Minnesota Climates Need Hardy Plants

Anyone who has lived or even visited Minnesota knows – the climate is continental, with cold, frigid winters and warm, humid summers. These major shifts throughout the seasons can have a significant impact on your landscape – especially in the selection of plants, trees, and shrubs.

Quick Overview of Minnesota Climates

Average Minneapolis Temperature

Graph of Average Minneapolis, MN High and Low

The growing season in Minnesota last at least sixty days in the southeastern and south-central regions, while there are no more than one hundred days in the northern counties of the state.

January in Minneapolis-St. Paul brings average temperatures of 12°. Compare that to a warm and humid 74°F in July.

The northwest region features the lightest rainfall with an average around nineteen inches per year. Heavy snowfall averaging seventy inches in the northeast and thirty inches in the southeast occurs from November to April. You can count on an average of at least two blizzards and eighteen tornadoes hitting the state each year.

In addition, Minnesota also has microclimates, which are small areas that have weather that is more severe or milder than the general zone. The leeward side of big hills, windbreaks, large bodies of water and big cities moderately affect the climate in Minnesota.

This climate definitely has an effect on Minnesota landscapes. The wide range of temperatures in Minnesota should be kept in mind when you select your plants, trees, etc. for your landscaping.

culver's root

Culver’s Root

Design Your Minnesota Landscape Wisely

When it comes to selecting trees, shrubs, etc. for landscaping in Minnesota, it helps to know a little about each of the plant’s characteristics. Books, magazines and websites are readily available with descriptions of all types of plants.

Understanding Plant Hardiness

Plant hardiness is an important thing to consider, especially in Minnesota. The USDA has defined “hardiness zones”. These zones define areas which certain plan life are capable of growing – mostly based on the climate. Zones are defined on scale of 1-11. A plant defined as  “hardy to zone 1.”

When you order from a nursery outside the state, be sure to pay close attention to their hardiness zone map. Within the various zones, the severity of weather differs. Generally, the southern half of every zone is not as severe as the northern half.

Winterberry is a perfect plant for Minnesota climate


Best Plants for Minnesota Landscaping

When you choose your plants for your landscape in Minnesota, you want to make sure you select plants that best suit your needs. Here are a few Minnesota favorites:

  • American Winterberry (Ilex verticillata) is a type of holly. It is native to the United States and Canada. This beautiful plant produces berries well into the winter months that the birds in the region absolutely love.
  • Culver’s Root/Blackroot (Veronicastrum virginiacum) is a wildflower that is native to the United States and is often cultivated as a garden flower. Minnesota residents love this plant because it attracts stunning butterflies as well as honeybees.
  • Miscanthus consists of around fifteen different types of perennial grasses that are native to tropical regions, such as Africa and Asia. Small animals, insects and birds benefit from the shelter of this tall grass.
  • Woodland Tobacco/South American Tobacco (Nicotiana sylvestris) is a type of wild tobacco that is popular for its pleasantly scented flowers. These flowers are strong at night and effectively attract nocturnal insects, which in turn attracts bats.

These are just a few of the plants that you can use to beautify your property with Minnesota plants.