Alphabetical Plant Listing

Hardiness Zones / 4

Refine By

thumb grid img

Zone 4

Hardiness zone 4: lowest average temperatures of -30°F to -20°F or -34.4°C to -28.9°C

USDA Hardiness Zone 4 is characterized by a cold climate with average minimum winter temperatures ranging from -30°F to -20°F (-34.4°C to -28.9°C). Despite the challenging conditions, gardeners and landscapers can create thriving landscapes in Zone 4 by selecting cold-hardy plants and implementing specific gardening techniques.

Native plants, which have evolved to thrive in the region's conditions, are often ideal choices. Some trees, shrubs, perennials, and annuals suitable for Zone 4 include:

  • Trees: Red Maple (Acer rubrum), Eastern White Pine (Pinus strobus), and American Mountain Ash (Sorbus americana).
  • Shrubs: Bottlebrush Buckeye (Aesculus parviflora), Redtwig Dogwood (Cornus sericea), and Black Chokeberry (Aronia melanocarpa).
  • Perennials: Lupine (Lupinus spp.), Coneflower (Echinacea spp.), and Coral Bells (Heuchera spp.).
  • Annuals: Cosmos (Cosmos bipinnatus), Nasturtium (Tropaeolum majus), and Sunflower (Helianthus annuus).

To maximize success in Zone 4 gardening, it's essential to employ specific techniques and practices:

  • Microclimates: Utilize microclimates, such as sheltered areas near buildings or windbreaks, which offer slightly warmer conditions for less hardy plants.
  • Mulching: Apply a thick layer of organic mulch to insulate the soil, retain moisture, and protect plant roots from freezing temperatures.
  • Windbreaks: Plant windbreaks or install physical barriers to reduce wind chill, which can exacerbate the effects of cold temperatures on plants.
  • Season extenders: Use cold frames, row covers, or greenhouses to prolong the growing season for vegetables, herbs, and other tender plants.
  • Container gardening: Grow plants in containers that can be moved indoors or to a sheltered location during the coldest months to protect them from harsh winter conditions.

Zone 4 Guides


Season of Interest
Planting Place
article image

Abelmoschus esculentus (Okra)

Grown for its edible fruit, Abelmoschus esculentus (Okra) is an annual boasting hibiscus-like flowers, 2-3 in. across (5-7 cm), in shades of yellow, pink, orange and red with contrasting centers. Blooming freely throughout the growing season, the blossoms give way to fruit capsules that can be used fresh or dried, and can also be cooked on their own or added to soups or stews.

Read More
article image

Abies balsamea (Hudsonia Group) 'Nana' (Balsam Fir)

Highly popular, Abies balsamea ‘Nana’ is a dwarf, aromatic, evergreen conifer of globose habit, forming a broad mound with numerous short branches, adorned with a lush foliage of dark green needles radially arranged around the stems. Slow-growing, 2-3 in. per year (5-7 cm), this Balsam Fir is a great choice for small gardens or rockeries. Perfect for adding year-round color to the garden.

Read More
article image

Abies concolor 'Archer’s Dwarf' (White Fir)

Abies concolor 'Archer’s Dwarf' is a dwarf evergreen conifer of regular, conical habit adorned with slightly ascending branches clothed in soft, silvery-blue, slightly incurved needles. Slow-growing, 3-4 in. per year (7-10 cm), this White Fir is a great choice for small gardens, containers or rockeries.

Read More
article image

Abies concolor 'Candicans' (White Fir)

Regarded as the bluest of all conifers, Abies concolor 'Candicans' is a magnificent large evergreen conifer. Forming a dense pyramid when young, it matures to a columnar, highly symmetrical shape with handsome layered branches smothered by long, silvery-blue needles.

Read More
article image

Abies concolor 'Compacta' (White Fir)

A deservedly popular White Fir, Abies concolor 'Compacta' is a slow-growing dwarf evergreen conifer of great beauty. It forms a dense, compact mound of irregular, spreading shape, unless it is sheared to a conical form. Its branches are beautifully clothed with long and slender, powder-blue needles

Read More
article image

Abies concolor 'Hosta la Vista' (White Fir)

Abies concolor 'Hosta la Vista' is a dwarf evergreen conifer of globose habit, beautifully clothed with long, thick, slightly recurved, blue-green needles adorned with a glaucous, powdery coating. Slow-growing, 1-2 in. per year (2-5 cm), this small White Fir brightens up the garden and makes a lovely addition to small gardens, rockeries or containers.

Read More
article image

Abies concolor 'Piggelmee' (White Fir)

A miniature White Firm cultivar, Abies concolor 'Piggelmee' is a slow-growing dwarf evergreen conifer with a lovely pale blue foliage.

Read More
article image

Abies fraseri (Fraser Fir)

Abies fraseri (Fraser Fir) is a medium-sized evergreen conifer of narrow, pyramidal habit with a spire-like crown and resinous stems densely clad with flattened, short, turpentine-scented needles, shiny dark green above with two silver bands beneath. The seed cones, up to 3 in. long (7 cm), are dark purple when young turning light brown with conspicuously protruding bracts. Held upright along the branches, they create a lovely contrast against the deep green foliage.

Read More
article image

Abies nordmanniana 'Golden Spreader' (Caucasian Fir)

Stately and elegant, Abies nordmaniana 'Golden Spreader' is a slow-growing evergreen conifer of great beauty, particularly in the winter garden. While this dwarf Nordman fir sports a soft green color in summer and fall, its needles turn bright golden-yellow in winter.

Read More
article image

Abronia fragrans (Fragrant Sand Verbena)

Sweetly fragrant, Abronia fragrans (Fragrant Sand Verbena) is an upright or sprawling herbaceous perennial adorned with showy snowballs, 3 in. across (7 cm), packed with 25-70 funnel-shaped flowers. Blooming from spring through early fall, the vanilla scented flowers are usually white, but are sometimes green, lavender or pink.

Read More
article image

Acer ginnala (Amur Maple)

Prized for its small size, fragrant flowers, and attractive fall foliage, Acer ginnala (Amur Maple) is a bushy deciduous shrub or small tree, often with a multi-stemmed trunk and rounded crown.

Read More
article image

Acer griseum (Paperbark Maple)

Noted for its exfoliating bark and showy fall color, award-winning Acer griseum (Paperbark Maple) is a small spreading deciduous tree that is highly desirable. The chestnut-brown bark of both its trunk and branches constantly peels into thin, tight curls, revealing brighter cinnamon-red wood beneath.

Read More
article image

Acer macrophyllum (Bigleaf Maple)

Popular on the Pacific Coast, Acer macrophyllum (Bigleaf Maple) is a large deciduous tree of upright habit with a broad, rounded crown of massive, spreading branches, steeply inclined at the tips. Emerging burgundy in spring, the deeply-lobed leaves, up to 12 in. across (30 cm), mature to dark green before turning brilliant shades of orange and yellow in the fall. These leaves are the biggest ever found on any species of maple, hence the common name.

Read More
article image

Acer negundo (Box Elder)

Hardy and fast-growing, Acer negundo (Box Elder) is a suckering, vigorous, deciduous tree of upright habit with an irregular rounded canopy of widely spreading branches. The opposite, pinnately compound, light green leaves are composed of 3-7 leaflets, 6-15 in. long (15-37 cm), which turn a dull yellow in the fall.

Read More
article image

Acer platanoides 'Crimson King' (Norway Maple)

Majestic, award-winner Acer platanoides 'Crimson King' (Norway Maple) is a vigorous medium-sized deciduous tree prized for its large, rich purplish-crimson leaves that last throughout the summer and its purple fruits. Its oval to rounded, dense crown fills with ornamental clusters of reddish-orange flowers in the spring, just as the leaves emerge. They give way to purple samaras. In the fall, the leaves turn brown, dark maroon or bronze before dropping. Excellent as a shade tree or specimen to add accent to the landscape.

Read More

Refine By

Find your Hardiness Zone

Find your Climate Zone

Find your Heat Zone


Create a membership account to save your garden designs and to view them on any device.

Becoming a contributing member of Gardenia is easy and can be done in just a few minutes. If you provide us with your name, email address and the payment of a modest $25 annual membership fee, you will become a full member, enabling you to design and save up to 25 of your garden design ideas.

Join now and start creating your dream garden!

Create a New Collection

Optional. For your reference.

Move Selected Plants to a Different Collection

Delete Collection

This field is required.

Rename Collection

This field is required.