What Types Of Trees And Bushes Can I Use On A Rooftop?

Feb 2, 2015 |

Rooftops are normally hostile site when it comes to growing trees and bushes. This is mainly because of the strong winds, high temperature and high light intensity. All these provide a challenge for plants. As such, plants to be grown on rooftops need to be selected carefully. The plants chosen should be able o cope with the above-mentioned challenges. The following considerations should be addressed when selecting plants to grow in your home.

  • The site to grow the plants
  • The microclimate around the site
  • Maintenance factors of the plants

With a consideration on these factors, plants to be planted on rooftops need to tolerate all the challenges associated with roof top sites. When selecting plants for the rooftop, you also need to consider the purpose of the roof. Some rooftops are designed to soak up water and remove all the contaminants from the water during a storm. Plants for such rooftops should be able to use water effectively and to accumulate nutrients. Right form groundcovers to shrubs, the following are some of the plants that are best suited for use on roof tops.

Kousa Dogwood

Growing up to a height of 30 feet, the Kousa dogwood is too small to be considered a tree. This plant makes an excellent foundation planting for the rooftop garden. During the spring, the plant blossoms with small gorgeous flowers with colors ranging from white to pink. Throughout the summer, Kousa Dogwood produces deep green foliage. This transits into red-purple leaves along fruits in autumn. Dogwoods are known to be some of the most versatile plants that can thrive in moist soil, full sun and shady spots. In addition to this these plants have attractive blooms and fantastic fall color.

Harry Lauder’s Walking Stick

Also referred to as the Corylus avellana, the Harry Lauder’s walking stick is a deciduous shrub. This plant twists itself into profound shapes, which makes it an excellent sculptural plant for a roof top garden. The plan has heart-shaped foliage and can reach a height of 10 feet.

Helictotrichon Sempervirens

This plant grows in clumps of blue-gray and thin blades. It is a Mediterranean grass that grows in clumps and reaches a height of 2 to 3 feet and about 3 feet wide. In spring, this grass produces clusters of flowers about 2 feet above the foliage. The plant is ideal for Zones14–24 and 1–12 as well.

Agastache Rugosa

The Agastache rugosa is a perennial plant that is native in Korea. Glossy green stems and licorice-scented leaves characterize it. The plant can grow up to 2 feet wide and 5 feet tall. It is well suited for Zones 4–24.


The Sempervivum 89is a native plant in Europe. It grows in clumps with a span of about two feet. The plant has characteristic pink-tipped and gray-green rosettes that measure up to5 inches across. The stems of this plant are thin and grow up to two feet tall. It is these stems that produce the reddish flowers that make the plant magnificent when it blossoms. This plant is ideal for zones 2–24.

Salvia Clevelandii

The Salvia clevelandii has gray-green foliage. In summer, it produces purple-blue flower spikes, just above the foliage. The plant is basically a sage that is native to northern Baja and Southern California. It can grow up to a height of 3 to 5 feet tall. Additionally, it spans to between 5 and 8 feet wide. It is best suited for zones8, 9 as well as 12–24.

Sedum Spurium ‘Voodoo’

Sedum spurium is a quick spreading and low-​growing plant. This succulent plant is found in Caucasus. Tinny, rounded burgundy leaves characterize it. In summer, this plant blossoms to produce small reddish flowers. The plant is meant for Zones 1–10 as well as 14–24.

Sedum Rupestre ‘Angelina’

This plant has stems that grow up to 6 inches tall. The leaves of this plant grow on the stems. It is classified as a succulent plant and is native in Europe. Since it spreads freely, it is excellent filler in between other plants. It may also be used as a fluffy groundcover on roof to p gardens.

Libertia Peregrinans

The Libertia peregrinans primarily grows in New Zealand. It has stiff orangey and thin blades. It grows to a height of about 2 feet tall. The plant spreads to cover a width of about an inch. In summer and spring, this plant blossoms wit white flowers.

Lavandula Multifida

The Lavandula multifida a Mediterranean shrub that can withstand the harsh conditions found on a rooftop. Silver foliage and thin stems that are tipped with violet blooms characterize it. The plant grows to a maximum of 3 feet wide. The plant mainly blossoms in spring and fall.

Sedum Spathulifolium ‘Cape Blanco’

The Sedum spathulifolium has trailing stems that produce small blue-green leaves. The leaves form tight rosettes on the stems. The plant is a low grower and has an excellent ground cover. It is native in California

Nassella Tenuissima

This is a type of grass that is found in Texas, New Mexico. It also grows in Mexico. It gas wispy green blades and grows in clumps in summer, this grass produces fair-haired flower heads. It is ideal for zones 2b–24.

Lewisia Cotyledon ‘Sunset Strain’

This plant is originally from Oregon and California. It has evergreen foliage reaching a height of one foot. The plant also extended to cover a width of about 10 inches. While this plant can still do well in rocky gardens, it needs excellent drainage.

Echinocactus Grusoni

This is a low growing plant that is also well suited for roof top plants. It is covered with golden spines. It is a native Mexican cactus that reaches a height of about 4 feet and covers a width of 2½ feet. In summer, it blossoms to produce small yellow flowers at the top.

The space on your roof can be turned into a magnificent garden using the right plants. Various plants, including small shrubs, trees, biennials, annuals, herbaceous perennials and low growing succulents, are best suited for rooftop gardens.

Check out Wikipedia for a bit more information: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tree

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