What Planting Zone is Eugene?

lawn in front of a house in eugene

Oregon has 11 different hardiness zones, but what planting zone is Eugene in? Eugene is in hardiness zone 8b, with an annual average winter low of 15 F to 20 F. 

Located at the southern end of the Willamette Valley, Eugene is typically hot and dry in the summer and cool and damp during winter. When choosing the right plants for this area, the USDA hardiness zone is important information to consider.

Let’s dive deeper into what this hardiness zone means for you and your garden.

Plants for Eugene’s Climate

a map of Oregon's USDA plant hardiness zones
Photo Credit: USDA

Because Eugene is in the 8b hardiness zone, the best plants for the region are those adapted to the warm climate. The 8b zone is one of the warmest in Oregon and has a long frost-free period of at least 240 days within a year — great news for your beloved plants. 

If you opt for some of Oregon’s native plants, you can’t go wrong. Native plants are perfectly adapted to their zone’s climate characteristics and seasons, besides being great for the local environment. The City of Eugene has a list of native plants that you can include in your yard or garden:

  • Ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa): An evergreen tree that attracts butterflies and does well in full sun.
  • Oregon white oak (Quercus garryana): A deciduous tree that is an important habitat for many wildlife species and is a host for butterflies. Prefers full sun and dry soil.
  • Vine maple (Acer circinatum): A small deciduous tree with a beautiful fall color. Grows best in shade but tolerates sun when well-watered.
  • Buckbrush (Ceanothus cuneatus): This large evergreen shrub is drought-resistant and loves full sun.
  • Serviceberry (Amelanchier alnifolia): This deciduous shrub has lovely white flowers, and its berries attract birds. Adapts well in moist to dry soil and in shade to sun.
  • Red columbine (Aquilegia formosa): This beautiful red flower thrives in full sun to partial shade and adds a pop of color to your yard.
  • Wooly sunflower (Eriophyllum lanatum): A great option for a butterfly garden, these bright yellow flowers do well in various landscapes, from wet prairies to rocky slopes.

Best Grasses for Eugene

 Perennial Ryegrass
Perennial Ryegrass
Photo Credit: Dr Mary Gillham Archive Project / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

If you’re looking for a good old turfgrass lawn, opt for the grass types that are well-adapted to Eugene’s dry summers and humid winters. Some of the best grass seeds for western Oregon are:

  • Perennial ryegrass
  • Tall fescue and fine fescue
  • Colonial bentgrass and creeping bentgrass

On an important note: Kentucky bluegrass is often included in seed mixes with perennial ryegrass to improve durability.

When to Plant in Eugene

The planting season for trees and shrubs in Eugene goes from November 1 to March 15. Planting during the fall, right after the seasonal rains have started, gives the plants the time to establish a root system before the dry summer months.

When it comes to overseeding your lawn, spring and fall are the best times. In Oregon State’s lawn care calendar for western Oregon, the recommendation is to overseed between mid-April to mid-May to prevent common weeds in Oregon from creeping into bare areas.

FAQ About Eugene’s Hardiness Zone

What are the USDA Hardiness Zones?

The USDA hardiness zone map is a general guide for growing perennial plants. The zones are designated based on the average annual extreme minimum temperature, ranging from the coldest zone (zone 1) to the warmest (zone 13).

What is the Difference Between Zones 8a and 8b?

Each zone is subdivided into two zones, “a” and “b,” representing the colder and warmer halves of each zone, respectively. For zone 8, for example, the 8a zone is the colder half, while zone 8b is the warmer half.

When are Eugene’s Frost Dates?

Eunege’s probable last frost date is estimated to be June 11. The risk for frost begins by September 30, and by November 1, it is almost certain a frost event will have occurred. 

Find a Pro Near You

Don’t know where to start? Why not hire a professional who knows the best plants and lawn care practices for your region? Call a trusted lawn care pro in Eugene and get the lawn of your dreams in no time.

Main Image Credit: Visitor7 / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

Teresa Joaquim

Teresa Joaquim

A psychologist by training, Teresa is a creative writer with a background in scientific research. With a passion for art and a deep connection with nature, she enjoys leisurely visits to the park and listening to music while admiring the beauty of local flowers and the native landscape.