How to Choose Plants for Green Roof

If you have decided for green roof system you have made the “greenest” possible decision when it comes to roofing options. Green roofs have been shown to have a large number of environmental benefits including improving air quality, reducing pollutants in rainwater, reducing the amount of rainwater running in sewage systems, reducing the heat island effect, providing a natural habitat to wildlife, etc. In addition to being environmentally friendly, green roof systems have been also shown to be the most cost-efficient of all types of roofing systems because the plants and growing medium provide an exceptional thermal insulation and significantly reduce the costs for both heating and cooling. Green roofs have also extraordinary long life span and can last up to 50 years if properly maintained.

Green Roof Plants

Green roof system is most certainly a good idea, especially if you live in an urban area but there are several things that need to be taken into account before installing a green roof including selection of plants and flower seeds that will cover your roof. But before you get to selection of plants that will look and work best on your roof, you should first decide which type of green roof system is the most appropriate for your home or building.

There are three main types of green roof systems known as intensive, semi-intensive and extensive. Intensive green roof refers to system that foresees a reasonable depth of soil and use of larger plants for roof covering. This type of green roof enables you to create a little park and even grow trees on your roof but it also requires a lot of maintenance. Intensive green roofs are therefore most often seen on rooftops of larger buildings only. Semi-intensive green roof are somewhere in between intensive and extensive systems. Extensive green roofs include a thin layer of soil only and require minimal maintenance because they usually use hardly and self-sustainable plants for roof covering.

When you determine which type of green roof systems is the most appropriate for your home or building, you should ask yourself how much time you are willing to spend for the roof maintenance. If you prefer convenience, you should inform yourself very well about plants that do not need much care. However, you should also make sure that the chosen plants grow well in your area and that they tolerate drought if living in an area with little rainfall to avoid irrigation. Another factor that plays the key role in selection of plants for your roof is the amount of sunlight they require. Determine whether there are any points on the roof that receive little amount of direct sunlight. Why? Because most plants prefer sunny areas.

The appearance of the plants should be taken into account as well, especially if your roof is easily visible from the street by people passing by. Keep in mind that many plants have dormant periods when they may look very unappealing. For that reason it may be worth to consider planting evergreen plants that grow well in your region or a combination of both to avoid your roof appearing sloppy or poorly maintained.

Green Roof Vegetables

The next important factor in selection of plants for your roof is determining their function. If you have a slopped roof you do not have much choice but if your roof is flat you can easily use it as an additional outdoor living area and perhaps even grow some fruits, vegetables and flowers. In this case, you should make sure that you choose plants that can be walked on and that they are fast-growing but not invasive.

The depth of the growing medium is another important thing you should keep in mind when selecting plants for your rooftop. The easiest ways to deal with this matter is to order both the growing media and pre-planted trays at the contractor but in this case you will not little room for creativity. If you decide to plant your rooftop on your own, make sure that the roots have enough space. Ask a local horticulturist for an advice if you are not sure which plants are appropriate for the chosen growing medium and depth.

As you see, choosing plants for green roof is not as easy as it may seem but if you take some time and do some research, you can create an unique and beautiful roof that will give your home or building an additional charm.