Western States - The Best Plants to Grow in Your Garden
The Western US, covering a vast range of geographical areas, presents diverse climates. Sunset Climate Zones, a detailed system created specifically for the West, is a helpful guide for selecting plants in this region.
Sunset divides the Western US into 24 climate zones, considering factors such as winter lows, summer highs, length of growing season, humidity, and rainfall. This information is critical for choosing plants that will thrive in your specific location.
The coastal areas, Sunset Zones 15-17, are influenced by the Pacific Ocean, with a Mediterranean climate of wet winters and dry summers. Here, consider plants like California poppy, lavender, or rosemary.
Inland areas, like Sunset Zones 8-14, experience more temperature extremes. For hot, dry areas, consider drought-tolerant plants such as agave or red yucca. In cooler, higher altitude regions, native conifers or aspen may be ideal.
The Southwest deserts, Zones 10-13, demand plants adapted to aridity and heat. Consider desert-adapted species like palo verde or penstemon.
Additionally, microclimates within your garden, caused by factors such as shade, wind, and proximity to buildings, can significantly affect plant selection.
Remember, water conservation is essential in the arid West, so choosing native or drought-tolerant plants, using proper irrigation methods, and employing mulch can all aid in creating a water-wise garden. And of course, work with your local extension service or nursery professionals—they’re great resources for plant selection advice specific to your area.