The coastal regions of Washington State enjoy a very temperate climate with average extreme winter lows of 20 degrees F. For the past thirty years, the USDA has collected data from weather stations around the country to use for zone determination on their new 2012 plant hardiness map.
Knowing where you are on the Washington plant map is great information to have when you are planning a new garden or just adding to your existing landscape. Experienced gardeners know that there are other factors at play when deciding on which plants to use including soil type, humidity and the effect of microclimates.
Please register to participate in our discussions with 1.5 million other members - it's free and quick! If there's anyone reading this who has lived and gardened in the South (mainly VA, NC, SC, GA), how do the garden pests compare?
We live closer to Seattle than Bellingham too, but I think the gardening should be fairly similar.
It's probably also a good idea to grow varieties of veggies that are suited to this climate. I lived in Sudden Valley and couldn't even grow tomatoes in a pot on the deck, it never got warm enough. There are a bunch of alternative lawn mixes out there ( Ecolawn, ecoturf, fleur de lawn, etc) which are short grasses combined with mini clover and wild flowers.
That was almost always the way it was around here years ago when I was a kid but I've noticed that a fair number of newer homes give the option for built in lawn sprinklers now. This new version of the map is now divided into 13 different zones, each of which represents an area of winter hardiness for plants. The new map uses data collected over the 30-year period 1976-2005, and after the addition of many new measurement stations and detailed reviews by horticulture experts of their specific geographic regions, many zone boundaries have shifted compared to the previous map. Although the recommended Plant Hardiness Zone for a given plant is an extremely valuable tool in determining whether that plant will grow and flourish in your area, the basic requirements of each type of plant must also be considered.


Usually the most critical factor in regulating vegetative growth, flower initiation and development, and the induction of dormancy. Plants survive only when the day length promotes their growth and prepares them for the seasonal changes.
Most plants respond best to a certain amount of sunlight each day, Full Sun, Light Shade, Partial Shade, Full Shade, or Dense Shade.
The amount of heat that a plant can take varies widely from species to species. By tradition we group plants into sun, partial sun, and shade types and plant them according to their light and heat tolerances. There are a lot of cold hardy palms that can grow in the zones 8 and 9 of Washington state.
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New plant hardiness zone map - The Washington Post USDA upgrades Plant Hardiness Zone Map Has your zone changed?
The central and westerly portion of the state, however, could dip down to as low as -30 degrees F. When you use plants appropriate for your growing zone, it is not an absolute guarantee that they will be successful, but it is an excellent place to start.
Start with plants that are recommended for your growing zone and then research other factors that may have an influence on your plants as well.
You can plant spinach, peas, broccoli, collards, garlic, onions, lettuce, etc in both the spring and fall, and they'll mostly successfully winter over. Tomatoes shouldn't go outside til mid May at the earliest, peppers a little after that, eggplants a little after that. We have a very prolific peach tree in our back yard--I don't know the variety, but they are as tasty as any we've had in the south.
Nichols Garden Nursery, Territorial Seed, and Ed Hume Seeds are all Pacific Northwest oriented. So there's a good month or two where you don't have to mow, but the lawns grow here other times of the year where in other places they don't, like February, where you have to wait for a nice day so you can go and get it done.


Department of Agriculture (USDA) released the new version of its Plant Hardiness Zone Map (PHZM), the first major update since 1990. Each zone represents an area where the average annual minimum temperature is within a 10°F range.
Washington has a mild climate with western region located in an oceanic climate and eastern region located more in a continental climate. We also have blueberries, red raspberries, gooseberries, strawberries, asparagus, grapes, apples, pears, rhubarb, artichokes, kiwi, figs, and the usual annual veggies (lettuce, carrots, spinach, radishes, peas, beans, cukes, tomatoes, peppers, squash, pumpkins, potatoes, etc.) which are mostly planted in containers on our sunny garage roof deck to take advantage of the shorter growing season. Plant Hardiness Zones are based on the lowest temperatures that can be expected each year for a given location. We have a drip irrigation system set up for the container garden for the very dry summers we have here. These temperatures are referred to as average annual minimum temperatures, and they play a critical role in the ability of a plant to survive in a specific region.
As far as pests, Ira is right--it's mostly slugs and snails here, but they can do a lot of damage quickly (Sluggo is safe and it works, but is pricey). Not sure how it compares with the southern areas you're familiar with, but we gardened in Florida for several years and had many more garden pests there.
Blueberries do great here.They like a lot of water when you first plant them, raspberries also do great.
So does bindweed,english ivy, and Himalayan blackberries, which I've heard compared to kudzu regarding how it invades.



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