Thursday, November 18, 2010

Green Roof Plants - Food, Fiber and Medicine Day Two List

Choosing the right green roof plants can sometimes be a challenge for even the most experienced green roof designer - as we commented yesterday.

Today we will be discussing the next three green roof plants out of approximately forty different species suitable for green roofs in climates similar to those found here in Florida - Arid, Rainy, Hot, Humid, Cold, and Windy.

Again, the basic principles each green roof plant possesses include:

* Drought tolerant
* Hardy against innundation and flooding
* Possesses qualities of either food, fiber or medicinal traits
* Social benefit from beauty
* Non-invasive or pest qualities
* Native species to region
* Provides food, forage or communal habitat to wildlife
* Cleans stormwater
* Good plant for sequestering Carbon

Plants number 6, 7 and 8 are:

Important Food and Fiber Green Roof Plants

Trifolium incarnatum - Crimson Clover

Native to Europe, Red or Crimson Clover makes a great filler plant for in between Green Roof structure plants.  Although not a native, red clover is a good, not invasive species providing pollen, beauty, erosion control and acts as a fertilizer since the species fixes nitrogen into the soil - a 'green manure' plant.

Treat Crimson Clover as an annual on your winter green roof - it will wilt away in the summer humidity - but is worth the seeding exercise because of the stunning winter-time red flowers.

Crimson clover will support wildlife biodiversity.  Bees, butterflies and other pollinators are attracted to Red Clover.

Florida Native Plants for Green Roofs

Andropogon virginicus -  Broomsedges 

There are a variety of Andropogon species growing across Florida.  A beautiful native grass species, Andropogon offers a variety of blues and blue greens along with interesting textures.

Broomsedge, Andropogon virginicus is important to wildlife and promote biodiversity.

I've seen Andropogon virginicus do well on Florida green roofs.  My only caution is they may produce significant amounts of dried leaf litter that could contribute towards fire fuel.  Strategically placed, not en masse, Andropogon virginicus should function well on a green roof as they are drought and innundation tolerant.

Andropogon spp. - Bluestems

One of my all time favorite grasses, the colors in the bluestems are amazing - ranging from blue to silver to blue green to purple.

The above link takes you in a new window to a list of bluestems from short to tall.

I recommend most of these species for green roofs as they are beautiful, drought tolerant and can survive flooding.

Again, watch the clumping of too many of these as they can produce copious amounts of leaf litter.

Again, we will be discussing more species over the next few days.

Feel free to add your comments or email us with your questions here.

Happy green roofing.


No comments: