Thursday, May 19, 2011

Planting Green Roofs, Seeds, Plugs or Plants?

The other day I saw a Twitter post asking the question 'What to plant on a green roof; seeds or plugs?"

There were several notable answers and one, from the UK's Green Roof expert, Dusty Gedge, was something to the effect of - 'Both'!

I agree.  A Green Roof should look nice and full on install for many reasons, including:

  • Jump starts biodiversity support 
  • Creates visual beauty
  • Mature plants clean more stormwater
  • Cleans the air
  • Quickly sequesters Carbon 
  • & Much More!
Green Roof supports biodiversity, cleans stormwater
I like to add a third item to the initial planting material - mature plants.

With mature plants, plugs and seeds the green roof will look good quickly and have a second and third wave of growth automatically set to fill in the vacant or bare areas.

Good wildflower seed mixtures are available across the internet and one of my favorite is Prairie Moon Native Plant Seeds.

Plant mature green roof plants across the roof and fill in the gaps with the plugs.  Spread the wildflower seeds across the roof area you wish to grow in as a prairie or wildflower meadow.

Most wildflower seed mixtures contain enough varieties so you can easily meet the 10-20-30 rule for biodiversity, and usually contain tough, hardy plants such as members of the Asteraceae and Poaceae families.

Once established, both the annual and perennial wildflowers will reseed and continue to fill in the rooftop areas.

Utilizing mature plants, plugs and seeds offers a three dimensional quality to the green roof planting plan, one providing beauty over time, habitat support and environmental benefits.

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