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Warmer Weather, Changing Gardens

For the first time since 1990, the USDA has updated planting maps based on temperatures. One thing is clear -- the United States is getting warmer.

sprout coming out of the ground

Photo: Zero-X (Flickr)

New plants may be introduced in some areas due to warmer temperatures. Is this good news?

The United States is growing warmer and it’s affecting planting zones.

The USDA has updated its planting zones map for the first time since 1990. The results are startling.

The Plant Hardiness Zone Map is found on the back of seed packets and it shows what can be planted where.

The hardiness is determined by the average lowest temperature in the area. Since many places are not as cold as they used to be, different plants and trees can now survive farther north.

The USDA warns the map isn’t indicative of global warming, and cautions the map is based only on the coldest days of the year.

View the interactive map to see how your neck of the woods is being affected.

USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map

Photo: Courtesy of USDA

The 2012 USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map is the standard by which gardeners and growers can determine which plants are most likely to thrive at a location.

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Liz Leslie

Liz Leslie is a journalist based in Chicago. When she's not writing about food, she's likely eating food. Or dreaming about food.

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