USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map
If you aren’t familiar with plant hardiness/heat zone maps, they help to determine what temperature range is ideal for specific plant species. You will often see the ideal zone range listed on a plant’s tag or in references. Hardiness zones are based on average annual minimum temperatures. (For example, if you live in Zone 5a, your winter temperatures may dip to -15 F). The Asheville area of North Carolina is listed as having a range from 6b-7b. Most plants with 7 listed as their lowest range will make it through the winters here (some extra mulch or protection in winter months helps). If they are listed as 8 or higher, then it is best to treat them as annuals or tropicals. Click here to view the updated 2012 plant hardiness zone map; the map was finally updated from the 1990 version showing significant changes to the temperature zones in the past 12 years (and it is likely we've experienced further changes in the years since).
It's best not to completely rely on the map - listed zones can vary quite a bit depending on a variety of impacts that create microclimates. Large bodies of water can lead to warmer nearby temperatures, valleys can allow for cold air to settle on clear nights, and urban areas are often a bit warmer than surrounding rural environments. Thermal belts can also affect your microclimate - if you live in the foothills or a mountainous region, you may experience a band of warm air that gets trapped between continuous air exchange amidst the valleys and hilltops. You can even experience miniature microclimates surrounding your home; the south side of your house may be as much as a zone warmer than an exposed area on the northern side. For more tips and to help understand the many factors which determine the success of your plants, read more here.
We highly recommend Armitage's Great Garden Plants App for gardening advice and planning. You can find it by searching your app store, and the $4.99 is well worth it. The app is frequently updated, and it is especially helpful for planning pollinator gardens, deer-resistant gardens, and other themes. Check it out!
Pests, Houseplants, Edibles & Pruning Advice:
Pest & Disease Directory - Click here for help identifying garden pests & diseases + organic-safe solutions.
Houseplant Pest ID & Treatment - Click here for a great visual guide to diseases on indoor plants.
The Major Benefits of Houseplants - Click here for a video about the importance of houseplants.
How to Water Your Houseplants - Click here for a guide on how much water you should give varied indoor plants.
Guide to Succulent Container Combos - Click here for step-by-step instructions on beautiful designs!
Vegetable Garden Guide - Click here for a variety of helpful veggie garden tips.
Herb Gardening Guidance - Click here for details on growing & using herbs.
Grow Your Own Herbs - Click here for an easy-to-follow guide to growing herbs successfully.
Kitchen Garden Design - Click here for a basic edible garden design program.
Beginners Guide to Bulbs - Click here for some great tips on how to grow bulbs!
Pruning Guide - Click here for detailed instruction on how & when to prune.
Soil & Compost Guidance:
Soil Calculator - Click here to calculate soil needed to fill your raised beds.
Soil, Mulch & Compost - Click here for a local business that supplies(and delivers) bulk mixes.
Composting Advice - Click here for everything you could ever want to know about composting!
Local Gardening Advice/Help:
Carolina Gardener - Click here for garden & landscape advice for the Carolinas.
NC Cooperative Extension - Click here to learn how your extension office can help (free soil testing & pest diagnosis!)
Native & Eco-friendly Garden Advice:
NCSU – Going Native - Click here to learn about growing native plants.
NC Native Plant Society - Click here to learn about local native plant efforts.
Native Plant Database - Click here for an extensive native plant database.
Bird-Friendly Native Plants List - Click here for a list of 400 plants native to NC that are ideal for supporting birds!
Bird-Friendly Native Plants of the Year Program - Click here to learn about the program, see lots of resources for gardeners and bird-lovers & view a list of local retailers offering bird-friendly plants (yup, we're on it!).
BeeCityUSA Planting Guides - Click here for detailed planting guides & lists of native & pollinator plants for your area!
EcoBeneficial - Click here for a detailed website offering useful tips on gardening to improve our environment!
Great Nearby Botanical Adventures:
North Carolina Arboretum - Click here to plan a visit to their extensive gardens and exhibits!
Asheville Botanical Gardens - Click here to learn about these beautiful local gardens.
Lake Lure Flowering Bridge - Click here to learn about this amazing local icon - one of only two in the country!
Bullington Gardens - Click here to learn about this beautiful public garden dedicated to educating students.
Southern Highlands Reserve - Click here to learn about this peaceful preserve dedicated to preservation of natives.