Virginia Beach, VA USDA Hardiness Zone Map & Planting Guide - The Garden Magazine (2024)

Welcome to the vibrant world of gardening in Virginia Beach, where the sun-drenched coastal climate and fertile soil create an ideal environment for cultivating a wide variety of plants. Situated in USDA hardiness zone 8a, this region offers a unique set of conditions that gardeners can leverage to create stunning landscapes and bountiful harvests. With an average annual minimum temperature range of 10 to 15 degrees Fahrenheit (-12 to -9 degrees Celsius), Virginia Beach provides a mild winter climate that allows for year-round gardening.

In this article, we will explore the specific characteristics of gardening in Virginia Beach, including the diverse plant options, seasonal considerations, and essential tips for success in this thriving gardening community. Whether you are a seasoned gardener or just starting out, this guide will help you unlock the full potential of your garden in Virginia Beach.

What is Virginia Beach’s USDA hardiness zone?

The USDA hardiness zone is a classification system used to determine the suitability of plants for specific geographic regions based on their ability to withstand the average minimum winter temperatures. In the case of Virginia Beach, it falls under USDA hardiness zone 8a. Zone 8a is characterized by an average minimum winter temperature range of 10 to 15 degrees Fahrenheit (-12 to -9 degrees Celsius). This means that plants suitable for this zone should be able to tolerate these temperatures without suffering significant damage or death.

In Virginia Beach, the climate is generally mild, with hot and humid summers and cool winters. The proximity to the Atlantic Ocean and the Chesapeake Bay helps to moderate temperatures, preventing extreme cold or heat. With the specific hardiness zone in mind, gardeners in Virginia Beach can choose plants that are well-suited for this region. Some popular choices for zone 8a include:

Trees: Southern magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora), crepe myrtle (Lagerstroemia indica), and live oak (Quercus virginiana) are commonly grown in this zone.

Shrubs: Azaleas (Rhododendron spp.), camellias (Camellia spp.), and butterfly bush (Buddleja davidii) are popular choices for their vibrant blooms and ability to thrive in the local climate.

Perennials: Daylilies (Hemerocallis spp.), black-eyed Susans (Rudbeckia spp.), and coneflowers (Echinacea spp.) are well-suited for Virginia Beach gardens.

Vegetables: Warm-season vegetables like tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers thrive in the long, hot summers, while cool-season crops such as lettuce, broccoli, and carrots can be grown in the milder winters.

Herbs: Basil, rosemary, and thyme are among the herbs that can be successfully grown in Virginia Beach’s zone 8a.

It’s important to note that while the hardiness zone provides a general guideline for plant selection, other factors such as soil type, sunlight exposure, and moisture levels should also be considered when choosing plants for your garden. Additionally, microclimates within your specific location may exist, which can slightly alter the growing conditions and expand the range of plants that can be successfully cultivated. By understanding the USDA hardiness zone and considering the specific conditions in Virginia Beach, gardeners can make informed decisions about plant selection and create thriving gardens in this region.

When can you plant your garden in Virginia Beach?

In Virginia Beach, the ideal planting times for various plants can be determined by referring to the USDA hardiness zone. Virginia Beach falls under USDA hardiness zone 8a, which means it experiences an average minimum temperature range of 10-15°F (-12 to -9°C).

For cool-season vegetables like lettuce, spinach, and peas, the ideal planting time is in early spring, around March or April, when the soil temperature reaches around 40-50°F (4-10°C). These crops can also be planted in late summer or early fall for a second harvest.

Warm-season vegetables such as tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers require warmer soil temperatures, ideally around 60-70°F (15-21°C). Therefore, it is recommended to plant them in late spring or early summer, typically in May or June, after the last frost date.

Perennial flowers and shrubs can be planted in Virginia Beach throughout the year, but the best time is during the spring and fall seasons. This allows the plants to establish their root systems before the extreme temperatures of summer or winter.

Annual flowers, on the other hand, can be planted after the last frost date, usually in late April or early May. These plants thrive in the warm summer temperatures and provide vibrant colors to your garden.

It is important to note that these are general guidelines, and specific plant varieties may have different planting requirements. Always refer to the seed packet or plant label for accurate information on planting times and conditions. Additionally, local weather conditions and microclimates can also influence planting times, so it is beneficial to observe the local climate patterns and consult with local gardening experts or extension offices for more precise recommendations.

What grows well in Virginia Beach?

Virginia Beach falls under USDA hardiness zone 8a, which means it has an average minimum winter temperature of 10-15°F (-9.5 to -12.2°C). Here is a comprehensive list of plants that generally grow well in this zone:

  • Crepe Myrtle (Lagerstroemia indica)
  • Red Maple (Acer rubrum)
  • Southern Magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora)
  • Dogwood (Cornus florida)
  • Live Oak (Quercus virginiana)
  • Bald Cypress (Taxodium distichum)
  • Eastern Red Cedar (Juniperus virginiana)
  • Sweetbay Magnolia (Magnolia virginiana)
  • American Holly (Ilex opaca)
  • Eastern White Pine (Pinus strobus)
  • Azalea (Rhododendron spp.)
  • Camellia (Camellia spp.)
  • Boxwood (Buxus spp.)
  • Dwarf Yaupon Holly (Ilex vomitoria ‘Nana’)
  • Abelia (Abelia spp.)
  • Rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus)
  • Beautyberry (Callicarpa americana)
  • Virginia Sweetspire (Itea virginica)
  • Winterberry Holly (Ilex verticillata)
  • Nandina (Nandina domestica)
  • Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta)
  • Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea)
  • Daylily (Hemerocallis spp.)
  • Hosta (Hosta spp.)
  • Bee Balm (Monarda spp.)
  • Phlox (Phlox spp.)
  • Coreopsis (Coreopsis spp.)
  • Salvia (Salvia spp.)
  • Sedum (Sedum spp.)
  • Tickseed (Coreopsis grandiflora)
  • Petunia (Petunia spp.)
  • Marigold (Tagetes spp.)
  • Zinnia (Zinnia spp.)
  • Impatiens (Impatiens spp.)
  • Geranium (Pelargonium spp.)
  • Begonia (Begonia spp.)
  • Coleus (Solenostemon spp.)
  • Snapdragon (Antirrhinum majus)
  • Lobelia (Lobelia spp.)
  • Vinca (Catharanthus roseus)
  • Confederate Jasmine (Trachelospermum jasminoides)
  • Trumpet Vine (Campsis radicans)
  • Carolina Jessamine (Gelsemium sempervirens)
  • Honeysuckle (Lonicera spp.)
  • Clematis (Clematis spp.)
  • Virginia Creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia)
  • Wisteria (Wisteria spp.)
  • Crossvine (Bignonia capreolata)
  • Climbing Hydrangea (Hydrangea anomala subsp. petiolaris)
  • Passionflower (Passiflora spp.)

Remember to consider factors like soil type, sunlight exposure, and moisture requirements when selecting plants for your specific garden. It’s always a good idea to consult with local nurseries or gardening experts for more specific recommendations based on your garden’s conditions.

What won’t grow in Virginia Beach?

In Virginia Beach, which falls under USDA hardiness zone 8a, there are certain plants that may not thrive due to the region’s climate and growing conditions. Here are some examples:

  1. Blueberries (Vaccinium spp.): Blueberries prefer acidic soil, which is not typically found in Virginia Beach. The alkaline soil in the area may make it challenging for blueberries to grow and produce fruit.
  2. Rhododendrons (Rhododendron spp.): While some varieties of rhododendrons can tolerate zone 8, the hot and humid summers in Virginia Beach may cause stress and damage to these plants. They may struggle to establish and bloom consistently.
  3. Lilacs (Syringa spp.): Lilacs require a period of winter dormancy with cold temperatures to thrive. The mild winters in Virginia Beach may not provide the necessary chilling hours for lilacs to flower abundantly.
  4. Peonies (Paeonia spp.): Peonies prefer a cold winter period to set buds and bloom well. The relatively mild winters in Virginia Beach may not provide the required chilling hours, resulting in reduced flowering.
  5. Japanese Maples (Acer palmatum): While some Japanese maple cultivars can tolerate zone 8, the hot and humid summers in Virginia Beach may cause stress and leaf scorch. These trees may require extra care and protection from the intense sun and heat.
  6. Delphiniums (Delphinium spp.): Delphiniums prefer cooler climates and may struggle with the hot and humid summers in Virginia Beach. They may not bloom as prolifically and may require extra attention to prevent heat stress.
  7. Hellebores (Helleborus spp.): Hellebores can struggle in the hot and humid conditions of Virginia Beach. While they may survive, they may not thrive and may require extra care to maintain their health and vigor.

It’s important to note that while these plants may face challenges in Virginia Beach, it doesn’t mean they cannot be grown successfully with proper care, microclimate adjustments, and suitable soil amendments.

Virginia Beach, VA USDA Hardiness Zone Map & Planting Guide - The Garden Magazine (2024)


What garden zone is Virginia Beach, Virginia in? ›

Virginia Beach, VA is in Zone 8b. Scroll down for more information. The USDA Hardiness Zone Map divides North America into 11 separate planting zones; each growing zone is 10°F warmer (or colder) in an average winter than the adjacent zone.

What growing zone am i in Virginia? ›

Northern Virginia falls primarily into Zone 7b (specifically Arlington and Alexandria). But in looking at a slightly wider geographic area, it ranges from Zone 6b to Zone 8b. This is based on data including frost dates, soil type, and rainfall.

When to plant tomatoes in Virginia Beach? ›

Planting Dates for Spring
CropBased on Frost Dates Based on Moon Dates
Start Seeds IndoorsPlant Seedlings or Transplants
TomatoesFeb 6-20 Feb 9-20Apr 17-24 Apr 17-23
WatermelonsMar 13-27 Mar 13-25Apr 17-24 Apr 17-23
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What is the difference between zone 7a and 7b? ›

Zones 7a and 7b both have a medium-length growing season. Zone 7a's minimum average temperature is 0 to 5 degrees, and Zone 7b's minimum average temperature is 5 to 10 degrees. The last frost date is around April 15, and the first frost date is around November 15.

Is Virginia zone 7a or 7b? ›

This means about half of the country has moved into a warmer hardiness zone. Here at home, Albemarle County and much of Central Virginia are now classified as zone 7b, rather than the previous 7a. Elsewhere in the Commonwealth, nearly every city in the Hampton Roads region has moved from zone 8a to zone 8b.

What zone is Norfolk VA for gardening? ›

Virginia Beach, Hampton, Portsmouth, and Norfolk, formerly in Zone 8a are now considered Zone 8b.

Where is zone 7a in Virginia? ›

List of 1990 Hardiness Zones for Cities in Virginia
LocationHardiness Zone
AppomattoxZone 7a: 0°F to 5°F
Aquia HarbourZone 7a: 0°F to 5°F
AraratZone 7a: 0°F to 5°F
ArcolaZone 6b: -5°F to 0°F
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When to plant a garden in VA? ›

In the early spring (even before the threat of frost has completely gone away), many bare root perennials (those that are dormant and therefore not actively growing) can be planted. But fall, when the weather begins to cool but the soil is still warm, is actually a really great time for planting.

What grows best in zone 7b? ›

Asters, astilbe, bee balm, cannas, coneflowers, crocus, daffodils, delphiniums, glads, hibiscus, hostas, hyacinths, irises, jasmine, lilies, peonies, phlox, salvia, sedum, succulents, tulips, and yarrow are among the Zone 7 plants we recommend.

What month do you plant tomatoes in Virginia? ›

Be sure to time your seed starting by sowing seeds five to seven weeks before the last average frost date. In Central Virginia, the average last frost date for plant hardiness zone 7a is April 15 to 25. This makes March a good time to start those tomato seeds growing in the local area.

What month should you plant tomatoes? ›

Dry soil is warm soil. Soil that has warmed earlier than usual can be planted to tomatoes earlier than usual. After March 15 is a sure bet for when to plant tomatoes in most of Southern California, but — as my gardening calendar also notes — plants grow according to the environmental conditions, not the calendar.

When to plant garlic near Virginia Beach, VA? ›

Garlic, elephant garlic and Egyptian walking onions: All varieties are best planted in the fall. Some softneck varieties can be planted very early in the spring if necessary, but yields will be greatly reduced. In a moderate climate such as Virginia, the best planting time is mid-October to mid-November.

Is Zone 7 colder than Zone 5? ›

Each Zone is 10°F warmer (or colder) in an average winter than the adjacent Zone. The lower the Zone number, the colder the region.

Is zone 6b colder than 6a? ›

Each zone is further broken down into A and B, with A denoting the colder half and B denoting the warmer half. So, the average minimum temperature in zone 6a is -5°F to -10°F, and the average minimum temperature in zone 6b is 0°F to -5°F.

Is zone 6 colder than zone 8? ›

A plant that is hardy in zone 8 – 10 probably will not survive a zone 6 winter since there is a 20 degree average low difference, but you may find success growing a zone 8 – 10 plant in zone 7, or a zone 7 plant in zone 6.

What zones are in Virginia Beach? ›

According to the 2023 USDA Hardiness Zone Map Virginia Beach, Virginia is in Zones (), 8a (10°F to 15°F), 8a (10°F to 15°F), 8b (15°F to 20°F), 8b (15°F to 20°F) and 9a (20°F to 25°F).

Where is Zone 7 in Virginia? ›

List of 1990 Hardiness Zones for Cities in Virginia
LocationHardiness Zone
ArlingtonZone 7a: 0°F to 5°F
ArodaZone 7a: 0°F to 5°F
ArringtonZone 7a: 0°F to 5°F
ArvoniaZone 7a: 0°F to 5°F
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What zone is Chesapeake, VA? ›

Chesapeake is in USDA hardiness zone 8a.

What climate zone does Virginia reside in? ›

Virginia's weather has been described as a "Goldilocks Climate" – not too hot and not too cold – and is officially considered a humid, subtropical region due to winter frost.

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