Green Roof Plants

Green roof plants. Over the last few years, the ways in which we interact with our properties and the way that we manage them have changed entirely.


Now, there seems to be a much more acute awareness about the significant problems of not doing enough to keep our bills down; as the financial pinch starts to really tell for some, and those cheaper bills can start to sound a whole lot better!

However, being able to manage things like your bills and getting costs down means making changes elsewhere – particularly with the way that your home manages and deals with heat and energy.

For a lot of people, green roofs have become very popular as they help to make homes dryer, warmer and far more comfortable to sit in whilst adding a unique aesthetic look to the top of the home.

The problem is that a green roof has a very specific list of green plants that it can use. To find a comprehensive green roof plants list, though, you have come to the right place as we’ll break down the most suitable plants for green roofs.

Learning how to plant a green roof is another proposition entirely, and usually requires the help and assistance of an expert.

Put simply, the costs of doing it all on your own can be too much to even make it worth considering. So, you really should try and just put it all together with someone who is already experienced in knowing how to plant a green roof.

To make sure that the job turns out the way that it should, you need to rely upon the right green roof plant selection to get it looking the best that it can and to also give it enough variety in terms of the style of plant.

The Best Green Roof Plant Species

When it comes to finding the best kind of green roof plant species to rely upon, you really do need to consider the importance of making a closely considered selection.

Putting the wrong type of plants in will be a waste of time and money, as it does not just cost for the plants, it costs to bring it all together and to get the actual system working the way that it should.

Therefore, to avoid this, you should try and only plant any of the following compatible green plant species;

  • Low growing succulents – anything from 50-150mm substrates
  • Herbaceous Perennials – 150mm substrates
  • Small shrubs/turd – 250mm substrates
  • 2m+ shrubs – 500mm substrates
  • Small trees – 1m substrates

Preferred Plant Species

As you try and find the right green roof plants list, you will probably notice that many of the plants you come across can fall into the selections provided above.

However, many plants for a green roof can be seen as fitting into one of two categories– suitable in shade and dealing with harsh conditions, or not.

To make the right decision on the best green roof plants for your needs, you need to look at what kind of garden you are going to grow – long and luscious, or short and simple?

To decide that, it helps to know some about many of the most commonly used plants for green roofs.

There are various species out there that need to be checked out and improved to ensure they fit with what you are looking for and what you need, and we recommend that you check out any of the following plant styles;

    • Allium – Allium cernuum, schoenoprasum, senescens and ‘Summer Beauty’ are all popular and compatible styles of flowers to go with. These styles can vary from having extremely strong roots to upright foliage, vibrant colors and extremely thick leaves. Anything in these four families will add a nice range of color and texture to the roof, whilst the senescens equivelants will also add some much needed color alongside the choenoprasum.

    • Delosperma – Split into the dyeri, cooperi and nubigenum ‘Basutoland’ families, these are flowers that all look very different. The dyeri are a vibrant red color which, over time, will fade due to the sun giving you various blooms in the first year. However, the ‘Basutoland’ plants are very strong even in the cold and provide a bright yellow bloom during the spring. They go to a very attractive pink color during the winter. Cooperi, though, are simple magenta flowers with a green foliage that is especially thick and tough.


    • “Mixed Flats” – Mixed flat types are very different in that they come in various different blends. You can buy these packages with various different plants inside, and most of these will be made to deal with shade. this can be great for creating things like nectar and pollen and typically make a smart choice to include in your green roof plants.

Mixed Flats

    • Phedimus – Otherwise known as the ‘Golden Carpet,’ this plant is one which grows extremely quickly whilst adding a fair level of depth and foliage to your green roof. It holds the leaves in the winter a lot longer than many others can, and can retain its green colors all throughout the winter, providing it’s a fairly mild one.

    • Sedum – The sedum family are very rich and varied, and they include the album, ellacombianum, hybridum ‘Immergunchen’ and the ‘Weihenstephaner Gold.’ These beautiful flowers can be anything from a dark green foliage with bright yellow heads to rather varied colors that peak throughout the plants. A great selection to go for in that most of them can maintain their foliage throughout the winter as much as the summer, making them excellent choices to go with.

Getting The Right Plant Types

One thing to remember, then, is that Extensive green roofs and Intensive green roofs will require different kinds of plants. Extensive gardens are more varied and typically have low heights, but grow extremely quickly.

Intensive gardens are more akin to the normal garden.

Either way, you need to get the design right or you need to choose the right kind of plants for each. Whilst an Intensive garden works with nearly anything, the Extensive garden works best with plants that have a high drought tolerance.

This is because they tend to be suffering more from water loss and will have to undergo harsher conditions than the more wild, over the top Intensive gardens which are allowed to flow rather wildly.

Whatever you are using in your garden, you will find that making that choice is going to be very important – try and fit the kind of green roof plants that you use into the right category and you will find that it’s much easier to balance and look after your green roof plants.

Founder & Editor

Hi, I’m Jim. I was a roofing constructor for 20 years, before deciding to start and gather the best content about roofing. I love woodworking and construction and it was only natural for me to start this passion project of mine. Thank you for visitng.