Sunset Plant Zones: How to Determine What to Grow

Plant zones break the landscape up into various climate conditions to better prepare gardeners about what might grow well in a specific area. Sunset Western Garden Book splits the 13 Western States along with Alaska and Hawaii into 24 different climate zones. The Sunset National Garden Book is out of print, though still available on Amazon, and splits the entire nation up into 40 distinct garden zones.

How are Sunset Zones Different?

United States Department of Agriculture zones consider only the frosts for an area. However, viability of a plant can be determined by much more than the lowest cold temperatures.  For this reason, the Sunset zones consider the following attributes of the climate: latitude, elevation, ocean influence, continental ocean influence, mountains, valleys and hills, as well as temperature highs and lows. By considering a multitude of other factors instead of just low temperatures, the Sunset climate zones are far more specific to the area and provide a much more detailed idea of which plants might do better than others.

Selecting Plants

By using Sunset Western Garden Book and CD Rom, as well as the Sunset website, specific plants can be found for individual Sunset climate zones. Also offered is information regarding detailed planting, pruning, and tending instructions along with species variations.