We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is a Sunset Zone?

Mary McMahon
Updated May 16, 2024
Our promise to you
HomeQuestionsAnswered is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At HomeQuestionsAnswered, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

A Sunset Zone is a climate zone for gardening determined by a system developed by Sunset Magazine in the mid-20th century. There are 24 Sunset Zones, divided by a number of factors to help gardeners identify the most appropriate plants for their needs. While initially developed for 13 western states, the Sunset Zone system has been expanded across the United States as an alternative to the widely used United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) zone system.

Several factors go into the determination of a Sunset Zone. Winter and summer highs and lows are considered to provide information about the temperature extremes in the region. In addition, weather patterns like humidity and rainfall are factored in; regions can have very similar temperature patterns but wildly different weather, making it very hard to grow the same kinds of plants in both locations. The Sunset Zones also get into details like prevailing winds.

Zones one through three cover cold, snowy regions with a short growing season and generally harsh climates. Four through six are located in rainy, wet areas like the coast of the Pacific Northwest. Zones seven through nine and 14 through 17 encompass inland valley regions like the San Fernando Valley of California, where climates tend to be very warm and ideal for agriculture.

The Southwest desert region like that found in Arizona and New Mexico is described in zones 10 through 13, while the unique climate of Southern California spans zones 18 through 24. The diversity and detail of the Sunset Zone system is designed to help gardeners identify not just which plants will survive the winter, but which plants will thrive in given growing conditions. This zone system for gardening also allows for microclimates, small pockets in otherwise uniform regions where growing conditions are markedly different.

Gardeners in the Western United States are often familiar with the Sunset Zone system, as the Sunset Western Garden Book is one of the most venerable and widely used gardening references in the area, and many nurseries indicate plant hardiness by Sunset Zone. The expansion of Sunset's system to other regions of the United States has involved careful evaluation of climate conditions and the development of appropriate maps to help gardeners find their zones.

Lists of plants suitable for different Sunset Zones are available and people can also explore native plant lists divided by Sunset Zone if they are interested in growing a native plant garden. These lists are readily available on the Internet and in gardening guides.

HomeQuestionsAnswered is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a HomeQuestionsAnswered researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

Learn more
HomeQuestionsAnswered, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

HomeQuestionsAnswered, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.