Where to find out which succulents in which zone?

cedars_steffi(8)September 4, 2008


I am from Germany and will be moving to the area of Dallas soon. I´ve already asked basic questions, you can read it here.

Now I want to find out, which plants, especially succulents will fit to my zone (one zone finder gives me a 7, the other one a 8a for my future zip code) to plant them in my yard.

Who can help me with that?

Thank you in advance,


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I've never lived in Dallas, so I can't really answer your questions. However, I know that there are at least 2 zone finders out there, and one is really screwed up. I live in zone 9b in California where I'm pretty sure it has never gotten below 20 F. One of the zone finders claims zone 8b! (lows 15-20 in a typical year). The Gardenweb zone finder is a good one, as far as I know:


As far as which plants will live in your area, has anyone directed you to your (future) local cactus and succulent society? Here it is--there are several emails of people who I'm sure could point you in the right direction:


Another source might be the Sunset zone system which is totally different and takes into account things like humidity and summer highs. They put all of the area a good distance around Dallas into one zone. Here's a map:


The Sunset zones have historically been used mostly by people on the West Coast in conjunction with the Sunset Western Garden Book. They tried to go more national and came out with the Sunset National Garden book. The National book is the one you would need. I suspect it's out of print, but you can find it used through Amazon:


They will tell you for a given plant which zones are best for it. They don't specialize in succulents. I don't have the National Garden Book in front of me--it's packed away in a box somewhere--I'll look for it and follow up if I can easily find it.

But I'll use Echeveria as an example. The version I have of the Western Garden Book gives zone recommendations for the following species:

Echeveria agavoides, E. crenulata, E. elegans, E. hybrids, E. imbricata, E. secunda and E. setosa.

All of these except E. crenulata and E. setosa are recommended for our zone. Those two are recommended for San Francisco (50 miles away) which has slightly milder winters.

I'll see if I can find the other book, but you get the idea.

Hope this helps if you didn't already have this info.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2008 at 9:40PM
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Desert Tropicals Succulents List has suggested zones and/or temperatures for many plants, and almost all you'll be likely to find in the big hardware stores. Be aware that while being pretty good, that website is far from error-free!

    Bookmark   September 4, 2008 at 10:00PM
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I did find the book fairly quickly. It turns out that Echeveria is a particularly bad example--the National Sunset book doesn't recommend them for anywhere outside the West.

Joscience, that database an amazing resource. It does differ from the Sunset entries though. Before I read your post I was going to use Yucca as an example of succulent entries and whether they are recommended or not for the Dallas area.

Yucca baccata is one that stands out. Sunset says 1-24, 29,30, Western part of 33, 35, 41, 45. The list that joscience references says: Sunset: all zones. USDA 5-12. Obviously parts of the U.S. are colder than zone 5, and all of the country (maybe not Alaska, Hawaii) are given Sunset zones. Moreover, some parts of the U.S. that are very cold (below USDA zone 5) are in Sunset zone 1. So something is not right. I suspect we'll have to have someone who knows it can't be grown in their zone speak up.

Perhaps it's easiest to look at the areas where Sunset does NOT recommend it. I'll just use Sunset's labels:

zone 25: South Florida and the Keys
zone 26: Central and Interior Florida
zone 27: The lower Rio Grande
zone 28: Northern Florida and the Gulf Coast
zone 31: Southern Mississippi river
zone 32: Interior Plains of Mid-Atlantic States
zone 33 East: Northern Alabama and Central Tennessee
(Dallas would be in the recommended zone 33 West)
zone 34: Lowlands and Coast from Gettysburg to North of Boston
zone 36: Appalachian Mountains
zone 37: Hudson Valley and Appalachian Plateau
zone 38: New England Interior and Lowland Maine
zone 39: Shoreline Regions of the Great Lakes
zone 40: Inland Plains of Lake Erie and Lake Ontario
zone 42: Mountains of Interior Penn. and NY
zone 43: Upper Mississippi Valley, Upper Michigan...
zone 44: Mountains of New England

OK, I spent WAY too much time typing that! The bottom line is that they don't recommend it for the wettest and most humid parts of the country no matter whether they're hot or cold. I don't find this too surprising for a Yucca, I guess!

The bottom line--get info from multiple sources if you can. I assume the database joscience mentions and Sunset (which has fewer species) would complement each other nicely. If Sunset doesn't recommend it even though it's hardy to a certain temperature, there's probably a reason.

Let me know if you are curious how Sunset rates certain plants--it's very quick although they certainly don't include everything. I realize this Sunset business is confusing. You are zone 33, no question. Ignore the rest. Good luck!

    Bookmark   September 4, 2008 at 11:25PM
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I just thought of another resource--Dave's Garden. Usually you can find a particular species/hybrid/cultivar by typing in the name plus Dave's garden.


For the example of Yucca baccata again: they say it's hardy to zone 4a. They also list where people say they have grown the plant. This list includes 2 from New Jersey and one from New York--where Sunset does not recommend this! Bear in mind, though, that people will often say they grow a plant on Dave's garden, even if they just grow it inside.

As I say, check as many resources as you can. I do think Sunset is pretty accurate. Rarely I've encountered cases when they are a little too conservative about hardiness.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2008 at 11:42PM
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