LINCOLN COUNTY, S.D. (KELO) — From oranges and yellows to greens then finally blues and purples, a new Plant Hardiness Zone Map is out from the USDA. Much more of southern South Dakota is now colored light blue when compared to the 2012 map; this depicts its change to zone 5a.

“It does really open up the types and varieties of plants that are considered hardy,” said Laura Kalfs, garden center manager with Landscape Garden Centers in the Sioux Falls area. “However, South Dakota is a really unique climate. We do not have consistent rainfall. We have temperature fluctuations in almost every season.”

Kalfs says a Japanese maple will do well in zone 5a.

“There’s a lot of trees that do well in, like, pockets throughout South Dakota or even throughout Sioux Falls that could be considered 5a,” Kalfs said. “So, plants like Japanese maple, tulip tree. There’s certain varieties of boxwood.”

The map shows which plants can be grown in which parts of the country. According to the USDA, the new map offers more detail and utilized data from 13,412 weather stations. By comparison, 7,983 contributed to the 2012 map. But Kalfs points out that much more than temperature will impact if a garden or flower beds will have a sunny 2024.

“What makes a climate: your rainfall, your temperature changes, how drastic that can change, even our wind, the type of soil that we have,” Kalfs said. “So there’s a lot that goes into an actual plant and its survivability outside of just temperature.”