USDA Plant Hardiness Zone 9

Gardeners in USDA Plant Hardiness Zone 9 have a long growing season that is characterized by hot summers and mild winters, supporting a diverse range of foliage, flowering, fruiting and citrus plants. The average low winter temperatures are between 20 and 30 degrees F. Zone 9 encompasses cities from the South (Charleston, SC), to Florida (Orlando), across the Southwest (Houston, TX) and all the way to the West Coast (Sacramento, CA).

Some of the trees, shrubs and fruiting plants that are hardy in Zone 9 include:



Trees that add color, texture and form to the Zone 9 landscape while standing up to the heat are:

• Tulip Poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera) – a tall beauty with tulip-shaped flowers and leaves plus brilliant yellow foliage in autumn
• Weeping Willow (Salix babylonica) – cascading branches on a tree that grows in moist soil, particularly suitable adjacent to streams and ponds
• American Red Maple (Acer rubrum) – this North American native boasts red stems, twigs and fall foliage


Evergreen trees in Zone 9 cover a wide spectrum of sizes and shapes, such as:

• Little Gem Magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora 'Little Gem') – smaller version of the larger Southern Magnolia with broad, shiny, slightly upturned leaves
• Sago Palm (Cycas revoluta) – versatile palm that you can grow in the landscape or as a potted plant in your home
• Italian Cypress (Cupressus sempervirens) – this tree grows in a columnar shape to add height and drama to any landscape


Add color to your landscape with these flowering trees:

• Muscogee Crape Myrtle (Lagerstroemia indica x fauriei 'Muscogee') – fast-growing, disease-resistant and covered in purplish-lavender blossoms
• Okame Cherry (Prunus x 'Okame') – early-spring profusion of large pink flowers
• Cherokee Brave Dogwood (Cornus florida 'Comco No. 1' Cherokee Brave) – a red-flowering dogwood that tolerates partial shade

Shrubs with Evergreen Foliage

These evergreen shrubs offer year-round landscape appeal:

• Sky Pencil Holly (Ilex crenata 'Sky Pencil') – a slender, upright holly that's perfect for small yards or narrow spaces
• Waxmyrtle (Morella cerifera, formerly M. cerifera) – low maintenance with fragrant foliage and black berries in autumn that feed the birds
• Variegated Privet (Ligustrum sinense 'Variegata') – green-and-white leaves add brightness to the landscape

Flowering Shrubs

Choose flowering shrubs that bloom at different times of the year for a long season of flowers:

• August Beauty Gardenia (Gardenia jasminoides 'August Beauty') – a fragrant gardenia with a long bloom season, extending until late summer
• Shi-Shi Gashira Camellia (Camellia sasanqua 'Shi-Shi Gashira') – stunning late-fall to early-winter hot-pink flowers
• Encore Azaleas (Rhododendron spp.) – two bloom seasons; one in spring and another in summer


Repeat-blooming roses require less maintenance than other types of roses, and they have a higher resistance to disease. You won't have to deadhead these choices:

• Knock Out Rose (Rosa x Knock Out®) – season-long flowers in shades of pink, red, yellow and white
• Oso Easy Rose (Rosa x Oso Easy®) – the Oso Easy series includes single- and double-flowering plants and a color palette that includes pink, red, yellow and orange


Zone 9 represents the coldest winter range at which many types of citrus are reliably hardy. You can also grow citrus plants in containers to move indoors during the winter if you live in a colder microclimate within Zone 9.

• Navel Orange (Citrus sinensis 'Osbeck') – seedless oranges with sweet, juicy flesh
• Nagami Kumquat (Fortunella margarita 'Nagami') – eat this fruit peel and all
• Nules Clementine (Citrus clementina 'de Nules') – seedless, drought-tolerant and pest-resistant


Plant your own backyard orchard and grow apples, peaches and plums:

• Pink Lady Apple (Malus domestica 'Pink Lady') – unique flavor of tart vs. sweet and more tolerant of warm weather than most apple trees (plant at least two different cultivars to ensure good cross-pollination)
• Harvester Peach (Prunus persica 'Harvester') – heavy yields of freestone peaches
• Methley Plum (Prunus salicina) – beautiful flowers in spring followed by sweet fruit in summer


Easy to pick and healthy for you, Zone 9 berries include:

• Stevens Cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon 'Stevens') – evergreen groundcover that produces cranberries in moist soil (no bog needed)
• Triple Crown Thornless Blackberry (Rubus 'Triple Crown') – you won't have to fight thorns to harvest large blackberries from this thornless cultivar

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