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Frost Covered Perennial Garden

Frost Dates For Garden Planning

Frost dates are important because they signal the start and end of the gardening season. These charts can help you estimate your first fall frost date and your last spring frost date so that you can plan when to plant.

  • First Fall Frost Date - when to expect the end of the gardening season in Fall
  • Last Spring Frost Date - when to expect the start of the gardening season in Spring


Average Frost Dates For Major Cities

The chart below includes average frost dates for cities across the U.S.

City, State First Fall Frost Date Last Spring Frost Date
Atlanta, GA November 18 March 17
Baltimore, MD November 17 March 20
Bismarck, ND September 24 May 12
Boise, ID October 17 April 20
Boston, MA November 8 April 6
Buffalo, NY October 25 May 5
Burlington, VT October 8 May 4
Caribou, ME September 21 May 12
Charleston, SC December 10 February 6
Charleston, WV October 5 April 16
Cheyenne, WY September 27 May 13
Chicago, IL October 28 April 12
Cincinnati, OH October 25 April 17
Cleveland, OH October 20 April 8
Columbia, SC November 20 March 15
Dallax, TX November 30 March 4
Denver, CO October 14 April 30
Detroit, MI October 20 April 18
Houston, TX December 11 February 3
Indianapolis, IN October 27 April 19
Jacksonville, FL December 16 February 6
Kansas City, MO November 2 April 4
Las Vegas, NV December 4 February 6
Miami, FL no frost no frost
Milwaukee, WI October 25 April 22
Minneapolis, MN October 13 April 23
Mobile, AL December 12 February 26
Nashville, TN November 7 April 6
Newark, NJ November 8 April 3
New Orleans, LA December 23 February 4
New York, NY November 12 April 1
Oklahoma City, OK November 7 March 27
Philadelphia, PA November 17 March 31
Phoenix, AZ December 11 January 6
Pittsfield, MA October 4 May 7
Portland, OR December 1 February 26
Providence, RI October 27 April 13
Raleigh, NC November 16 April 1
Richmond, VA November 8 April 4
Sacramento, CA December 10 February 9
Salt Lake City, UT November 6 April 10
Seattle, WA December 1 April 6
St. Louis, MO November 8 April 9
Washington, DC November 17 March 28

Average Frost Dates For USDA Zones

Average frost dates by zone include data for a wide range of climates and locations. These dates can vary year by year.

Not sure what zone you're in? See our guide: USDA Hardiness Map & Finding Your Zone

 

Zone Average First Frost Date Average Last Frost Date
1 August 25-31 May 22-June 4
2 September 1-8 May 15-22
3 September 8-15  May 1-16
4 September 21-October 7 April 24-May 12
5 October 13-21 April 7-30
6 October 17-31 April 1-21
7 October 29-November 15 March 22-April 3
8 November 7-28 March 13-28
9 November 25-December 13 February 6-28
10 December 15 - December 31 January 1 - January 15
11+ No usual frost No usual frost

Frost Date Tips

  • For more detailed frost dates for your location, look up frost dates for your zip code using the tool at Dave's Garden.
  • Soil temperature is another useful garden metric. Most seeds germinate when the soil is above 55°F. Many plants will wait for soil temperatures to warm before they awake from winter dormancy. Look up your soil temperature for your zip code using GreenCast.
  • High Country Gardens ships perennial plants and flower bulbs at the right time to plant, based on your USDA zone.

Understanding Your Growing Season

  • A frost, or ice crystals forming on surfaces, happens when the air temperature is between 36-32°F. 
  • A freeze happens when air temperature dips below 32°F.
  • A hard freeze is usually between 28-25°F
  • A killing freeze is 24°F and below. 
  • The colder it gets, the more damage you'll see to annual and perennial plants.