oceans and the Great Lakes tends to be mild and laden with moisture in the cool season.
- Continental air influence
The North American continent generates its own weather, which - compared with coastal climates - is colder in winter, hotter in summer, and more likely to get precipitation any time of year. The farther inland you live, the stronger this continental influence. Wind also becomes a major factor in open interior climates.
- Mountains, hills, and valleys
In the West, the Coast Ranges take some marine influence out of the air that passes eastward over them. The Sierra-Cascades and Southern California's interior mountains further weaken marine influence.
From the Rocky Mountains to the Appalachians, continental and arctic air dominate, with moist air from the Gulf pushing north during the warm season.
During winter, Arctic outbreaks are most intense between the Rockies and the Appalachians. Both ranges act as barriers that limit the influence of the cold beyond them.
Local terrain can sharply modify the climate within any zone. South-facing slopes get more solar heat than flat land and north-facing slopes. Slope also affects airflow: warm air rises, cold air sinks.
Because hillsides are never as cold in winter as the hilltops above them or the ground below them, they're called thermal belts. Lowland areas into which cold air flows are called cold-air basins.
Microclimates also exist within every garden. All else being equal, garden beds on the south side of an east-west wall, for example, will be much warmer than garden beds on the north side of the same wall.
Indicator Plant Examples - Using USDA data
Acer palmatum (Japanese maple)
Cornus florida (flowering dogwood)
Cotoneaster microphyllus (small-leaf cotoneaster)
Deutzia gracilis (slender deutzia)
Euonymus fortunei (winter-creeper)
Rosa multiflora (multiflora rose)
Chives, Lovage, Tansy, Most Mints, Bee Balms, Catnip, All Buddelia davidiis, Calamintha, Lavandula angustifolias and Lavandula x intermedias, Rue, All Salvia officinalis, Winter Savory, Costmary, Feverfew, Cat Thyme, French Tarragon, Wormwood, Southernwood, Bronze Fennel. Ground Cover Thymes: Lavender, Lemon Frost, Caraway, Lime and Mint, Upright Thymes: Pennsylvania Dutch Tea Thyme, Italian Oregano Thyme, Orange Balsam Thyme, Silver, Lemon and English Thymes.
Aster - Daisy like perennials in shades of pink and purple - fast growing - full sun - blooms early fall
Bee Balm - Attracts butterflies, hummingbirds and bees - partial sun - blooms July-August
Black Eyed Susan - Easy to grow - full sun - blooms July - September
Clematis - Prefers heavy mulch - full sun - blooms June- September
Cone Flower - The famous Echinacea purpurea that is used as a herbal remedy - attracts butterflies and bees and grows in partial sun - blooms July - October
Geranium - Cut back in early summer for repeat bloom time in fall - full sun with partial afternoon shade - blooms in fall.
Hibiscus - Tropical looking large blooms - plant in full sun
Iris - Tons of colors and varieties on this tall flower that likes full sun and blooms in late spring - summer.
Peony - Big Bushy blooms with a subtle scent - partial sun - bloom in mid spring.
Sedum - Hardy perennial plant attracts butterflies and bees - partial sun - blooms August - September
Verbena - Clumps of colorful flowers - it's cascading trails are perfect for planters and baskets - full sun - can bloom from spring to frost if dead flowers are trimmed. Attract butterflies.
Vegetable Planting and Harvesting Calendar - Zone 5
Tim's Square Foot Garden Planting Calendar
Note: The seeds that are started indoors are allowed to germinate indoors and then moved immediately out to the cold frame.
Mid to late February:
- Put together cold frame and place it onto an area of the garden where warm weather crops will be grown. This will allow time for all seedlings to fully mature in the cold frame before removal.
Last week in February or first week in March:
- Start seeds of lettuce indoors. Exact date will vary depending on the weather.
- When weather permits, empty both compost bins and place about a 1 to 2 inch layer of compost over all garden beds.
First or second week of March:
- Start seeds of celery, cabbage, broccoli, and brussel sprouts indoors.
Third week in March:
- Start seeds of peppers, and tomatoes indoors.
First week in April:
- Onion seedlings/slips arrive via mail and are planted directly out into the garden.
- Transplant lettuce seedlings out into the garden under hoop house if the seedlings are big enough. They are usually big enough when they just start to get their second set of true leaves.
Second week in April:
- Continue to transplant lettuce seedlings out into the garden under the hoop when they get big enough.
- Plant pea seeds directly out into the garden
Third week in April:
- Transplant broccoli, cabbage, and brussel sprout seedlings out into the garden.
- Start seeds of cucumbers in cold frame.
- Plant certified seed potatoes out into the garden.
Fourth week in April:
- Transplant tomato and pepper seedlings into bigger pots.
- Start more heat tolerant lettuce seeds indoors like butter head and romaine varieties.
First Week in May:
- Start harvesting a few of the small leaves on your early planted lettuce.
- Start harvesting green onions, if large enough. Harvest about half of the topsetting onions for green onions before the plants get too big.
- Start a few more heat tolerant lettuce seed varieties outside on the covered back porch.
- Transplant celery seedlings out into the garden
- Plant corn seeds directly out into the garden.
Second week in May:
- Take apart cold frame and put away until next spring.
- Transplant pepper, tomato, and cucumber seedlings out into the garden.
- Plant seeds of bush green beans and pole lima beans directly out into the garden.
Wow, take a break and start harvesting all of those fresh vegetables!!
Third or fourth week in June:
- Pull up the garden peas and replant with bush green beans.
First week in July:
- Start seeds of fall broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower on covered back porch.
- Not much else to do in the garden so I am Going Fishing!!
Second week in July:
- Pull up cucumber vines. By this time the cucumbers are finished producing, for the most part. This seems to help out the pepper plants that are growing in close proximately.
Third week in July:
- If the majority of the onion plant tops have fallen over, pull them up and clip the tops off and let them dry/cure for about 10 days on screens over the garden plot where they were grown.
- Pull up walking/egyptian top setting onions and clip tops and/or bottom bulbs and allow to dry until October.
First week in August:
- Plant bush green beans seeds directly into the garden where the spring planted onions grew.
- Transplant out into the garden the broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower seedlings. Make sure to keep these seedlings well
- Plant carrot seeds directly out into the garden. Keep seed bed shaded, if possible, and well watered.
Second or third week in August:
- Plant bush green bean seeds into corn plot when corn is finished.
- Start seeds of fall lettuce on the covered back porch
Take a break!! Tomato and pepper plants should be producing a nice harvest about now!! Enjoy the lazy late summer afternoons. You will find me fishing a lot this time of year.
First or second week in September:
- Transplant lettuce seedlings out into the garden. Make sure to keep these seedlings well watered!!
Month of October:
- Keep a row cover handy to keep frost off of late planted beans.
- Keep the carrot and lettuce plots covered with hoops to keep them growing throughout the fall. Harvest the lettuce as needed.
- As heavy frost approaches, cover broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower plants. This keeps the plants actively growing until harvest.
- Around the third or fourth week in October, pull up the pepper plants and replant the area with topsetting onion tops that have been drying since late July. New green growth should be visible from these onions in about 2 to 3 weeks.
Month of November:
- Cover all unused garden areas with 2 to 3 inches of shredded tree leaves.
- After first hard freeze, cover topsetting onions with a thin layer of shredded tree leaves.
- Start harvesting carrots when they mature. Mulch the carrot bed with a 1-inch layer of shredded tree leaves.
Month of December:
- Finish harvesting lettuce. If the weather stays relatively warm, expect to harvest lettuce nearly all the way through December.
- Finish harvesting the carrots. In past years, I have harvested carrots into early January.
Now, take about two months off. Use this time to plan for next year's garden. Make sure to order your seeds early enough to have them in time to start your spring garden.
- Average First and Last Frost Dates by State
Use this section of our site as a guide to help you estimate the average date on which can expect the last frost to occur in the late winter / spring as well as the first one in the fall.
- Zones 5-6 Planting Schedule
This schedule is a general guide for the zone, please check with your local extension office for precise information for your specific area.
- Search the Heritage Perennials Plant Database
Search by Plant Name/Description, USDA Zone Number, Perennial Height, Foot Traffic, Growth Rate, Sun Exposure, oil Type, Soil Moisture, Soil pH, Care Level, Flower Colour, Blooming Time, Foliage Colour, Plant Uses & Characteristics