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Plants for green roofs with soil depth of 50mm

There are many ways to maximise a garden’s usefulness to wildlife. One of them is the creation of a green roof.

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Whether you transform a shed or a gazebo, a log store or a bike shelter, the top of many structures can be turned into a home for plants. And with good planning and the right plants, your green roof will establish itself as a viable wildlife community that needs only occasional intervention from you.

So seize the opportunity to ‘elevate’ your planting to a whole new level, with our pick of plants for a soil depth of 50mm.

Acaena

A wonderfully textured plant with pink burrs, Acaena microphylla forms dense carpets that tolerate drought. The plant is a member of the rose family and each leaf resembles a tiny glaucous rose leaf. This plant flowers from June to September.

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Cotula

Ground-hugging Cotula hispida forms mats of filigree silver foliage that are soft to the touch. The tiny yellow button flowers are like the centre of a daisy – not surprising, as this plant is a member of the daisy family. This plant flowers May to August.

Sedums

The leaves of sedums have built-in reservoirs to withstand drought. Stature and leaf size vary among the species, but S. rupestre, S. reflexum and S. acre are ideal for roofs. Each leaf can grow into a new plant. This plant flowers from June to August.

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Sempervivums

Legend has it that sempervivums and their close relative Jovibarba should be planted on roofs to stave off thunderbolts. This undoubted benefit aside, they still grow well on a roof with no need for soil. Sempervivums flower from June to August.

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Creeping thyme

The tiny flowers of native Thymus serpyllum are rich in nectar, so are great for insects. This plant thrives in thin soil with sharp drainage, so a roof is the perfect location, where it will create a dense covering. Creeping thyme flowers from May to August.

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Kate Bradbury says

Add lightweight stones and pieces of wood to the roof to create additional shelter for wildlife.

Kate Bradbury