Growing the Best Plants in Tennessee with Planting Zones TN

Gardening in Tennessee can be both a rewarding and challenging experience. As the weather conditions in this state vary from season to season, you need to make sure that you choose plants wisely so they will thrive. With the right knowledge of planting zones TN and other local gardening tips, you’ll have a beautiful garden in no time!

What Are Planting Zones TN?

Planting zones are geographic areas which indicate what type of plants can survive and grow best in each area based on its average annual minimum temperature range. Planting zones TN include all of Tennessee, as well as parts of Kentucky, Arkansas, Missouri, Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia. Knowing your specific zone is key to growing successful gardens since different plants require different temperatures in order to thrive.

What Type of Plants Should I Grow in Tennessee?

Tennessee has a variety of climates, so depending on where you live in the state, there will be some differences in the types of plants that can successfully grow there. Most commonly found are native trees, shrubs, vines, wildflowers, grasses, sedges, rushes, ferns, cacti, and succulents. The USDA Hardiness Zone Map helps gardeners decide what types of plants will work best for their particular area by providing an indication of the lowest winter temperatures expected in each zone.

What Does The USDA Hardiness Zone Map Tell Us?

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) divides the country into 11 hardiness zones. These correspond with average minimum winter temperatures throughout the U.S., with zone 1 being the coldest and zone 11 being the warmest. All of Tennessee falls within zone 6 or 7, with zone 6 covering the northern part of the state and zone 7 covering the south. This means that most perennials should do just fine in either zone, although those from more extreme climates may not fare as well here.

Factors That Affect Growing Seasons in TN

Apart from temperatures, other factors like rainfall, soil type, light exposure, and air circulation also affect plant growth in Tennessee. It is important to understand these when deciding which plants to put in your garden as they can greatly impact how healthy and vibrant they become over time. For example, wetter climates tend to favor herbaceous species while drier regions are better suited for woody ones. Additionally, sandy soils can retain less water than clay-based ones, so it would be wise to take that into consideration when planning out your garden beds.

Creating a Beautiful Garden With Native Plants

Native plants are adapted to the climate and soil of a given region and therefore require less maintenance once established than non-native varieties. By using natives in your garden design, you’ll save yourself from having to worry about fertilizers and extra waterings to help them stay healthy – plus they provide valuable habitat for birds and butterflies! Some examples of native plants suitable for planting zones TN include azaleas, witch hazel, loblolly pines, sweetbay magnolias, and goldenrod.

planting zones tn

Climate-Specific Advice for TN Gardeners

When gardening in Tennessee, one must pay close attention to regional climate patterns. Generally speaking, summers are hot and humid with frequent thunderstorms while winters bring cold snaps followed by thaws during late February or March. The spring months offer ideal conditions for sowing seeds while fall brings shorter days and cooler temperatures perfect for transplanting seedlings. Therefore, it is important to consider your specific planting window before getting started.

Choosing Perennials Over Annuals for Longer Lasting Color

While annuals bloom brightly for a short period each year, perennials come back every season to offer more color diversity and texture to your outdoor spaces. Moreover, many flowering varieties will rebloom if cut regularly and deadheaded correctly. Furthermore, perennial plants are often quite drought tolerant – an especially useful trait for times when rain is scarce. Some recommended selections include coreopsis ‘Zagreb’, dianthus ‘Bath’s Pink’, black-eyed susans, coneflower ‘Magnus’, phlox paniculata ‘Bright Eyes’, and Shasta daisy ‘Alaska’.

Selecting Herbs for Southern Cooking

Growing culinary herbs such as basil, rosemary, sage, thyme, chives and oregano is a great way to add flavor to your dishes without breaking the bank at the grocery store. Each of these delicious flavors thrives well in Tennessee’s warmer climate; however they may need extra protection against colder weather if grown outdoors. Consider moving your containers indoors when necessary or building protective structures around them in order to ensure success.

Using Drought Tolerant Options to Conserve Water

Given that much of Tennessee experiences dry spells due to limited rainfall during certain months of the year, choosing drought tolerant plants is key to conserve resources. Cacti and succulents are naturally low-water requiring specimens but even traditional flower options can survive with minimal irrigation through careful selection. A few easygoing choices include blanket flowers, black-eyed Susan’s creeping zinnias, cosmos, globe amaranth yarrows and vinca vine.

Planning Ahead When Planting Bulbs

Most bulbs such as tulips, crocuses and daffodils need to be planted several weeks before the ground freezes over – usually during early November. On the other hand, summer blooming types like lilies should wait until the risk of frost has passed before going into the ground (usually mid April). Be mindful of timing when planting bulbs as they will not reach their full potential otherwise!


Gardening in Tennessee can be an enjoyable pastime that yields beautiful results if done correctly. To get started on the right foot it is important to familiarize yourself with planting zones TN and related garden tips before selecting which plants will go into your space. Take into account all climatic conditions including temperature ranges as well as soil composition and moisture levels to create a lush landscape full of thriving vegetation!

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