Friday, July 25, 2014

Florida Green Roofs - Know Thy Plants!

Florida summertime is hard on green roofs.  Not only are roofing membranes subject to intense weather challenges, green roof plants also are subject to intense biological and meteorological assaults.
Summer humidity may quickly kill Florida green roof succulents
We have posted notes about Black Rot fungus before here on this blog.  It never fails though that every summer persons will contact me asking why their succulents are turning brown, black or rotting.
Florida green roof succulents battle the Black Rot fungus every summer
The simple answer is to use Florida native plants (preferably evergreen species but a mix of deciduous plants will work too, depending on the green roof location in the state).  Here in Florida native green roof plants usually far outperform horticultural succulents.
Florida green roof succulents rarely become the dominant green roof plant and usually die out
Florida summers bring maximum humidity and maximum temperatures.  With daily afternoon rain showers most rooftops become pressure cookers, steaming green roof plants like vegetables in a hot wok.  If you do not intimately understand Florida roofs and how plants preform there (and this only comes from hands on learning, failures and successes are the best teachers) then your roof design may quickly end up devoid of plants as you stand there, helpless, watching the succulents literally dissolve in the heat and humidity and fungus attacks.

Tropical green roofs are a challenge.  We have listed some great green roof native plants here.

Know how your plants will perform in a pressure cooker before specifying them on a green roof here in Florida.

1 comment:

Gerald Vonberger said...

We've been trying to make our house more "green" lately. I've heard that the roof is a good place to start. The roof we have right now is pretty bad though. We're definitely going to have to install a new one. I like the materials you suggested for the roof. We'll use those for sure. http://www.a1roofingandsidingofli.com/roofing-and-siding-of-long-island-services.html