Green Roofs Around the World

A Collection of Plants on Roofs From All Over

Green roofs are nothing new, even though it may seem like it.  For centuries people have been decorating their roofs with plants or using them for protection from the weather, or the wrath of the gods.

Green Roofs from Around the World

We think of Sedum as the ideal plant for green roof planting, but they are only one of the many great choices we have nowadays.

Have a look at some of the other plants that are perfectly adapted for growing on a roof.

The cottages in Iceland have been thatched in live grass turfs, which eventually root and grow, held in place by strong roots. 

In medieval Europe Sempervivum, known then as Jovibarba or Jove's Beard, were tossed up to the roof thatched in reeds to protect them from lightening strikes, and as a bonus they held the thatch in place and added beauty.

Clay tiles emulate the conditions of high alpine mountain cliffs

In Portugal, the clay tiled roofs are the perfect and well drained environment for many different species of the commonly known hens and chicks plant, including Sempervivum arachnoideum among others.

Some green roofs are just left to do their own thing, kind of accidentally.  Others are planned out and engineered.

The accidental ones grow plants chosen by nature for their willingness to grow in inhospitable conditions, the weaklings culled by bitter cold and driving rain, or high winds. 

The engineered type of green roof fulfills the vision of the builder, using materials and plants that are chosen for particular purposes. 

Usually, the plants are those that the designer likes for length of flowering, ability to colonize a large area, and the characteristic of smothering weeds. 

Low maintenance is one of the most important features of any green roof, no matter where in the world it is.