By Colleen McKenna

In Canada, the country is split up into a series of climate zones. There are nine zones in total, from 0 being the harshest to 8 being the mildest. These were determined by Natural Resources Canada taking into account all the climate factors affecting each different region. Anyway, I won’t bore you with the details.

Edmonton is located in zone 3b (minimum temperature -37.2 to -34.5°C or -35 to -30°F). Now you can use this as your guide to what plants will grow best in your yard. Plants from zone 0 to 3 will grow best in our area. But remember this is just a guide. Everyone’s yard is different and even in the same yard there are different climate zones which are called microclimates. For example, in my yard there are some protected areas that zone 4 plants are thriving in. Now if you feel more adventurous, you can try to push the zone (within reason) by trying zone 4 or 5 plants. However, you will probably need to provide winter protection and if we have a harsh winter…well your plant(s) still might go to plant heaven. But I still say nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Now some plants are coming from the US which uses a different system. USDA plant hardiness map divides North America into 11 zones. Zone 1 is the coldest and zone 11 is the warmest. Our area is equivalent to their zone 3 (minimum temperature -40 to -34°C or -40 to -30°F). But remember this is also just a guide to help you decipher those plant tags.