Planting in zones 3, 4, and 5.

  • Published: Jul 23, 2023
  • Written by JOSEPH PLITT
  • Topics:
Planting in zones 3, 4, and 5.

When should I order and install my landscape this year?  Is it too soon to plant in March? Is it too late to plant in July? Why is it best to plant in the fall and winter in southern states? Why is it bad to plant Azaleas and Rhododendron when they are blooming? 


The one thing that ties all of these locations is the sustained cold during winter. When the ground is frozen or there is a foot of snow on the ground, it's a bit tough to think about planting shrubs and trees much less actually planting them. For your location its simple, once the nightly low temperatures are remaining about 32 during springtime, its time to plant! You may continue planting throughout spring and summer. Once August and September arrives, you will want to begin making final decisions as the cold weather will arrive soon. Be sure to spend fall and early winter trimming and mulching. Once freezing temps start, the plant will pull moisture out of the branches to conserve energy, mulch will help protect the root system from the cold. During heavy snow events, it might be a good idea to shake snow off of evergreens that have flexible branching as they can brake under the weight of the snow. 


So in zone 3, 4, and 5, it seems like spring and summer planting is the best, why? Once new plantings are installed, they begin growing roots and establishing themselves in their new home. All plantings in your area will need as much time as possible to grow as many new roots as possible before winter sets in. In your area all plants roots will become dormant during the coldest months of the year. Planting in November can be risky since the roots will soon become dormant. If they have not had any time to establish themselves at all and the fully freeze, they could easily become damaged and possible kill the plant. 


What if it gets warm in March and I want to plant early? It's best to wait. When you buy plants from us or other nurseries, the plants are most likely grown in warmer climates. During early spring they may already have flowers or even leaves on them during March. If you are planting plants that have new growth, your local weather may get cold again. The new leaves and flowers that popped out in a warmer climate may become damaged if freezing temperatures come again.


Can I grow plants in ceramic or plastic pots and leave them outside all winter? Most likely no. In your area it sometimes gets so cold that planters may crack and even break if the moisture in the soil expands as it often does during hard freezes. Many plants will not tolerate a frozen root system in an above ground pot. 


Even though your planting time is the most limited than any other region of the country, your planting choices are many and your success at growing shrubs and trees can be very good with the correct soil, water, and timing. Your summers are often less hot and humid than many other locations, the plants love your summers! 


Lots of Plants grows at two locations, one in Oregon and one in North Carolina. Both locations are zone 7. Many of our plants are ready very early or very late in the season. Some of our most interesting plants are released even in January and sell out by March. We know that many months are not ideal an ideal planting time for you which is why we created a ship later calendar in checkout. You may see a new introduction in January. If you know you want to get this new plant in May, it's best to order as soon as possible and pick a ship date in May. We will hold your plant until your chosen date and will not ship it prior to that chosen date. It's a great way to secure your plants without having to worry that they will sell out before the weather warms up. We try our best to not run out of stock but there are literally some plants that we may only be able to release 50 for the whole year. 


Be sure to be on the lookout for new plants, sale items, and planting tips in our timely emails sent out from time to time. We hope this information is useful, if you have questions for us at any time, please reach out via phone 888-491-0484 or our email-


Here is a link to all plants suitable for zone 3:


Here is a link to all plants suitable for zone 4:


Here is a link to all plants suitable for zone 5: