What is My Planting Zone? Florida Hardiness Guide

Jamie Tedder

When planning your landscape, it’s essential to consider the plants that will thrive in your specific growing conditions—from the grass underfoot to the vegetables served on your table and the trees overhead. In 2023, the USDA released an updated Plant Hardiness Zone Map to help gardeners and landscapers determine which plants will most likely thrive in specific locations.

What is the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map?

The USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map is a color-coded map of the US that divides the country into zones based on average annual low temperatures. These zones are displayed in 10-degree increments, ranging from Zone 1, the coldest, to Zone 13, the warmest. This map is an essential tool for gardeners and growers, as it rates plants according to their hardiness and identifies the specific areas where each plant can grow.

Plants are generally labeled with a hardiness zone number, indicating the areas where they can thrive. For example, bermudagrass is labeled hardy in zones 7 to 10, meaning it can survive in areas with minimum temperatures as low as 0°F to 45°F.


Source: IFAS Extension University of Florida

What is My Planting Zone in Florida?

Florida is divided into four main planting zones, ranging from 8b to 11a:

Panhandle: Zones 8B or 9A

North Florida: Zones 9A or 9B

East Coast, Central, and Southwest Florida: Zones 9B to 10B

Southeast and South Florida: Zones 11A and 10

You can use the USDA website to find your plant hardiness zone in Florida. Enter your zip code and zoom in to locate your area on the map. Match the color of your location to the Florida planting zone map legend to the right to determine your hardiness zone.


Source: US Department of Agriculture

Understanding the Florida Plant Hardiness Zone Guide

Each zone in Florida has distinct characteristics that influence which plants thrive best in those regions. Understanding these zones is essential for selecting the right plants and ensuring a thriving, beautiful landscape year-round.

Zone 8 (10 to 20 °F)

Zone 8 encompasses much of the Panhandle, including Tallahassee, Destin, and parts of Panama City. It is known for its warm climate, experiencing average minimum winter temperatures ranging from 10 to 15 degrees Fahrenheit in Zone 8a and 15 to 20 degrees in Zone 8b. This region is ideal for various perennials, shrubs, and trees that can tolerate occasional frost.

Zone 9 (20 to 30 °F)

Zone 9 covers coastal Panhandle cities like Pensacola and the rest of Panama City. It also includes much of the top two-thirds of the state, including major cities like Jacksonville, Kissimmee, Gainesville, Lakeland, Orlando, and Ocala. Areas in Florida within Zone 9 are known for their year-round planting potential. With minimum average temperatures of 20 to 25 degrees Fahrenheit in Zone 9a and 25 to 30 degrees in Zone 9b, it is perfect for a wide range of vegetables, citrus trees, and flowering plants that enjoy mild winters.

Zone 10 (30 to 40 °F)

Zone 10 includes many coastal areas in Florida, such as Tampa, Clearwater, Sarasota, Naples, Vero Beach, West Palm Beach, Ft. Lauderdale, and parts of Miami. With minimum temperatures of 30 to 35 degrees Fahrenheit in Zone 10a and 35 to 40 degrees in Zone 10b, this zone supports a tropical paradise of plants. Here, you can successfully grow tropical fruits like mangoes, avocados, and various exotic flowers.

Zone 11 (40 to 50 °F)

Encompassing the rest of Miami and the Florida Keys, Zone 11 is the warmest zone in Florida. Zone 11a has minimum average temperatures between 40 and 45 degrees Fahrenheit, while Zone 11b ranges from 45 to 50 degrees. This region is perfect for the most sensitive tropical plants, including rare palms, orchids, and other tropical species that cannot tolerate frost.


Growing Grass in Florida

The warm temperatures and varying degrees of humidity in Florida make it ideal for warm-season grasses like Bermuda, St. Augustine, and Zoysia.

Bermudagrass is an excellent option in Florida, from Zones 8 through 11. It thrives in full sun and is highly drought-tolerant, making it ideal for areas with hot summers and occasional dry spells. Meanwhile, St. Augustine is best suited for Zones 9 and 10 and is known for its shade tolerance and ability to thrive in the humid coastal regions of Florida. On the other hand, Zoysia grass is a versatile option, performing well in Zones 8 through 10. It is also known for its tolerance to heat and moderate shade, making it appropriate for various landscapes.

By understanding your planting zone and following these tips, you can successfully grow and maintain a beautiful, resilient lawn using warm-season grass in Florida.

Bethel Farms is one of the trusted sod farms in Central Florida, providing a wide range of high-quality warm-season grass varieties for sod installation. Visit our website to learn more.