Planting Zones in Wisconsin: Understanding Your Climate


Wisconsin ClimateSource:

If you’re planning to start a garden in Wisconsin, one of the most important things to consider is your planting zone. Planting zones are determined based on the average minimum temperature in a given area, which can affect which plants can thrive in your garden. In this article, we’ll explore the different planting zones in Wisconsin and how to determine which zone you’re in.

What Are Planting Zones?

Usda Planting ZonesSource:

Planting zones are a system used by gardeners and farmers to determine which plants are likely to thrive in a given area. The system was developed by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and is based on the average minimum temperature in a given area. The colder the winter temperatures, the lower the planting zone number.

Understanding Wisconsin’s Climate

Wisconsin WeatherSource:

Wisconsin’s climate is characterized by cold winters and warm summers, with an average annual temperature of around 43 degrees Fahrenheit. The state experiences a wide range of temperatures throughout the year, with average highs ranging from the mid-20s in January to the mid-70s in July. Precipitation is also variable, with some areas of the state receiving over 40 inches of rain annually while others receive less than 20 inches.

Planting Zones in Wisconsin

Wisconsin Planting ZonesSource:

Wisconsin is divided into four planting zones, ranging from zone 3 in the north to zone 5 in the south. Zone 3 is the coldest zone in the state, with average minimum temperatures ranging from -30 to -40 degrees Fahrenheit. Zone 5 is the warmest zone, with average minimum temperatures ranging from -10 to -20 degrees Fahrenheit. The zones are further divided into subzones based on local climate variations.

Determining Your Planting Zone

Usda Hardiness Zone MapSource:

To determine which planting zone you’re in, you can use the USDA’s Hardiness Zone Map. The map is divided into 10-degree increments and color-coded based on planting zone. To use the map, simply locate your area on the map and match the color to the corresponding planting zone.

Choosing Plants for Your Zone

Wisconsin Native PlantsSource:

Once you know your planting zone, you can choose plants that are likely to thrive in your area. Many garden centers and nurseries label their plants with the corresponding planting zone, making it easy to choose plants that are well-suited to your climate. You can also choose plants that are native to Wisconsin, as these plants are well-adapted to the local climate and soil conditions.

Other Factors to Consider

Wisconsin SoilSource:

While planting zones are an important factor to consider when planning your garden, they’re not the only factor. Other factors that can affect plant growth include soil type, sunlight exposure, and moisture levels. Be sure to choose plants that are well-suited to your soil type and light conditions, and water your plants appropriately based on their needs.


Understanding your planting zone is an important first step when planning a garden in Wisconsin. By choosing plants that are well-suited to your climate and soil conditions, you can create a beautiful and thriving garden that will provide enjoyment for years to come.

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