Garden Zones in the Black Hills and South Dakota

Do you know what territory you reside in on the Hardiness Zones Map? If you’re a planter, gardener, farmer, harvester, etc., schooling yourself on the specifics of your garden zones will only reap benefits in your growing endeavor.


Much of the Black Hills area falls into Zone 5, but it’s surrounding by Zone 4, which dominates most of the northern half of South Dakota. This is readily apparent in green and purple on the Cold Hardiness Zone map, a tool used by savvy gardeners to determine planting timelines and the types of plants that will fare well in regional climates and soil types.

Many beginning gardeners and green-thumbs alike have enjoyed success with Zone 5 planting. From Zone 5 greenhouse plants to Zone 5 fruit trees, planters have reaped the joys of beautiful foliage or bloom to complement the staid Zone 4 plants that are the bones of western South Dakota gardens. The key to using plants less hardy than Zone 5 greenhouse plants and Zone 5 fruit trees, is to take extra precautions to ensure success.

zone map

Protection is the key to understanding the hardiness of plants. Exposure to rain, wind, and sun can reduce the hardiness of a plant by full garden zones. Winter winds and cold/warm fluctuations endanger plants more than prolonged cold temperatures. A wise gardener will heed the specifications of these areas and use plants 1 – 2 garden zones colder, while also protecting soil and plants with mulch.

In a protected area next to a foundation on a south-facing side, one can potentially plant seeds and sprouts a garden zone warmer than normally recommended. In any yard, it is possible to have areas that would fall into three different garden zones. Depending on the property, there may be the opportunity to triple the amount of plants used in landscape gardening plans. Sounds good, right?

Tender shrubs and perennials often require the extra effort of finding a good site or microclimate in your yard. Be sure to make necessary soil amendments, meet specific watering needs, and utilize mulching for anything less hardy than Zone 5 greenhouse pants. The summer climate in western South Dakota can be very dry and windy, while the winters often yo-yo in cold temperatures and a complete lack of moisture in the late season. A 3-4″ layer of mulch will help to even out temperatures and moisture fluctuations. Additional mid-winter applications of straw, pine boughs, or pine needles to create a depth of 12″ will help to prevent desiccation caused by winds and sparse snow cover.

zone 5 shrub

Cold hardiness garden zones are determined by factors beyond average temperatures in the past 25 years or so. Snow cover, likelihood of early or late frosts, rainfall (moisture available to the plant), and plant protection should all be figured into the bigger picture when choosing plant material in any of the continental U.S.’s 9 garden zones.

Zone 5 Fruit Trees
For the homeowner who likes to adventure in the planting of fruit trees, there are some well-known fruit bearing trees that do well in the area. If you’re interested in some lesser-known varieties of Zone 5 fruit trees that thrive in the Black Hills, we’ve provided these in the following list, as well. When choosing your plants, be sure varieties match garden zones.

• Apples
• Apricots
• Cherries
• Peaches
• Pears
• Plums

apricot tree

For more information on Zone 5 greenhouse plants and all else that falls into Zone 5 on the Cold Hardiness Zone map, contact the experts at Jolly Lane. We offer a wide assortment of plants, trees, and shrubs as ornamental and edible opportunities—all of which are suitable for planting in the Black Hills area. Jolly Lane Greenhouse has all of the tips, tools, and resources that a gardener in the area may need.