Gardening in Pennsylvania
(Gardening in a Cold Climate)
See also: Native Plants
USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map
Input your zip code to find your zone. The city of Pittsburgh will be warmer than outlying areas.
According to the Men's Garden Club of Pittsburgh, the average last hard frost for Pittsburgh is April 20 and for outlying communities, April 30. Because Pittsburgh lies west of the Allegheny Mountains, its gardening climate is often more similar to that of the Midwest than the MidAtlantic, which is tempered by the ocean and not as cold.
Month-by-Month Gardening in Pennsylvania
SB453.2.P4 B36 2001
Month-by-Month Gardening in Pennsylvania is packed with information that explains what needs to be done and when it needs to be done in the Pennsylvania garden.
Pennsylvania Gardener's Guide
Contains easy to use advice on the top landscape plant choices (more than 160entries) for Pennsylvania. Recommends specific varieties and provides advice on how to plant, how to grow and how to care for Pennsylvania's best plants.
Gardening With Hardy Geraniums
q SB413.G35 B4313 2005
The Winter Harvest Handbook: Year-Round Vegetable Production Using Deep Organic Techniques and Unheated Greenhouses
This updated book from Eliot Coleman of Maine is for the serious gardener or professional who really wants to extend the growing season and eat locally produced food year round.
The Layered Garden: Design Lessons for Year-Round Beauty from Brandywine Cottage
q SB473.C84 2012
David Culp has a garden in Eastern Pennsylvania where he specializes in perennials, grasses, bulbs and other long-lived plants that provide a changing landscape throughout the four seasons. Lots of photos.
Dirr's Hardy Trees and Shrubs: An Illustrated Encyclopedia
rq SB435.5.H37 1997
Dirr is from the University of Georgia and includes plants that are hardy from zones 3 to 8 (Pittsburgh is zone 5-6).
The Well-Tended Perennial Garden: Planting & Pruning Techniques
q SB434.D37 2006
Tracy DiSabato-Aust lives in Ohio and almost all of the plants she discusses will grow well in Western Pennsylvania.
Encyclopedia of Hardy Plants: annuals, bulbs, herbs, perennials, shrubs, trees, vegetables, fruits & nuts
q SB450.95.F44 2007
Check here for varieties of plants that are cold hardy. Fell is also the author of The Pennsylvania Gardener.
The Pennsylvania Gardener: All about Gardening in the Keystone State
SB451.34.P4 F45 1995
Derek Fell is a professional garden photographer who lives in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, at historic Cedaridge Farm, where he cultivates an award-winning garden of flowers, fruits and vegetables.
Trees of Pennsylvania and the Northeast
This book describes more than 60 species of trees found in Pennsylvania and the northeastern United States.
A Gardener's Guide to Frost: Outwit the Weather and Extend the Spring and Fall Seasons
In this book, all aspects of frost are explained to help gardeners start their planting earlier in the spring and extend their growing season later in the fall. You’ll learn what weather systems produce frost, how it damages, or enhances, the flavor of your plants, how to read your garden’s microclimate, and how to design your garden so you can work with frost, instead of against it.
Growing Perennials in Cold Climates
Written for Minnesota gardeners, you won't find any perennials here that will succumb to Pittsburgh's cold. Includes detailed planting and maintenance information.
Hardy Succulents: Tough Plants for Every Climate
Anyone who has an Opuntia cactus knows that there are some succulents that survive the snow and below freezing weather just fine.
An American Cutting Garden: A Primer for Growing Cut Flowers Where Summers Are Hot and Winters Are Cold
SB405.5.M53 M36 2002
McIntire, a gardener in northern Virginia, shares 200 choice plants and tips for doing the ground work and reaping the rewards of gardens that are small, shady, for fall, and/or for beginners.
Growing Shrubs and Small Trees in Cold Climates
q SB435.R67 2001
These Minnesota authors give detailed information on 750 varieties of native and nonnative trees and shrubs. They also give sources for the plants.
Creating a Perennial Garden in the Midwest
Because it is written by a woman from Wisconsin with a garden in Zone 4, almost all of the plant recommendations will survive in the Pittsburgh area, which is Zone 5. She tells of her experience with her own lot, both failures and successes.
Native Trees for North American Landscapes: From the Atlantic to the Rockies
rq SB435.5.S74 2004
Use in conjunction with Trees of Pennsylvania and the Northeast (above), to identify native trees most appropriate for landscaping in Western Pennsylvania.
Best Garden Plants for Pennsylvania
PENNA SB453.2.P4 S74 2006x
Ilene Sternberg is a resident of West Chester, Pensylvania and writes a bi-weekly garden column for The News Journal in Wilmington, Delaware. The book features annuals, perennials, shrubs, etc. that tend to be failproof.
Growing Hardy Orchids
This Timber Press book offers a catalog of 103 hardy and half-hardy orchids, some can even withstand -50 degree weather.
Hardy Bamboos: Taming the Dragon
SB317.B2 W49 2005
Whittaker is British so what is hardy in Britain isn't the same as what is hardy in Western Pennsylvania. Zone information is included so just look for bamboos that can survive in zone 5.
Browse the Catalog
For additional titles, browse the library catalog under the subjects:
Allegheny County Cooperative Extension Service
Penn State Cooperative Extension of Allegheny County disseminates research based information to individuals, families, and communities through high quality, nonformal educational Programs funded with 80% state & federal funds, 12% grants, 8% county funds.
Men's Garden Club of Pittsburgh
Founded in 1940, the Men’s Garden Club of Pittsburgh is one of the largest and most active garden clubs in the tri-state area. In 1994 it began accepting women.
Pittsburgh Garden Experiment
A forum for city farmers in Pittsburgh where you can learn about urban food production and what's working here in Pittsburgh.
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Homes & Garden
Check out the articles in the daily newspaper for help on gardening problems specific to this area.
For the love of Figs: Native of Italy tucks his trees in carefully each winter to ensure delicious fruit in the summer
How to grow figs in Pittsburgh(!).
- For the love of Figs: Native of Italy tucks his trees in carefully each winter to ensure delicious fruit in the summer
Trees of Pittsburgh
This Web site is designed to serve as a handy and useful reference guide to the most prevalent trees in Pittsburgh.
- Pittsburgh Farmers' Markets
- Pittsburgh Gardening Organizations
- Pittsburgh Nurseries
yumpittsburgh is part of a Penn State project which strives to strengthen the local food infrastructure in Western Pa. Tips on planting are sometimes included.
Hardy Plant Society / MidAtlantic Group
Based in the Delaware Valley and the Philadelphia region, this group has a database for finding plants within their region.
Plant Source: Where to Buy Plants in the Greater Delaware Valley
An online directory of where to find plants at local retail and wholesale nurseries, garden centers and plant society and public garden sales.
- Plant Source: Where to Buy Plants in the Greater Delaware Valley
Penn State Cooperative Extension & Outreach
Some of their publications are available online in pdf format.
Botanical Interests: Second Chances
After the summer solstice you have a second chance to grow “cool season” crops, often with better success than the first time. Think Head Formers: lettuce, cabbage, radicchio, bok choy, Chinese cabbage, endive, escarole, and bulb fennel; Brassicas: cauliflower, broccoli, rapini/broccoli raab, rutabagas, turnips, romanesco; and Cool Customers: carrots, snow peas, beets, spinach, mustard, kale, kohlrabi, green onions, winter radish, Daikon.
Cold Climate Gardening
This is the blog of Kathy Purdy of upstate New York.
Fine Gardening: Shelter Plants from Winter's Worst
Simple seasonal cover-ups protect young and tender plants to provide an extra zone or more of warmth.
Last updated December 18, 2012