Western Kentucky Planting Zones

lawn in front of a house in kentucky

Western Kentucky is mainly in USDA hardiness zone 7a, but some counties in the Jackson Purchase are in zone 7b. This guide will help you learn about this region’s zones so you can choose the best plants for your landscape.

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

What planting zone is Western Kentucky?

Kentucky Plants Hardiness zone
Oregon State University

Western Kentucky consists of the Jackson Purchase, the Western Coal Field (or Shawnee Hills), and part of the Mississippian Plateau. This region is mainly in zone 7a, with extreme minimum temperatures ranging from 0 F to 5 F

Map showing Ecoregions of Kentucky
Photo Credit: Ryan Amjad

However, the southernmost counties are either partially or entirely in zone 7b, where extreme minimum temperatures are slightly warmer, ranging from 5 to 10 F.

Let’s take a closer look at each sub-region in Western Kentucky and its planting zones:

Jackson Purchase

The Jackson Purchase is the westernmost part of Kentucky, characterized by its flat, wetland areas, and delimited by the Tennessee River. The upper half of this region falls in USDA hardiness zone 7a, while the lower half is in zone 7b. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Some of the southernmost counties, Calloway and Fulton, are completely in zone 7b. Mayfield, located in Calloway County, is in zone 7b.
  • Ballard County is entirely in zone 7a.
  • The biggest city in the Jackson Purchase, Paducah, located in McCracken County, is in zone 7a.
  • The other counties in the Jackson Purchase, including Graves, Hickman, Carlisle, and Marshall, are a mix of zones 7a and 7b.

Western Coal Fields

The Western Coal Fields, also known as Shawnee Hills, are located in northwestern Kentucky and are characterized by swampy areas. All the counties in this region are situated entirely in zone 7a.

The only exception is the border between Breckinridge and Grayson County, which has a small area in zone 6b near the Rough River.

This means that Owensboro, the biggest city in the area, located in Daviess County, is in zone 7a, as well as other important cities like Henderson and Madisonville.

Western Mississippian Plateau

The Mississippian Plateau, also known as the Pennyroyal Plateau or Pennyrile, encircles the Western Coal Fields. The Western Mississippian Plateau, which is located in Western Kentucky is home to the majority of Mammoth Cave National Park and falls mainly in zone 7a.

However, there are a few exceptions:

  • Meade County has areas in zone 6b.
  • Breckinridge County (part in the Western Coal Fields and part in the Pennyrile) has areas in zone 6b, as we already mentioned.
  • The southernmost counties and those near the Ohio River, such as Lyon, Trigg, Christian, Logan, and Simpson, have areas in zone 7b.

If you’re from one of the counties mentioned and you’re not sure which planting zone you’re in, enter your ZIP code in the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map to get more accurate information.

Tip: Hopkinsville, an important city in Christian County, is in zone 7a, even though this county has a small area in zone 7b. Bowling Green, in Warren County, is entirely in zone 7a.

Tip #2: Check out our guide on The Most Low-Maintenance Plants for Kentucky Landscapes if you’d rather take a trip to the caves rather than spend time in your garden.

Call a pro

Now that you know about the planting zones in Western Kentucky, it’s time to start planting some species adapted to your area. But if you’d rather keep your garden neat — like your bourbon — call a professional near you. We have pros in Hopkinsville and other Western Kentucky cities who can help you.

Main Image Credit: David A. Yeiser House | Nyttend | Wikimedia Commons | Public Domain

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.