Sempervivum 'Eddy'

Plants for green roofs with soil depth of 50mm

We pick some of the best plants to grow on green roofs with very little soil, around 50mm.

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

Advertisement

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.

Related content:

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

Acaena microphylla
Acaena microphylla

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.


Cotula

Cotula hispida growing in a container
Cotula hispida growing in a container

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

Sedum dasyphyllum
Sedum dasyphyllum

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


Sempervivums

Sempervivum 'Terracotta Baby'
Sempervivum ‘Terracotta Baby’

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.


Creeping thyme

Thymus serpyllum
Thymus serpyllum
Advertisement

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.


Kate Bradbury says

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

Kate Bradbury