Zone 2

Zone 2 of the USDA Hardiness Zones encompasses regions with extremely cold climates, characterized by average minimum winter temperatures ranging from -50°F to -40°F. This zone includes parts of interior Alaska and northern Canada, where the harsh conditions require plants to have exceptional cold tolerance. Gardeners in Zone 2 often focus on hardy perennials, shrubs, and trees that can withstand prolonged freezing temperatures and short growing seasons. Examples of such plants include certain varieties of spruce, pine, and juniper. Understanding the limitations and opportunities of Zone 2 is essential for successful gardening in these frigid environments​

What is the climate like in Zone 2?

Gardening in USDA Hardiness Zone 2 presents unique challenges due to its extreme climate conditions. Understanding these challenges is essential for successful gardening and plant survival. Here are the key climate challenges faced in Zone 2:

Zone 2 is characterized by average minimum winter temperatures ranging from -50°F to -40°F (-45°C to -40°C). These frigid temperatures can cause severe damage to plants that are not adequately cold-hardy. Plants must be able to withstand prolonged periods of deep freezing to survive in this zone​.

The growing season in Zone 2 is notably brief, typically lasting only about 90 to 110 days. This short window requires gardeners to be strategic in their planting schedules, ensuring that crops and plants have enough time to mature before the onset of the next winter​.

Frost can occur late in Spring and even Summer (June 1 – June 15) and early in Summer (August 1 – August 15), further shortening the effective growing season. Additionally, heavy snow coverage is common, which can insulate plants but also delay spring planting. The presence of snow can be both a benefit and a challenge; while it protects soil and plant roots from extreme cold, it also means that the soil remains frozen for longer periods, delaying planting times​.

During the winter months, Zone 2 regions experience very short daylight hours and low levels of sunlight, impacting plant growth and development. Gardeners often need to choose plants that can thrive in these low-light conditions or use artificial lighting to supplement natural sunlight during the growing season​.

Soils in Zone 2 can be challenging due to the freeze-thaw cycles, which can cause soil heaving and damage plant roots. Ensuring proper drainage and soil amendments to improve soil structure and fertility is crucial. Additionally, water management is vital as the ground may remain frozen for extended periods, limiting water availability to plants during early spring​.

What is the recommended planting schedule?

Below, you can see the recommended planting schedule for vegetables and herbs.


Plant Sow seeds indoor Transplanting to outdoor Harvesting Month Last date
Cucumber N/A N/A N/A N/A
Brussels Sprouts N/A N/A N/A N/A
Tomato N/A N/A N/A N/A
Spinach May 2 May 12 June 16 August 10
Beets May 9th May 19th July 8th July 13th
Zucchini N/A N/A N/A N/A
Cabbages N/A N/A N/A N/A
Potato May 10 May 20 July 19 July 3
Radish May 19 May 24 June 21 August 2
Broccoli May 8 May 18 July 12 July 8
Carrot May 12 May 26 August 18 June 15
Cauliflower May 13 May 20 July 9 July 16
Onion April 12 April 23 August 19 June 3


Plant Sow seeds indoor Transplanting to outdoor Harvesting Month Last date
Marjoram June 11 June 18 July 23 June 27
Parsley April 24 May 14 July 3 July 20
Dill N/A N/A N/A N/A
Fennel April 30 May 14 July 29 July 6
Sage N/A N/A N/A N/A
Thyme February 29 March 20 May 19 August 9
Oregano January 24 January 31 March 16 November 14
Mustard May 17 May 24 June 23 July 31
Mint N/A N/A N/A N/A
Lavender May 10 May 24 July 3 July 20
Rosemary April 27 May 12 July 31 June 26
Ginger N/A N/A N/A N/A
Basil N/A N/A N/A N/A
Cilantro N/A N/A N/A N/A