Zone 5

USDA Hardiness Zone 5 covers areas with average minimum winter temperatures ranging from -20°F to -10°F (-29°C to -23°C). This zone includes parts of the central United States, such as portions of Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, and New York. Gardeners in Zone 5 benefit from a moderate growing season, typically lasting from late April to early October. Despite the relatively cold winters, a wide variety of plants, including many perennials, shrubs, and trees, can thrive here. Key to successful gardening in Zone 5 is selecting plants that are cold-hardy and capable of maturing within the zone’s growing season​.

What is the climate like in Zone 5?

Zone 5 experiences average minimum winter temperatures between -20°F and -10°F (-29°C to -23°C). These cold temperatures can damage or kill plants that are not sufficiently hardy. It is important to choose plants that are well-adapted to these conditions and to provide adequate winter protection for more sensitive species.

Frost dates can vary significantly within Zone 5, typically with the last frost occurring in late April to early May and the first frost arriving in early to mid-October. This variability requires gardeners to carefully plan their planting and harvesting schedules to avoid frost damage and to maximize the growing season.

Snowfall in Zone 5 can be both a benefit and a challenge. While snow provides natural insulation for plants and soil during the winter months, it can also delay spring planting as the snow needs to melt and the soil needs to warm up. This delay can impact early season crops and soil preparation.

The growing season in Zone 5 generally lasts from late April to early October, providing a window of approximately 150 to 180 days. This is a moderate length growing season, allowing for a wide variety of plants to be grown, but still requiring careful selection of plant varieties that can mature within this timeframe.

Freeze-thaw cycles during the winter and early spring can lead to soil heaving, which may damage plant roots. Proper soil preparation, including the addition of organic matter and mulch, can help mitigate these effects by improving soil structure and moisture retention. Ensuring good drainage is also crucial to prevent waterlogging during thaw periods.

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 April 27 May 7 June 11 August 29
Beets June 5th June 15th August 4th July 20th
Zucchini N/A N/A N/A N/A
Cabbages N/A N/A N/A N/A
Potato June 5 June 15 August 14 July 5
Radish May 28 June 2 June 30 August 17
Broccoli June 5 June 15 August 9 July 21
Carrot May 2 May 16 August 8 June 25
Cauliflower May 19 May 26 July 15 August 3
Onion May 17 May 26 Sept 23 June 4


Plant Sow seeds indoor Transplanting to outdoor Harvesting Month Last date
Marjoram N/A N/A N/A N/A
Parsley May 2 May 23 July 12 July 29
Dill N/A N/A N/A N/A
Fennel April 30 May 14 July 29 July 7
Sage N/A N/A N/A N/A
Thyme Feburary 28 March 20 May 19 September 3
Oregano May 26 June 2 July 17 July 31
Mustard May 26 June 2 July 2 August 15
Mint N/A N/A N/A N/A
Lavender May 19 June 2 July 12 August 5
Rosemary April 22 May 7 July 26 July 15
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