What Gardening Zone Is Detroit Michigan


Do you want to ensure that your garden in Detroit Michigan thrives? Knowing the gardening zone of Detroit Michigan is key to understanding what plants will do best in the area.

Overview of Detroit and Its Geographical Location

Detroit is a major port city located in the southeastern corner of Michigan. The city sits on the western bank of the Detroit River and extends to Lake St. Clair to its north, while Lake Erie lies southeast of Detroit. It is part of the Great Lakes region, which includes Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

The hardiness zone for Detroit is 6a. This means the average annual extreme low temperature for Detroit ranges from -10°F to -5°F. In general, chillier temperatures are to be expected closer to Lake Erie than those south near the center of the state. Winters can be moderate in their severity but generally long due to an extended transition between spring and summer seasons (typically 7-9 months). Lush green vegetation persists throughout these months during mild weather years due to a temperate climate with precipitation spread evenly throughout all four seasons. The chilly temperatures contribute to a healthy winter snowfall range with 8”-16” per year possible over much of southeastern Michigan counties including: Genesee County that contains Flint; Oakland County where you can find Rochester Hills; and parts of Wayne County like Dearborn Heights — all clustered around metropolitan Detroit stretching up almost past Flint by approximately 120 miles away.

How To Determine Your Gardening Zone

Step 1: Locate your city or town from a US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Plant Hardiness Zone Map. This can be found online or in publications such as gardening magazines and seed catalogs.

Step 2: Note the color-coded zone designated next to your city/town. In Detroit, Michigan, the official Hardiness Zone is 6b.

Step 3: Read up on the recommended planting dates, lowest expected temperatures, and other helpful information that applies to your specific Hardiness Zone 6b, provided by the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone map.

Detroits Gardening Zone

Detroit is located in the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Zone 6a. This means that the average minimum temperature for Detroit during the year ranges from -10 to -5 degrees Fahrenheit (-23.3 to -20.6 Celsius). As a result, many annual plants such as tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, and squash can grow in the warmer months of April and May without protection from frost. Perennial flowers and shrubs will also thrive with plenty of sunlight in the area’s humid climate.

Vegetable Gardening Tips Peppers

Some plants suitable for zone 6a gardens in Detroit are:

Flowers: Zinnias, Marigolds, Rudbeckias, Lilies, Peonies

Shrubs: Buttonbush, Rose of Sharon (Hibiscus), Dwarf Forsythia, Dwarf Burning Bush

Trees: Bald Cypress, Red Maple or Sugar Maple (Acer rubrum or Acer sacchrinum), American Beech (Fagus grandifolia), Eastern White Pine (Pinus strobus)

Grasses: Blue Fescue (Festuca glauca), Tufted Hair Grass (Deschampsia cespitosa)

Spreading Plants & groundcovers: Threadleaf Coreopsis (Coreopsis verticillata), Pachysandra terminalis

What Can You Grow in Detroits Gardening Zone

Detroit, Michigan has a USDA Growing Zone of 6a. This zone is determined by cold temperatures ranges and the timing of when a typical last frost takes place.

Using this information, you can grow various types of plants in Detroit that are suitable for zones 5-7 including:

Annuals – Annuals like marigolds, petunias, zinnias, lantana and salvia require full sun and plenty of water to thrive. They need to be planted after all danger of frost has passed and will typically last until the first frosts arrive at the end of the season.

Perennials – Hardy perennials such as daylillies, lavender, chrysanthemums, Japanese anemone and coral bells also fair well in Detroit’s hardiness zone and will return year after year if cared for properly. Full sun is best for most perennials but some do well in partial shade as well.

Trees – Trees such as fruit trees (apple and peach), flowering trees (dogwood), ornamental trees (Japanese maple)and evergreens(cedar)are also popular choices for Detroit’s climate. All should be planted in late winter or early spring before any new growth begins on the tree itself. Make sure to use mulch to help keep moisture around roots during dry spells and fertilize as necessary.

Shrubs – Other possible shrub choices include rhododendron, azalea bushes for flowering or boxwoods for greenery; hydrangea bushes may also be grown depending on their soil needs. To reduce maintenance time in caring for your shrubs they should be pruned both while dormant in late winter/early spring and after a flush of blooms in late summer/fall have died off.

Ground Cover – Have large areas or slopes? Ground cover plants like sedum are perfect solutions providing both low maintenance needs and cover quickly with minimal effort over a short period of time; they prefer sunny locations with good drainage to get started quickly!

Tips for Growing a Successful Garden in Detroit

Detroit, Michigan falls under the USDA’s hardiness zone 6a, which is one of the ability to grow specific plants in a given area based on certain climate characteristics. This means that you should be able to grow a variety of veggies and warm-season annuals such as tomatoes, peppers, okra, sweet potatoes and squash even with Detroit’s cooler summers.

Gardening Holidays

For those looking for some real success in gardening in Detroit there are a few tips from experienced Detroit gardeners to help ensure your garden thrives;
• Invest in seed starting soil and lights indoors or use a greenhouse for early starts on tomatoes and other heat loving plants (Avalon International Breads uses this method).
• Plant robust herbs such as thyme and oregano along with vegetables that can tolerate cooler temperatures including snow peas, kale, radishes and leeks.
• Extend your season with mulch when it’s dry to trap moisture, plastic tunnels or cold frames over heat loving crops if gardens are short on space.
• To avoid being overwhelmed decide what amount of space you have and commit to planting only a few things that will work in an urban environment – no need for wide rows of crops! (iUrban Grower & Urban Roots Detroit use this technique).
• Download one of the garden planning apps availible such as Square Foot Gardening or Garden Plan Pro – this will help maximize space resourcefully (see What’s In My Garden app) .
• Check out the community gardens in your neighborhood for inspiration -such as Whitcomb Community Garden where Master Gardeners from University of Michigan Extension provide assistance throughout the year.


Detroit, Michigan is in the United States Department of Agriculture Gardening Zone 6a. If you plan on starting a garden in Detroit, make sure to select plants that are specifically designed to thrive in zone 6a like trees, shrubs, and groundcovers that are drought-tolerant, natively adapted and low maintenance. Additionally, add mulch or compost annually to the soil for added nutrition and moisture retention. Check out gardening resources at local stores or libraries for more detailed instructions on planting new gardens in zone 6a!

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