USDA Plant Hardiness Zone 8

Gardeners in USDA Plant Hardiness Zone 8 enjoy a long growing season with average low winter temperatures between 10 and 20 degrees F. The geographical diversity of this temperate climate includes much of the South, parts of California and the Pacific Northwest. Although their climates are quite different, gardeners in Atlanta and Seattle share the same growing zone.

These outstanding perennials are hardy in Zone 8:

Deciduous Trees

Maple trees offer cooling shade in the summer and brilliant foliage color in autumn.
American Maple (Acer rubrum) – fiery red leaves, leaf stems and twigs
October Glory Maple (Acer rubrum 'October Glory') – fall color is reddish-orange
Autumn Blaze Maple (Acer freemanii 'Jeffersred') – fast growth and red fall color


Evergreen trees can have needled or broad leaves with a variety of foliage colors.
Thuja Green Giant Arborvitae (Thuja standishii x plicata 'Green Giant') – disease-resistant with thick needled leaves that grow to the ground
Little Gem Magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora 'Little Gem') – smaller version of the larger Southern Magnolia with broad, shiny, slightly upturned leaves
Skyrocket Juniper (Juniperus scopulorum 'Skyrocket') – narrow growth with bluish-green foliage

Flowering Trees

Oklahoma Redbud (Cercis canadensis var. texensis 'Oklahoma') – early-spring fuchsia flowers
Tuscarora Crape Myrtle (Lagerstroemia indica 'Tuscarora') – watermelon-coral blossoms cover trees in summer
Cleveland Pear (Pyrus calleryana 'Cleveland Select') – an improvement over the weak structure of the Bradford Pear, with stronger branching and white spring blooms

Shrubs with Evergreen Foliage

Nellie Stevens Holly (Ilex x 'Nellie R. Stevens') – tall, dense shrub for privacy screen or hedge
Waxmyrtle (Morella cerifera, formerly M. cerifera) – low maintenance and fragrant foliage
Soft Touch Holly (Ilex crenata 'Soft Touch') – smaller holly without spiny leaves

Flowering Shrubs

Encore Azaleas (Rhododendron spp.) – repeat-blooming azaleas in a variety of colors
Frostproof Gardenia (Gardenia jasminoides 'Frost Proof') – cold-resistant with fragrant flowers
Endless Summer Hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla 'Endless Summer') – repeat bloomer


Parts of Zone 8, particularly the humid South, sometimes present challenges to growing beautiful roses because humidity creates a breeding ground for plant diseases. But with improvements in plant breeding in recent years, two types of roses meet this challenge:

Knock Out Rose (Rosa x Knock Out®) – continuous blooms on self-cleaning plants, in colors that include red, pink and yellow, including single- or double-flowering cultivars
• Oso Easy Rose (Rosa x Oso Easy®) – repeat bloomer with superior disease resistance and no deadheading required on these single- or double-flowering shrubs

Citrus Trees (Marginal Hardiness)

Zone 8 winters represent the coldest range at which some types of citrus plants may be able to grow outdoors year-round. Although citrus plants are not reliably hardy in this zone, they may prosper; particularly if your microclimate is warmer than the climate around it. However, if the weather is unseasonably cold one winter, your citrus plants may die. But you can still grow these citrus plants by potting them in containers and moving them indoors during the winter:

Meyer Lemon Tree (Citrus x meyeri) – a cross between a lemon and an orange with superior taste and heavy fruit set
Key Lime (Citrus aurantiifolia) – smaller than the Persian limes you find at the market, Key Limes are a snap to grow in containers
• Moro Blood Orange (Citrus sinensis 'Moro') – beautiful sweet fruits with red-colored flesh

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