Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Planting Green Roofs with Native Species for Biodiversity

Green Roofs are great places for all types of plants.  Food grows well on a roof.  Wildflowers grow well on rooftops.  Native grasses thrive on roofs.  Succulents and cacti readily adapt to rooftops.

Creeping Mimosa, a Florida Native, Mimosa microphylla

Many nurseries now grow a wide variety of green roof plants.  Some of the larger green roof plant growers include;

and many more  (we are working on compiling a complete list).

Yucca Filamentosa, Native Green Roof Species
Importantly, the use of endemic plants and native plants in green roof design is growing in popularity for many reasons including,
  • Water conservation
  • Biodiversity
  • Providing much need native habitat for wildlife
  • Providing a place for endangered plants to grow 
  • Preservation of endemic plant DNA pools
  • Providing native seed source helping in the fight against exotic invasive species
Moreover, many grassroots efforts are underway within communities to educate the populace about the benefits of planting native wildflowers.   Many good wildflower blogs are available online.  A few of these native plant blogs are;
  • Loret with Loret's BlahBlah Blog commented recently on the use of two Florida native plant species, Agave decipiens and Lespedeza capitata.

Both these species can be grown on green roofs with success, especially when planted as partner species.  The native agave provides a windbreak and shade to the clover while the clover provides NH3 and NO3 as fertilizer to the agave.

Click here for images of;
I would also add another excellent green roof native plant species (for Florida).  Yucca filamentosa, Adam's Needle is another proven green roof native plant species.

When choosing a green roof plant consult with a local horticulturist and discuss the different plant species appropriate for the site's ecosystem.  Consider native plant species as appropriate choices to encourage biodiversity, conserve water and provide habitat.

Green roof planting design do not have to be exclusively native or non-natives.  Native species may be integrated into any standard green roof planting design.

However, with the many ecological benefits native plant species can offer our urban rooftops, it may well benefit all to look to wildflowers for the next green roof project plant design.

1 comment:

Loret said...

thanks for the "shout out" on both my personal blog and the beautifulwildlifegarden.com blog which I also contribute to. We appreciate it!