Best trees, shrubs, flowers, and crops for Zone 7


Plants vary greatly in their ability to survive winter. Some can withstand the coldest temperatures, while others, like those thriving in tropical Florida, struggle in cooler regions and often don’t survive winter in colder areas. It’s all about choosing the right plant for the right place.

As we continue our series on what to plant in the 13 different US hardiness zones and move into warmer climates, the range of plants that can be grown expands. With an earlier last frost date and a later first frost date, Zone 7 offers a longer growing season, allowing a wider variety of plants to mature reliably.

Image credit: P Tomlins / Alamy

Choosing Plants for Zone 7

If a plant is rated for Zone 7, it will also thrive in warmer zones (Z8 and up). Some plants are rated for a range of zones, such as Z4-8, because they can handle varying temperatures. Plants rated for Zone 8 may still thrive in Zone 7 with a sheltered site and good drainage. It’s always worth trying a potential favorite.

The North American climate is changing, with warmer winters. For example, a garden previously in Zone 5 may now be assessed as Zone 6. Plants in containers need special care, as frost penetrates container soil more than garden soil. Choose varieties rated one zone warmer for planters.

Deciduous Trees

  • Eastern Redbud (Cercis canadensis): Spring marvel with clusters of vivid pink flowers.
  • Flowering Cherry (Prunus): Dependably colorful, with pink or white spring flowers.
  • Cleveland Pear (Pyrus calleryana ‘Chanticleer’): A fine alternative to the invasive ‘Bradford’ pear.

Evergreen Trees

  • Strawberry Tree (Arbutus): Dark green leaves with small, white bell-like flowers.
  • Arizona Cypress (Cupressus ‘Carolina Sapphire’): Pyramidal tree with silvery grey needles.
  • Sweet Bay (Laurus nobilis): Kitchen herb that makes a fine yard tree or container specimen.

Deciduous Shrubs

  • Blue Mist (Caryopteris x clandonensis): Naturally dwarf, with grayish leaves and blue flower spikes.
  • Rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus): Boldly upright shrub with summer flowers.

Evergreen Shrubs

  • Japanese Aucuba (Aucuba japonica): Bold, glossy foliage with bright yellow speckles.
  • Rhododendron and Azalea (Rhododendron): Dramatic spring flowers.


  • Anemone Clematis (Clematis montana): Spring flowering with pink or white flowers.
  • Climbing Hydrangea (Hydrangea petiolaris): White, lacecap flowers in early summer.

Ground Covers

  • Lady’s Mantle (Alchemilla mollis): Attractive foliage with chartreuse summer flowers.
  • Ice Plant (Delosperma): Succulent foliage topped with daisy-like flowers.

Sun Perennials

  • Hummingbird Mint (Agastache aurantiaca): Aromatic leaves with spikes of red, orange, and yellow flowers.
  • Daylily (Hemerocallis): Modern varieties flower for months in many colors.

Shade Perennials

  • Cranesbill (Geranium varieties): Long flowering with purple, blue, pink, or white flowers.
  • Hosta (Hosta varieties): Heart-shaped foliage in green, blue, gold, cream, and white.

Spring Flowering Bulbs

  • Ornamental Onion (Allium): Rounded flower heads in purples, lilac, and white.
  • Crocus (Crocus): Sparkling spring goblets in many colors.

Summer Flowering Bulbs

  • Elephants’ Ears (Colocasia): Dramatic, tropical-looking foliage.
  • Dahlia (Dahlia): Extraordinary range of flower shapes and colors.

Native Shrubs and Vines

  • Beautyberry (Callicarpa americana): Clusters of red or violet berries.
  • Strawberry Bush (Euonymus americanus): Shade-loving with unusual red fruits.

Native Perennials

  • Blue Star (Amsonia): Pale blue, star-like summer flowers.
  • False Indigo (Baptisia): Slender spikes of pea-like flowers.


  • Coleus (Coleus): Multicolored leaves in unique patterns.
  • Petunia (Petunia): Varieties for baskets, ground cover, and borders.


  • Arugula: Distinctive peppery flavor, ideal for salads.
  • Eggplant: Look for baby-fruited varieties.


  • Apricot: Hardier than peaches, with early blossoms needing spring frost protection.
  • Apples: Adaptable with many varieties suitable for different areas.

Re-reported the article originally published in Homes and gardens.

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