We hear, on a regular basis, “It grows in California, why not here?”. Last week we got “It grows in Oklahoma.” Ok, let’s keep it simple…Houston is located further south than all of California (dry heat because it’s sandwiched between 2 deserts, yes the Pacific Ocean is a desert…no obvious plants and little rain) …and definitely south of Oklahoma. You simply need to look at a globe or a flat map that adjusts for the curvature of this ball we live on, to see how far south Houston is. The flat map we all grew up with is very misleading, because it is impossible to correctly map a round thing on a flat surface. This fact has challenged cartographers since the beginning of map making http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cartography . Houston lays almost on the 30° latitude (29° 45′ 46″N to be exact). Check it out on this map: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/6a/CIA_WorldFactBook-Political_world.pdf
Houston is further south than New Orléans, Jacksonville, Fl. and Tijuana, Mexico. How about this…ALL of Texas is further south than ALL of Europe. Cairo, Egypt (yes, they have a dry heat…), Israel, most of Afghanistan and most of Japan are further north than Houston. It’s crazy hot in some of those places and yet, we are further south.
This map shows the parts of the world that have a similar climate to ours. http://www.classzone.com/books/earth_science/terc/content/visualizations/es2103/es2103page01.cfm?chapter_no=visualization
This list has all the major cities of the world listed by latitude. Houston is under the 30° North listing. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_cities_by_latitude
With the Gulf Coast on one side and our continental air mass on the other, our weather can fluctuate from one extreme to the other, as it has in recent years. Ocean currents, mountains, El Niño and El Nina also affect our weather. Heat, humidity, freezing weather and rainfall totals all dictate what plants can be grown in any place. The weather in other parts of our country and the world can give the illusion that they are further south than Houston, do not be fooled. Just look at a map and see they don’t refer to this part of the country as the “Deep South” for nothing.