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What Grows Best in Western Washington

If you plan your backyard's landscaping and plantings, our experts advise you choose plants and flowers native to your local area. These plants have the best chances of thriving in your landscape. To help out those in the Seattle and Bellevue area, we have compiled this list of flowers, shrubs, and crops that flourish in the western Washington climate. 

(On the other side of the mountains? Here is our list of the best plantings in the Spokane area)

This information is based on the USDA'S geographical hardiness zones. Bellevue, Issaquah, Redmond, Tacoma, and the surrounding areas are in Zone 8. Western Washington is unique because several hardiness zones are clustered together due to the Puget Sound and nearby coast. However, most of the area is in zone 8, so we have based this article on what plantings thrive there. Inland western Washington sees moderate winters and summers, meaning that neither season often reaches extreme temperatures. Of course, this list of plantings is not exclusive; it simply dives into examples of some of the best performing plantings in this area.


Flowers

Daffodil

One of western Washington's favorites, the daffodil, is renowned for its unmistakable color and flowering shape. Though it has a short blooming season, the plant is quite animal friendly--deer-resistant and an excellent source for pollinators.

Tulip

The Skagit Valley Tulip Festival displays western Washington glory every year. Because of their perennial nature and ability to thrive throughout winter, gardeners should plant these bulbs in the fall to produce spring blooms.

Rhodendron

This a staple flower that you are almost guaranteed to find in any western Washington garden. Due to the Seattle area's moist, acidic soil, "Rhodies" thrive in this climate. As a flowering shrub, their dense, evergreen leaves provide surrounding flowers like daffodils and tulips the ideal leafy backdrop.


Shrubs and Trees

Fuschia

Though not often thought of as a shrub, this flowering plant is famous for its appearance in hanging baskets. The drooping flowers are vibrant in color, and this versatile plant is pretty happy wherever you plant it.

Hosta

The Hosta is a flowering shrub that thrives in shady areas. Not only do they have pretty white flowers that bloom in the summer, but their broad leaves offer several ranges of green, blue and white color.

Fern

Though ferns are not known for their beauty, they are an excellent ground cover. Hardy and versatile, there is sure to be a variety of fern that will thrive in any needed area of your landscape.


Crops

Carrot

In the Seattle area, carrots are easy to grow as long as they are in good, deep soil. Sow the seeds apart so that they don't interfere with each other. Depending on how fast your carrots grow, you can plant new rounds to harvest throughout the entire summer.

Herbs

Herbs thrive in cooler climates like zone 8. Oregano, rosemary, sage, and thyme all should do well whether in the ground or in pots.

Asparagus

Asparagus is perennial, so once it establishes, you will have a yearly supply! The edible part is the first part that shoots up out of the ground. A fully established plant will continually produce spears throughout the season, so it is well worth the investment!

Whatever you choose to plant this year, now is the time to get started! When in doubt, contact your local nursery to hear their specific plant recommendations. With the last frost (hopefully) behind us, pull out your gardening gloves and get to work!