Central Kentucky Planting Zones

lawn in front of a house in central kentucky

Most of Central Kentucky Falls within USDA hardiness zone 7a, but much of north central Kentucky is in zone 6b. Knowing your zone helps you choose the best plants for your garden, so let’s learn more about it.

But if you want to know what are the planting zones for other Kentucky regions, check out our guides below:

What planting zone is Central Kentucky?

Kentucky Plants Hardiness zone
Oregon State University

Central Kentucky is mainly in the hardiness zone 7a. However, there isn’t much consensus about what constitutes Central Kentucky, so for our purposes, we’ll consider it to be the Bluegrass Region and part of the Mississippian Plateau.

This includes the Outer Bluegrass, the Inner Bluegrass, the Knobs, and the Eastern Mississippian Plateau. In most of this region, extreme minimum temperatures range between 0 F to 5 F.

Map showing Ecoregions of Kentucky
Photo Credit: Ryan Amjad

Let’s take a closer look at each of these ecoregions in Central Kentucky and its planting zones:

Bluegrass Region

The Bluegrass Region gets its name from Kentucky bluegrass (KBG), a common grass found throughout the state. Check out our article, The Best Grass Seed for Kentucky Lawns, if you want more information about KBG and other grass types.

This fertile region primarily comprises north central Kentucky and is known for its rolling hills and rich soils. Most of the Bluegrass Region is located in USDA zone 6b, where extreme minimum temperatures range from – 5 to 0 F.

Here’s what you need to know about the sub-regions in the Bluegrass Region:

  • Inner Bluegrass: The heart of the Bluegrass Region. Its upper half falls within zone 6b, while the lower half is in zone 7a. For instance, the state capital, Frankfort, is in zone 6b, whereas Fayette County, home to Lexington, is in zone 7a.
  • Outer Bluegrass: Like the Inner Bluegrass, this region has its upper half in zone 6b and its lower half in zone 7a. Important cities in zone 6b include Covington, Florence, and Independence. Louisville falls within zone 7a.
  • The Knobs: This region is a thin strip bordering the Outer Bluegrass, and is mostly in zone 7a. However, the northern counties, such as Lewis, Fleming, and Bath, fall within zone 6b.

Mississippian Plateau

The Mississippian Plateau, also known as the Pennyroyal, is located in the south central region of Kentucky, encircling the Shawnee Hills. This region primarily falls within USDA hardiness zone 7a, which means it experiences minimum temperatures ranging from 0 to 5 F. This includes cities like Somerset and Elizabethtown.

However, a few counties, such as Meade and Allen, have areas that fall into different zones. If you live in these counties, it’s best to enter your ZIP code in the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map to get more accurate information. 

Once you know your planting zone, you can check our article The Best Kentucky Native Plants for Home Landscapes, and choose the best plants for your area.

What planting zone is the Golden Triangle in Kentucky?

The Golden Triangle in Kentucky is not an ecoregion like the ones we just talked about, but an important economic region. It comprises Lexington, Louisville, and Northern Kentucky. Here’s a summary of the planting zones in this area:

  • Louisville, the biggest city in Kentucky, located in Jefferson County, is in zone 7a.
  • Lexington is located in zone 7a as well, but parts of Fayette County fall into zone 6b.
  • Northern Kentucky is in zone 6b, including cities like Covington and Newport.

When to call a pro

Just knowing the planting zones is not enough to have the perfect garden, but it’s a start. To ensure your garden thrives, call a local pro to help you choose and plant the right species for your area. We have professionals in Louisville, Lexington, and other Central Kentucky cities ready to assist you.

Main Image Credit: Chenault House | w_lemay | Wikimedia Commons | CC BY-SA 2.0

Maria Isabela Reis

Maria Isabela Reis is a writer, psychologist, and plant enthusiast. She is currently doing a PhD in Social Psychology; and can't help but play with every dog she sees walking down the street.