Zone 5 Herbs in Sault Ste Marie (Zone 4)
Answered by: Conrad Richter
Question from: Zofia Beloshchenko
Posted on: January 08, 2005

I received my 2005 herb catalogue and am eagerly planning my garden but I have two questions.

1) I live in Zone 4 (Goulais River, ON - that’s 40KM north of Sault Ste. Marie, ON), and many of the plants I would like to grow are listed for zones 5 and above. What will happen if I try to grow them anyway?

It is possible to "push" plants to survive in areas one zone colder than their hardiness ratings indicate. Overwintering conditions such as snow cover, mulch, weather conditions, drainage, and others, all have a role in whether a plant survives a winter or not. You may find that some zone 5 plants survive in your area four years out of five; but in the fifth year the temperatures may drop too low and kill your plants despite your best efforts to protect them.

2) Some plants and herbs have no zone listing at all. Are they safe to grow anywhere?

Those are annuals and the zones do not apply to annuals. The zone ratings indicate where overwintering biennials and perennials will survive. In most areas, annuals can be grown successfully provided there are enough frost-free days. Where summers are short, it may be necessary to start the annuals indoors for planting in the garden when the threat of frost is over in spring, just as you would for tomatoes, petunias and marigolds.

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