Roots 'n' Shoots: South Africa Climate & Hardiness Zones

Why is RnS Moving to

Google had brought out an algorithm update in May 2017. With previous updates like Panda or Penguin, Mr G had penalized blogs or websites with low quality content and those more focused on aggressive adverts (including multiple ads or pop-up ads in articles). However, many blogs/websites that weren't shady got penalized beyond recovery too and a lot of people lost their income. The May 2017 update has had wide-scale effect on blogs and websites, but without any explanation from Mr G as to why or what it does. RnS has been hit by it too and hard. RnS organic search stats (i.e. users from Google) have dropped by 75% since. Even though RnS is not a source of income, I tried to figure out why RnS is being culled. It seems that it doesn't really have anything to do with RnS per se, but likely because RnS is FREE and not paying for page ranking (via AdWords or Ad Ranking). Now it is likely being aggressively shoved to lower page rankings to accommodate the paid ads.

I cannot rely on Mr G anymore to get RnS' content where it is needed. So I am busy moving RnS to Wordpress where you can find me as Whisker Flowers @

I am also imposing 301 redirects from already moved posts and pages!

- The Shroom - (AKA Whisker Flowers)

Saturday, 3 August 2013

South Africa Climate & Hardiness Zones

My research is in Agriculture and as a result I am always on the lookout for climate & agricultural maps of South Africa. The government doesn’t do a good job at updating this information and the weather bureau wants you to pay them a lot of money for such info – on a student budget, buying information is unpractical – the university I study at does have their own archive, but it a bit out dated (maps from 2000).

So, I have scouted the internet since 2011 and last year a very nice updated climate map was made available by the CSIR and D. C. U. Conradie, I have posted it on my About page; but here it is again.

Recently I tried to get a hold of South Africa’s Hardiness Zones, and yet again without fail, I seem to turn up with nothing, nada, niks!

Some of my vegetable books from Australia have the hardiness zones of South Africa, since the two countries have very similar climatic patterns. To prevent plagiarism I remade my own based on several sources. Most of the zones coincide with South Africa's annual rainfall patterns.

South Africa Hardiness Zones
Reconstructed visually from maps supplied by
Grow Your Own Fruit & Vegetables the easy way (AUS book) and Food From Your Garden (SA book)
Constructed with ArcGISOnline tools

Just a note on the map above; it is based on the Australian Hardiness Zones and not the USDA. Therefore it requires some clarification:

Zone 1: Hot arid
This region has a low rainfall (350mm per annum) and is very dry. Rain falls during the summer in the north and during the winter in the south. Extended periods of drought are a regular occurrence. Daytime temperatures are 38oC-45oC, with little humidity. Night time temperatures drop drastically and frost is a regular occurrence in winter. Frosts can be severe in the southern regions and occur during late autumn to early spring.
Zone 2: Mediterranean
Zone 2 correlates with a winter rainfall pattern (350-1000mm per annum), usually between late autumn and early spring. Summers are hot and dry with periodic droughts with an average daytime temperature below 30oC. As with most of SA, frost occurs more towards the inland than on the coast. This region has similar climate to the northern Mediterranean and southern California.
Zone 5: Cool subtropical
This zone contains a large chunk of the fynbos biome and the montane forest of SA. It is a coastal region with warm, moist conditions with an average temperature of 18oC to 24oC. Rainfall occurs throughout the year, 750-1250mm per annum, with the heaviest during mid-summer and mid-autumn. Frost doesn’t occur along the coast, but towards the inland and around the mountains during mid-April to early October.
Zone 6: Warm Subtropical
This is an ideal zone for gardens with a hot, humid climate and summer rainfall pattern. Average temperatures are 20oC to 23oC and 750-1250mm of annual rainfall. July to September is warm and sunny with little rain. Night temperatures don’t fall below 15oC – a good thing for growing peppers!!! J Some inland areas experience frost, but the zone is mainly frost free.
Zone 7: Warm Semi-Arid>
Average summer temperatures are mid-30oC or higher. Rain is monsoonal and occurs mainly during summer, 250-850mm per annum, with more rain towards the coast. Extended periods of severe drought can occur far from the coast.  In the northern parts frost is restricted to July, but can occur throughout the winter in the south and can be heavy around mountains.
This is a general guideline to SA and given the amount of season shifting we have experience the last five years it may differ slightly at local regions and microclimatic conditions. To convert your AUS hardiness zone to USDA, simply add 7 to your AUS zone (for example, Roodepoort is Zone 7 AUS = 7 +7 = Zone 14 USDA).

I hope this helps any other people looking for this info on SA! For any of those who want to create your own maps, check out; where you can create a free ArcGISOnline account to make basic maps!

Which zone is your garden located in? Do you any specific problems with your climate?

- Update: 13 Oct 2013 -

Warming of Southern Africa linked to the Antarctic Ozone hole

Nature Article - Ozone loss warmed southern Africa
Original Article - Link between Antarctic ozone depletion and summer warming over southern Africa


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