How essential is it to plant within the recommended zone?


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Now that I know my planting zone, I'm trying to make a point to notice the recommended zone on any plants I buy. I'm surprised to have found a plant for sale locally that specifies zone 7, while I live in zone 5. Is it ok to purchase anyway? I wonder if it's a situation where the plant may not reach full potential in this zone - or worse, will it die?

The specific temps for cold hardiness on this plant are 0-10F. In the winter here, it's not unusual to have a few days below 0, but obviously everything is dormant then anyway. I really love the plant and am hoping it can work, but have not purchased yet, because of the zone discrepancy.
 
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If the plant is a perennial, chances are it won't survive the winter. You'll have a nice plant that only lasts one season. For annuals, I don't think it really matters, as long as you wait until your last frost date to plant it. The plant won't last as long, as your warm weather season is shorter. If the plant is being sold at a local nursery, chances are it will grow in your area, they wouldn't waste their money on stock that nobody will buy. If you're not sure, just ask. Most nurseries have knowledgeable, friendly people who are willing to help you.

The more important thing is the sun and water requirements. Most plants that call for full-sun won't grow in shade and vice versa. Also, some plants want to be dry, while others like to be wet.
 
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Hardiness zones are a good guideline but they're not the only thing that can be taken into consideration.

It depends on how sheltered the spot is that it's planted in and even altitude has an effect.

Plants shown as zone 7 tend to be pretty hardy to well below freezing but zone 5 tends to go quite a way below zone 7. If you're in the middle of a reasonably sized town you may find it doesn't get anywhere near as low as it says in the zoning for your area. So you need to take that into account. If you're in an exposed position then it can be debateable whether to try it.

Check what your temperatures really do get down to where you live. If it's not too far below the zone 7 scale then it's worth a try. If it only happens infrequently then you can always protect it a little when the forecast is bad. Plant protective fleece can be used for that.
 
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What is the plant? Do you have a greenhouse or another way to protect the plant if your temperature drops down to 10 degrees? Is it a small or large plant? Does the plant need full sun to flourish or does it grow in the shade? Depending on a lot of other details, you may be able to successfully grow it.
 
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Great suggestio
What is the plant? Do you have a greenhouse or another way to protect the plant if your temperature drops down to 10 degrees? Is it a small or large plant? Does the plant need full sun to flourish or does it grow in the shade? Depending on a lot of other details, you may be able to successfully grow it.
You caught me - I'm still shopping out that pampas grass. :ROFLMAO: The garden center at Lowe's has finally brought it in for the season, but when we went to check it out, I got held up on the zone thing. Dogs or no, I really just love the look of that stuff! I figure it can't hurt... (That situation has gotten comical at this point, all the neighbors annoyed, etc)

Of the options for protecting it, I wonder if I could cover the base at the end of the growing season when it's been cut down. But it's kind of nice to leave through the winter for visual interest. It's in a nice sunny corner, which would be good during the growing time. I just don't know if the root system can handle our winters, with temps under 10F fairly common, and it's not something I would want to be bringing in and out seasonally.

I guess if worse comes to worse, I could take advantage of the 1 year guarantee - but I really hate to. My luck we'd have a light winter next year and it would die the following. :LOL: So I'm trying to figure if I should attempt it at all.
 
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You caught me - I'm still shopping out that pampas grass. :ROFLMAO:...

I guess if worse comes to worse, I could take advantage of the 1 year guarantee - but I really hate to. My luck we'd have a light winter next year and it would die the following. :LOL: So I'm trying to figure if I should attempt it at all.
That 1 year guarantee is with regard to the health of the plant; if it freezes that's on you. Your best bet is to cut the plants back, mulch the crowns, cover with newspaper, then a frost blanket, and maybe even plastic over that. You don't want the blanket directly on the plant as it can transfer the frost, and you don't want the blanket to get wet, hence the plastic.
 
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Good idea, ChanellG, (y)

Pampas grass is a very architectural plant and looks very good. It comes in a number of styles of fronds and in different colours. The ones we have in the garden are the white version but they also come in black and a light red.

If you have young children around they need to be warned about the leaves. They have small barbs all down the edges that can catch and cut the skin. It's not too much of a problem as they only get caught out by it once! :D
 
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That 1 year guarantee is with regard to the health of the plant; if it freezes that's on you. Your best bet is to cut the plants back, mulch the crowns, cover with newspaper, then a frost blanket, and maybe even plastic over that. You don't want the blanket directly on the plant as it can transfer the frost, and you don't want the blanket to get wet, hence the plastic.
This is excellent information, thank you so much. I had no idea the guarantee had limits, or really how to go about covering the plant properly either. Thanks again. :)
 

Pat

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If you are concerned that the plant will not survive the winter plant it in a planter so that you can take the plant indoors when the temps fall.
 
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I strongly feel that one should go by what grows in what zone. I know of some who will try out something and give it the 'exotic' category just because it lived in an area that is normally not the place it should really grow in .
 
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Part of the joy of growing plants is to see how well they can do in your garden even if it's not the perfect environment for it. I grow plants because I like to see those plants, not because I want to show others I can do it.

We are fortunate enough to have enough space to grow a vast amount of 'local' plants and still try other types. A good example is the Camellia. It's supposed to only like acid soil but we have alkali soil. Our Camellia doesn't appear to know it's in the wrong soil as it has been flowering profusely for ten years.

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Also, most of the annuals we grow are not native to our zone but they bring colour at times when our zonal plants don't.

Of course, there are other non-native plants we like to grow because we have a use for them. A good example is chillies which are definitely not from our zone. At the moment I have over 100 plants that are doing very well. I love eating chillies, the hotter the better, and over 50% of ours are Nagas.

I use as many as I want and provide the rest to the Indian community locally. They prefer the fresh ones I grow to the ones that have to be imported for sale and they make a donation to the charity that I support. This helps the charity, they get what they prefer and we save the transport costs and (minimally) the environment.

The plants that we grow for our hanging baskets are, also, not right for our zone but look great - and we love them.

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It is my view that if it involves a small adjustment trying out those that do not grow in a particular zone is worth going in for. But not something that needs a totally simulated environment. Example - tulips. India is growing them but at great cost.
 
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Ahh! You're talking about on a commercial scale. That's a different matter but I must assume that the tulips wouldn't be grown unless it was financially viable.

In this country we grow, commercially, many things that would appear to be expensive. This may not necessarily be the case when you take into account the cost of transport and to the environment of transporting those things. I guess there's a fine line between the two.

A good example are tomatoes in this country. They are grown commercially in enormous greenhouses with plenty of heating early in the year. This is still better from an environmental point of view, as well as commercially, from importing them.

Of course, it would be even better if we didn't use things like tomatoes and could save both cost and environment - but society doesn't work that way. As it happens, we are able to grow tomatoes domestically by sowing them in the warmth of our homes and then only planting them out, mainly in unheated greenhouses, when the weather is suitable. This reduces the growing season by a couple of months.

From a garden point of view, I think that people should be able to try and grow whatever takes their fancy. :)
 
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Ahh! You're talking about on a commercial scale. That's a different matter but I must assume that the tulips wouldn't be grown unless it was financially viable.

In this country we grow, commercially, many things that would appear to be expensive. This may not necessarily be the case when you take into account the cost of transport and to the environment of transporting those things. I guess there's a fine line between the two.

A good example are tomatoes in this country. They are grown commercially in enormous greenhouses with plenty of heating early in the year. This is still better from an environmental point of view, as well as commercially, from importing them.

Of course, it would be even better if we didn't use things like tomatoes and could save both cost and environment - but society doesn't work that way. As it happens, we are able to grow tomatoes domestically by sowing them in the warmth of our homes and then only planting them out, mainly in unheated greenhouses, when the weather is suitable. This reduces the growing season by a couple of months.

From a garden point of view, I think that people should be able to try and grow whatever takes their fancy. :)
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I remember when I was holidaying in Kashmir which is much cooler than where I live, I looked at all those apples and decided to take a sapling with me. It did not live. As you say, there is a line that needs to be drawn which is sometimes thin and sometimes thick. We should look for those thin lines. I have just bought some seeds to grow multi coloured roses. I have given them to a friend of mine who is trying her hand and hopefully there should be results but let me say it is difficult to grow such roses in the climate that we are in. And as you say the joy one gets when one succeeds is another story.
 
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If you have problems growing roses you may be able to get some help from one of our members - Woo - who is a rose expert. Although he does grow them in England. :)

I like India, (y) what part are you from?
 
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If you have problems growing roses you may be able to get some help from one of our members - Woo - who is a rose expert. Although he does grow them in England. :)

I like India, (y) what part are you from?
India as you know is a huge country and there are parts where roses and other flowers that like a cool climate do well but not where I live. I live in the South. I have roses in my garden but when compared to what grows in cooler areas they need effort.
 
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The last time I was touring India was 18 months ago. We had a wonderful time. We did the Golden Triangle, then Bombay, Goa, Karnataka and Kerala - then on to Sri Lanka. It's a while since we have done the East coast.

We love the country, people, history, architecture and food - but I'm not keen on the humidity in the south. :)
 
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The last time I was touring India was 18 months ago. We had a wonderful time. We did the Golden Triangle, then Bombay, Goa, Karnataka and Kerala - then on to Sri Lanka. It's a while since we have done the East coast.

We love the country, people, history, architecture and food - but I'm not keen on the humidity in the south. :)
I am glad you like India. It is so diverse that each State is so different from the other. You must have liked the Goa beaches.
 
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I'm not really a beach sort of person so, although I think that they and the sea look beautiful, I don't use the beaches. The history of the areas, the culture and the way people live is more the thing I'm interested in. Absorbing the local atmosphere is a favourite pastime and going to markets is a good way to do that.

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We try to do that all over the world. Attempting to learn the local customs and a few words in the language of the country helps us to be more accepted wherever we go.

The food is another major interest and we're always trying new things. (y)
 

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