Climate Considerations

Our county has a high native plant diversity mainly because of its topography. Elevations range from about 450 feet in foothill communities such as El Dorado Hills to over 10,000 feet above sea level at the summit. (See our Ecology page for more information.)

If you are familiar with the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone information, you know you need to consider your elevation in selecting plants: Do you live at 1500 feet (early dry summers with little winter frost)? or above 4000 feet (later summers and some winter snow)?

Some plants don’t do well in some elevations in our county. Your beautiful nursery plants might have even been grown in greenhouse conditions in the Sacramento Valley, and won’t necessarily transition well to our higher elevations.

Be sure and choose natives that have the correct plant hardiness for your location. Zone information for a plant species can often be found on the nursery tag, in a plant guidebook, or in online plant guides. Before you head to the nursery, check the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone for your location.

Click image to enlarge.
USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map for Northern California. Image courtesy of the US Department of Agriculture – Agricultural Research Service and Oregon State University.