Region Description: Lower South
Albany GA, Augusta GA, Austin TX, Birmingham AL, Columbia SC, Dallas TX, Fayetteville NC, Ft.Worth TX, Jackson MS, Montgomery AL, San Antonio TX, Virginia Beach VA
The Lower South starts at the southern tip of coastal Virginia, swings west through the coastal plains of North and South Carolina, into central Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana. It continues west through central Texas to just west of San Antonio and includes most of major cities in Texas.
The Lower South's climate features humid, hot, long summers and mild winters with only brief periods of cold weather, and short springs and falls. Mild winters with temperatures in the 60Fs and 70Fs can sometimes give way to a winter cold front dropping temperatures into the lower 20Fs. However, these occurrences are usually short lived. Summer temperatures rise to the upper 90Fs and can exceed 100F for brief periods. Combined with high humidity such conditions can really stress plants that may do well in other areas with similar hardiness zones, but less summer heat. Rainfall ranges from 24 inches in the western areas of central Texas to 40 or 50 inches in areas of east Texas through Virginia. Hurricanes are always a concern in fall bringing damaging winds and heavy rains.
The Growing Season
Frost dates range from around mid March and mid November in the lower parts of the region to early April and early November in the upper area of the region. Most areas may experience freezes December through February. This region has two distinct growing seasons; spring and fall. Heat is the limiting factor for growing. Summer is considered too hot to grow, yet winter still is too cold to grow many common flower and vegetable plants. In most areas December through February may experience frost. Of course some plants do well in summer such as okra and winter such as kale, but most garden vegetables and annual flowers have trouble surviving summer across our long growing season from spring to fall. Temperate plants such as lilacs and maples needing longer, colder winters are at their southern range here, but subtropical plants can thrive.