Welcome to The Zone! This article is in the Garden Tabs Zone Series, where we look at all USDA Plant Hardiness Zones and recommend the top 17 plants for your region.
USDA Zone 5b is characterized by minimum winter temperatures ranging from -15 to -10 °F (-26.1 to -23.3 °C).
Within the United States, Zone 5b includes parts of Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.
Internationally, Zone 5b extends to areas within Canadian provinces like Ontario, Quebec, and British Columbia.
In Europe, this zone encompasses regions in countries such as France, Germany, Austria, and parts of the United Kingdom. In Asia, it includes parts of China and Mongolia.
These regions are characterized by cool winters, moderate summers, and a growing season that typically lasts from late spring to early fall.
Here are 17 of the Best Plants to Grow in Zone 5b
1. Coneflower (Echinacea spp)
Coneflowers are hardy perennials that thrive in Zone 5b gardens. Their daisy-like blooms in shades of pink, purple, and white add vibrancy and attract pollinators.
Coneflowers can withstand temperatures as low as -15 °F (-26.1 °C) and are well-suited for full sun locations.
2. Black-Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta)
The cheerful and low-maintenance Black-Eyed Susan brightens up Zone 5b gardens with its golden-yellow petals and dark centers.
This perennial plant can tolerate temperatures as low as -15 °F (-26.1 °C) and thrives in full sun, adding a touch of warmth and charm.
3. Russian Sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia)
Russian Sage is a drought-tolerant perennial in Zone 5b's climate. Its wispy, silver foliage and lavender-blue blooms add an enchanting touch to the garden.
Russian Sage can withstand temperatures as low as -15 °F (-26.1 °C) and prefers full sun.
4. Sedum (Sedum spp.)
Sedums are versatile and resilient perennials that thrive in Zone 5b gardens. With their succulent foliage and vibrant blooms, they add texture and beauty to any landscape.
Sedums tolerate a wide range of temperatures, including average minimum temperatures as low as -15 °F (-26.1 °C), making them an ideal choice for this zone.
5. Japanese Maple (Acer palmatum)
Japanese Maples are prized for their stunning foliage and graceful form. These trees thrive in Zone 5b and can tolerate temperatures as low as -10 °F (-23.3 °C).
With their vibrant colors and unique leaf shapes, Japanese Maples bring elegance to any landscape.
6. Hosta (Hosta spp.)
Hostas are beloved for their lush foliage and ability to thrive in the shade. These perennials come in various sizes and colors, adding texture and beauty to Zone 5b gardens.
They can tolerate temperatures down to -15 °F (-26.1 °C) and are excellent for shady areas.
7. Daylily (Hemerocallis spp.)
Known for their stunning blooms and hardiness, daylilies are reliable perennials for Zone 5b gardens.
They come in various colors and can tolerate temperatures as low as -15 °F (-26.1 °C), adding pops of color throughout the summer months.
8. Peony (Paeonia spp.)
Peonies are treasured for their large, fragrant flowers and are popular for Zone 5b gardens.
These hardy perennials can withstand temperatures as low as -15 °F (-26.1 °C) and bring elegance and beauty to any garden.
9. Bee Balm (Monarda spp.)
Bee Balm is a vibrant and aromatic perennial that thrives in Zone 5b's climate.
Its showy flowers in shades of red, pink, and purple attract pollinators and add a burst of color to the garden.
Bee Balm can tolerate temperatures as low as -15 °F (-26.1 °C) and prefers full sun to partial shade.
10. Ornamental Grasses (Miscanthus spp., Panicum virgatum, etc.)
Ornamental grasses provide texture, movement, and architectural interest to Zone 5b gardens.
Varieties like Maiden Grass, Switchgrass, or Fountain Grass are hardy and can tolerate temperatures down to -15 °F (-26.1 °C), adding visual appeal throughout the year.
11. Coral Bells (Heuchera spp.)
Coral Bells are prized for their colorful foliage, which ranges from deep burgundy to vibrant green with unique patterns.
These perennials can withstand temperatures as low as -15 °F (-26.1 °C) and thrive in partial shade, adding color and texture to Zone 5b gardens.
12. Astilbe (Astilbe spp.)
Astilbes are feathery, perennial plants that thrive in Zone 5b's moderate climate.
Their fluffy blooms in shades of pink, white, and red bring softness and elegance to the garden.
Astilbes can tolerate temperatures as low as -15 °F (-26.1 °C) and prefer partial shade and moist, well-drained soil.
13. Balloon Flower (Platycodon grandiflorus)
The Balloon Flower is a charming perennial that produces balloon-like buds that burst open to reveal beautiful blue, white, or pink star-shaped flowers.
It can tolerate temperatures as low as -15 °F (-26.1 °C) and add a whimsy to Zone 5b gardens.
14. Lungwort (Pulmonaria spp.)
Lungwort is a low-growing perennial that thrives in the cool conditions of Zone 5b.
It offers attractive silver-spotted leaves and delicate flowers in pink, purple, or blue shades.
Lungwort can tolerate temperatures as low as -15 °F (-26.1 °C) and prefers partial shade to full shade, making it an excellent choice for shady garden areas.
15. Virginia Bluebells (Mertensia virginica)
Virginia Bluebells are woodland perennials that thrive in Zone 5b's cooler temperatures.
They produce clusters of bell-shaped flowers in shades of blue, pink, or white, adding a touch of enchantment to the garden.
Virginia Bluebells can tolerate temperatures as low as -15 °F (-26.1 °C) and prefer partial shade and well-drained soil.
16. Japanese Painted Fern (Athyrium niponicum)
Japanese Painted Fern is a striking foliage plant that adds elegance and texture to Zone 5b gardens.
Its unique fronds in shades of silver, green, and purple create a beautiful contrast in shady areas.
Japanese Painted Fern can tolerate temperatures as low as -15 °F (-26.1 °C) and prefers moist, well-drained soil in partial to full shade.
17. Bleeding Heart (Dicentra spectabilis)
Bleeding Heart is a classic perennial known for its heart-shaped pink or white flowers that dangle from arching stems.
It brings a touch of romance and charm to Zone 5b gardens.
Bleeding Heart can tolerate temperatures as low as -15 °F (-26.1 °C) and prefers partial shade and rich, well-drained soil.
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A Haven of Natural Beauty
Zone 5b offers a delightful climate for gardening, with cool winters and mild summers.
By selecting the right plants, you can create a vibrant and thriving garden that withstands the challenges of this zone.
From the resilient Coneflowers and Black-Eyed Susans to the elegant Japanese Maples and Coral Bells, these plants add beauty, color, and texture to your landscape.
Remember to consider the specific needs of each plant, including sunlight requirements, soil conditions, and water preferences.
By providing the ideal growing conditions, you can ensure the success of these plants in Zone 5b and create a visually stunning garden that brings joy throughout the seasons.
Embrace the cool delights of Zone 5b and enjoy the rewards of gardening in this unique and captivating climate.
Whether you're a seasoned gardener or just starting, these 17 best plants will elevate your garden, providing a haven of natural beauty and tranquility in your outdoor space.
Embrace the charm and diversity of Zone 5b and let your garden thrive with these wonderful plant selections.