Click on the image above to see a larger version.
Using Montana Planting Map for the Best Garden
The vast majority of the state of Montana falls into Montana USDA growing zones 3a, 3b, 4a, 4b, 5a, and 5b. There is a small section in the northwest region of the state that falls into a 6a-growing zone. This growing map is used to determine which plants, trees, and shrubs will overwinter without damage in particular areas.
The new 2012 USDA plant hardiness map is the result of 30 years of data collection from over 8,000 weather stations throughout the country. The map, which formerly considered only average extreme winter low temperatures, now factors in essential data regarding elevation, urban heat, and proximity to large bodies of water. With the new data and a significant winter warming trend across the country, many zones have shifted up from previous versions of the map.
Although no gardener should take the Montana planting map as an absolute guarantee, the information is extremely valuable. To find your location on the Montana plant map, enlarge the map above and determine your zone or visit the USDA site where you can put your zip code into the new interactive feature.
When selecting plants for your garden, it is wise to use the USDA plant hardiness information as a foundation. Most local greenhouses and nurseries will carry trees, shrubs, and flowers that are suitable for your region.