Questions for Mid-Michigan Gardeners

posiedreamerAugust 19, 2006

Hi Everyone ~

I hope I am posting to the appropriate forum ~ I have a couple questions for gardeners in mid-Michigan.

I live midway between Lansing and Flint and am very confused about exactly what zone I am in Zone 5a, Zone 5b or as I was recently told Zone 4!!! I have always selected plants suitable to Zone 5!

According to the USDA Hardiness Zone it is JUST Zone 5!

Second question, I bought some perennial Vervain "Taylortown Red" (looks like annual verbena) from Home Depot the other day which was sold as a perennial. About a week prior when I was there I asked about the Hardiness Zone being listed on the tag as Zone7-11 and was told they only sold perennials appropriate for our area, if I had concerns I should research it before buying.

I forgot to investigate it and at my next visit it was almost gone so I bought it. Does anyone know if it TRUELY IS perennial in the mid-Michigan area????

Another question, I have looked and looked for a red Garden Phlox called "Tenor," it is red, and I would love to get my hands on it but can't find it any place locally, and I hate to order from catalogs. Does anyone know a source for Tenor?

I have seen Red Riding Hood phlox and that is not the red I am looking for, are there any other suggestions for RED (scarlett) Tall Garden Phlox?

Thanks for all your help ~

Happy Gardening ~

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I recall reading somewhere that the USDA changed their zone designations recently and dropped all the a and b's from them, so they're all just by the main number. It's hard to tell you what zone you're in though because in mid michigan there are lots of little "holes" where the zone decreases, the Lansing area is one of those. I don't think there are any zone 4's in the lower penninsula though.

As for the plant, you do have to be careful shopping at places like that. Lowes sold me a heather plant that they listed as perennial that also was an out of zone plant. It died pretty quick, but luckily they still gave a refund.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2006 at 5:00PM
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goodhors(z5 MI)

Sounds like I am right in your area! I try to always buy plants for zone 5. However I have pushed the envelope a bit, with plants that are iffy. Some have been fairly successful like Sanguisorba. I just got a Chaste Tree. Seller said it dies back like Butterfly bushes, doesn't get too tall. Then Van Attas' said they don't sell it, a zone 6 plant, probably will die. I will have to see next spring!

I do think our area is getting warmer than it used to be. Last winter was only very cold in Dec. I also noticed a distinct difference when I moved here from having lived down south of Kalamazoo. Lots less snow, not as cold most of the time. Easier driving up here too.

Sorry I can't help with the plants. Perhaps with a bit of windbreak the Vervain will make it! I am trying the zone 6 Heather myself. I saw it growing outside in the MSU gardens. All the advice says it needs GREAT drainage, like gravel, so I planted it beside the raised driveway. Cobblestones with gravel over. It was a sale plant, so even better to experiment with.

You might try calling around, there is quite a list of nurseries in the Lansing phone book. I finally got over to Bordines near Flint, they had a lot of Phlox on tables. However I was looking for Hibiscus so didn't note any of the colors.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2006 at 12:11AM
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How strange. I have always thought I was in zone 5. I am close to you "between lansing and flint" When I joined this forum, they had me enter my zipcode and it came up zone 6. Hmm

    Bookmark   September 1, 2006 at 7:09AM
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I live in Saline, just south of Ann Arbor MI. Some plants labeled as zone 5 die for me. Why you ask--My yard is in the middle of an old open corn field, no big trees, it is also a low laying area, with strong drying winter winds. You need to look at your individual yard to understand the zone in your area. My SIL in the dense city of Hazel Park, has a much longer growing season than I do - about 3 extra weeks on each end- and can grow things that are a zone 6 outside. Don't believe what the SALES people at the box stores tell you, they are just trying to push plants-and it could be a perennial, just not in your yard.
I grow a lemon verbena in a pot and it is listed as a tender perennial-which means dead outside over the winter to me. So I bring it in every fall and let it go completely dormant in the lit foyer for January/February, and start watering it again for March. I enjoy those leaves which hold their lemon fragrance even when dry. I never hear of a vervain, so if it was expensive, or if you really like it, pot it up and store it in your garage. I would believe any info you get from Bordines-they have great plants even if they are a bit pricey.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2006 at 7:15AM
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Ck the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map. You are in zone 5a, -15 to -20 F are the coldest temperatures you may experience during the winter. There will be variations you will see after a number of winters, but as a whole, the map is correct.

Vervain is in the genus Verbena, hence the common crossover of terms. It tolerates a wide range of ph and sun exposure, but won't do well in deep shade. Some varieties will be perennial here if you cover them well w/mulch (leaves, or evergreen boughs w/leaves heaped atop). You will find this useful for many things that are tender perennial. Remove the mulch as spring arrives, and your crocus are blooming.

Here is a link that might be useful: United States National Arboretum hardiness zone map

    Bookmark   April 16, 2010 at 10:49AM
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sewcrazynurse(MI zone 5)

I just wanted to chime in and tell you I am in Alma (Straight north of Lansing) I get several plant catalogs in the mail. I don't generally buy from them but I do use them as a reference. And even though I am in Zone 5 I never buy stuff that is just hardy to zone 5 I go for at least zone 4. Just because in Michigan we have such weird weather.

Have fun.
One of my favorite catalogs to get is Wayside Gardens. Lots of the nurseries in my area order from them.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2010 at 9:09AM
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