Simple Heat Zone Map is Handy for Internet Plant Shopping

Jessy, the miniature Norway Spruce. Picea abies 'Jessy'

A true miniature Norway Spruce, Jessy grows less than 1″ per year and can tolerate the cold and the heat.

Simple Heat Zone Map is Handy for Internet Plant Shopping

Do you buy plants on the Internet?

Are you wondering how you can know for certain what plants you can grow in your area?

As gardeners, we have been trained to look at the cold hardiness of the plant to see if it can survive the winter but, for the warmer States, there are different concerns.

A recent email from Burbank, California, spawned a search on whether Dwarf Alberta Spruces (Picea glauca) can survive in a railroad garden that gets several 100 degree Fahrenheit days in the middle of tAd-FallPlanting - 1he summer. Referencing the American Horticultural Society’s Heat Zone Chart, we find that the heat zones in Burbank (heat zone 8 ) are outside the recommended zones for the Dwarf Alberta Spruce (heat zones 6-1). From this research, it looks like he would have better success with a Dwarf Norway Spruce (Picea abies, heat zones 8-1) instead.


Note that because the Norway Spruces are on the edge of the recommended heat zone for Burbank, CA, and we know they like their roots to remain cool and damp, a simple mulch applied in springtime can help that garden railroader maintain the dampness in the soil, keep the roots happy which will keep the Dwarf Norway Spruces happy.

And everyone is happy! ;o)

Short Needle Mugo Pine. Pinus mugo 'Short Needle.'

A true miniature Mugo, the Short Needle is hardy – but not heat hardy enough for Batan Rouga, LA.

Another email from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, asked whether the Mugo pines (Pinus mugo, heat zones 7-1) would work in his garden. The pines are really tough plants but, referencing the heat zone chart, they are just outside of the Louisiana heat zone 9, and are not recommended. There are just too many hot days for the Mugos to survive.

Now, that said, gardening is a personal and sometimes, a very arbitrary hobby. What works for one gardener may not work for another. In each and every State, there are many microclimates and something as simple as a different garden bed on the shaded side of the house may be just fine for one conifer, but not for another wanting a different set of growing conditions.

You can find out more about heat zones in The American Horticultural Society A-Z

Getting to Know America's Favorite Miniature Garden Center,

Find everything you need to know to get started in the hobby with the bestselling Gardening in Miniature book from the world’s top garden publisher, Timber Press! 

Encyclopedia of Garden Plants where they have comprehensive listing of (almost) any plant grown in the States today and the heat zones for each plant are within the individual listing. The latest version is the 2004 edition with an orange coneflower on the front cover. It is a truly wonderful reference book for the dedicated gardener.

Online, you can find a more heat zone chart information from their website at: (It used to be searchable, if you are ordering plants from our store, we can help you look yours up for you.)

As the golden rule suggests, choose right plant for the right place for the best success!

See what we have in our online nursery here.

Join our mailing list for more miniature garden goodness here and get your free Best of the Mini Garden Gazette download immediately after you confirm your subscription through your email.

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  2. […] Choosing plants outside of your cold or heat zone will not work. Note that there are heat zones too. […]


  3. […] online store so you know exactly what you can plant with success for your area. For warmer regions, please consult this blog post to get to know what plants can tolerate the heat in your area. The Miniature Canada Hemlock […]


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