The USDA’s Gardening Zones Shifted. This Map Shows You What’s Changed in Vivid Detail

May 13, 2024 | Source: NPR | by Daniel Wood, Connie Hanzhang Jin, Brent Jones and Jeff Brady

Recently, the USDA updated its plant hardiness map for the first time in 11 years.

If you’re a gardener — and everybody can be a gardener, even on a balcony or a stoop — this is a big deal!

The updated map opens up new possibilities for home gardeners, but there are limits. Let’s explore how the map has changed and what this means for your garden.

Most of the changes across the country are due to the warming climate.

Winters are warming at a faster pace than other seasons, according to Deke Arndt, director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Centers for Environmental Information.

At the same time, an increase in the amount and quality of data collected at weather stations across the country helped to improve the overall accuracy of temperature readings in recent years.