California Planting Zones

California, otherwise known as ‘The Golden State,’ offers plenty of sunshine and warm temperatures throughout most of the year. The state is divided into seven growing zones (5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11) with average minimum temperatures ranging from -20° to 45° F (-28.9° and 7.2° C) depending on the region.

In this article, you will learn:


Despite the endless sunshine – annual droughts, high winds, and erratic weather events present various challenges when it comes to growing. Nevertheless, by understanding the climate, your planting zone, and having a few tricks up your sleeve, you’ll be able to produce a thriving garden in this state.

Characteristics of California Planting Region

Much of California is home to a Mediterranean-like climate with warm summers and cool, wet winters. However, there are also several places across the state that experience a dry, arid climate.

Regardless of where you may be located, most areas in California are prone to a variety of extreme weather conditions, including:
  • Flooding
  • Extreme Heat
  • Strong Storms
  • High Winds
  • Wildfires
  • Droughts

Aside from the challenging weather, most of the state will experience ideal temperatures for an extended growing season, averaging 270 frost-free days throughout the year.

Challenges of Growing in California

1. Long Droughts

California is no stranger to hot, dry summers accompanied by prolonged droughts and water supply restrictions. So it’s essential to choose heat-friendly and drought-resistant plants or use a greenhouse to help control the humidity.

2. High Winds

Throughout the summer months, Californians can experience relentless winds that will quickly dry out gardens and even uproot plants. While properly staking younger plants can help, they’ll be protected entirely if kept in a greenhouse.

3. Extreme Weather Events

Unfortunately, extreme weather events such as storms, wildfires, and severe heat waves can be expected just about every year in California. Therefore, having plans and precautions in place, and even an indoor growing area, may be crucial for many gardeners across the region.

The Benefits of Using a Greenhouse in California

It’s no secret that the warmer climate of California is ideal for many plants to grow throughout the majority of the year. However, unpredictable weather and extreme temperatures create a range of difficulties for your garden’s wellbeing. Greenhouse growing is an excellent way to protect your plants from the elements, control humidity, and even cool them down on sweltering summer days.

1. Extend Your Growing Season

  • Without a Greenhouse:
    The growing season can vary dramatically across the state. For example, in the southern areas of California, gardeners can expect optimal temperatures for 365 days of growing, whereas the Sierra Nevada mountains are only suitable for up to 50 days.
  • With a Greenhouse:
    A greenhouse can both assist and extend planting seasons across the entire state of California. In cooler, high-altitude areas, gardeners can gain an additional 2-6 months of growing time, and in hotter regions of the state, it can act as protection against extreme weather conditions.

Learn more about specific growing dates for your area and the best vegetables to plant in each part of California.


Customer images of their Sungrow Greenhouse setup in Lake Tahoe, California

2. Grow a Wider Variety of Vegetables

  • Without a Greenhouse:
    Considering a majority of California experiences extreme heatwaves and extended droughts, it’s recommended that gardeners opt for heat-loving fruits and vegetables that don’t require an abundance of water. Although options may be limited, the following plants are known to thrive in California’s climate:
  • Lima Beans
  • Pole Beans
  • Corn
  • Cowpeas
  • Quinoa
  • Mustard Greens
  • Okra
  • Summer Squash
  • Sunflowers
  • Watermelon


  • With a Greenhouse:
    When it comes to planting a successful garden, greenhouse owners have countless options available. For example, warm-season crops and more delicate herbs and cold-hardy plants will thrive indoors without the need to transplant them outside later on. Gardeners can confidently grow the following plants in their greenhouses:
  • Basil
  • Tomatoes
  • Lettuce
  • Pease
  • Cabbage
  • Broccoli
  • Radishes
  • Spinach
  • Collard Greens
  • Green Onions
  • Cauliflower
  • Cilantro
  • Kale
  • Bok Choy
  • Onions
  • Turnips
  • Carrots
  • Kohlrabi
  • Mint
  • Dill
  • Chives


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Customer Stories from California

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