The 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. The map is based on the average annual minimum winter temperature, divided into 10-degree F zones.
But what many don’t understand is that the map is not meant to be a tried and true hardiness indicator for every single location. Your particular location can be colder and hotter than other areas within the specified zones. It is impossible for an accurate degree of certainty from the climate zone map.
For years, at our farm, we could tell that our temperatures were hotter in the summer and colder in the winter than what is normally listed on the climate zone map for our area. Technically we are in zone 8B, but we have temperatures more indicative of zone 7a in the winter. But 8 miles away, where the weather station for our zip code is, it’s a 5-7 degree discrepancy in temperatures. We’re hotter in the summer and colder in the winter than 8 miles away.
So to learn more about out weather, we purchased and installed a weather station. This is a very handy tool as it calculates temperatures, rainfall, wind speed, barometric pressure and humidity. We mounted it on a pole outside near our garden, set up the internal receiver, connected it to the computer, and thanks to technology, we can not view all of this from our smart phones wherever we are! Pictured below is our weather station that we can access anytime, anywhere!
Over the past year since we have installed our weather station, we have learned a great deal about our weather here in our small piece of the world.
When you are considering planting and hardiness, get to know your own location, use the climate zone map as a general guideline, but make sure you know how accurate it is to your own location. You will want to make a qualified decision about where and when to plant your Camellias and other plants so they will grow beautifully!