This article was last updated by on

What To Plant In Zone 5? [Plant Calendar Guide]

Despite the freezing temperature of USDA Zone 5, you can still plant and enjoy some cold-hardy flowers and vegetables.

Generally, Zone 5 has a short growing season from late summer to mid-fall. Crops and flowers like cabbage, lettuce, asparagus, carrots, radish, etc., can grow best in this zone. It’s best to start the seeds in late winter and transplant them later in the spring.

Also, be prepared for the destructive late frost that can occur anytime in early spring and ruin your recently planted crops.

If you are new to Zone 5 owning a vegetable and flower garden, this article will help you fill your garden with cold hardy plants without fail.

All About Zone 5

Zone 5 is one of the thirteen USDA zones with a short growing season lasting from late summer to mid-fall.

Further, this zone is divided into 5a and 5b, considering the average minimum temperature of -15 to -20°F for 5a and -10 to -15°F for 5b.

Moreover, zone 5 has a frost-free period from early June to early September experiencing snowy winter and cool summer.

This zone starts from the Northeastern United States, including parts of New England and Mid-Atlantic states.

Furthermore, it reaches the northern part of the Central U.S., including Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, and Wisconsin.

Lastly, this zone ends after covering Montana, Wyoming, Northern California, Oregon, Washington, and Idaho lying in the Northwest.

While covering Northeastern to Northwestern parts, Zone 5 includes some parts of Colorado, Nevada, and Alaska.

You can grow a wide variety of annual vegetables and flowers without any difficulties until they face damaging late frost.

Plants growing in Zone 5
Germinate and grow the seeds indoors to save your annual plants from the last frost.

However, some hardy perennials have the ability to survive even on frosty nights and can remain dormant till early spring.

Growing MonthsPlants to Start
JanuaryPlan warm season vegetables, sow onion seeds to start indoors
FebruaryStart vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, eggplants, rosemary, snapdragons, etc., (indoors)
MarchNigella, Poppy , Larkspur, etc.,
AprilAsparagus, mustard, peas, carrots, potatoes, poppy, Strawberries, raspberries, etc., and shade trees like maple, weeping willow, etc,.
MayLadyfinger, pumpkins, melons, brinjal etc (indoors)
Mustard, turnip, leaf lettuce, spinach, radish, onion, etc. (outdoors)
JuneWarm season vegetables like bean, squash and cucumbers.
July Radish, turnips, carrots, beets, kale, cabbage, squash, etc.
AugustGreen leafy vegetables and peas.
SeptemberSpinach, chard, Radish
OctoberGarlic, perennial onions, shallots and spring flowering bulbs
NovemberSpring flowering bulbs

Tips to Grow Plants in Zone 5

Since Zone 5 has a cold climate, select cool-season crops and flowers for your garden. Start the seed indoors if you want to grow warm-season crops.

However, ensure to work on the soil and sow the seeds outdoors only after the soil warms up after the freezing winter.

Spring Season

Months of March, April, and May fall under this season. The growing season in Zone 5 starts in early spring.

  • Clean the leftover debris and prune fruit trees and bushes before new growth.
  • Repot the houseplants and start hardening off to transplant indoor started seeds in early spring.
  • Establish a trellis for climbers and pile the soil for potatoes.
  • Fertilize the perennial plants and move the houseplant outside. Be sure to save them from frosty nights in early spring.
  • Place the collar 1 inch into the soil to protect your newly planted vegetables from cutworms. 

Summer Season

The summer season covers the month of June, July, and August. There is no late frost risk, so you can enjoy various warm-season crops.

  • Apply pesticides, fungicides, and weed spray to protect crops from pests, diseases, and weeds.
  • Regularly look after the aphids, beetles, leaf spots, fruit rot, etc., to avoid spreading and apply neem oil once a week.
  • It’s the best time for propagation and harvesting spring vegetables to plant warm-season crops.
  • Water your crops deeply once a week instead of light watering daily. However, when the temperature rises, some may need watering twice daily.
  • Fertilize the annual plants once they begin flowering and apply mulch to avoid water loss.
  • You can harvest onions and garlic during summer and deadhead the flowers right after flowering ends.
  • Harvest the crops daily to encourage fruit production.

Autumn Season

Including September, October, and November, Autumn or fall still allows you to plant some cool season crops before the frost starts.

  • Inspect your garden for pests and start mulching for winter. After that, mulch directly after the ground freezes.
  • Divide and transplant the spring flowers and plant your spring flowering bulbs.
  • Harvest the warm season crops before frost starts. Vegetables like broccoli and peas may become sweeter in winter.
  • Start collecting soil samples for soil tests and improve the garden soil by adding homemade compost.
  • Save the seeds from vegetables and flowers you harvest to plant next spring.
  • Order the seeds to plan the spring garden in winter. 

Winter Season

Winter is the season of dormancy for most of the plants in Zone 5, including December, January, and February.

This is the best time to note down the last year’s gardening mistakes, germination time, and planting requirements before starting the seeds.

  • Apply the mulch layer to the garden beds and use frost blankets to protect perennials from cold.
  • Sterilize and sharpen your gardening tools and reorder the successful plant varieties to start them indoors.
  • Never overwater, and fertilize your plants in winter, as they will go dormant. 
  • Start the spring vegetables and flower seeds indoors to plant them as soon as the frost ends.
  • Make sure to prepare the pots and grow lights before you start the seeds.

From Editorial Team

Know the Frost Dates Before Planting in Zone 5

If you are from Zone 5, start planting your crops after the last frost date and stop planting them after the first frost date.

The frost date starts on 30th September to 30th October and lasts from 30th March to 3oth April in Zone 5.

However, this basic information may not work, so check the weather forecast to save your plants from frosts.