Plant Selection in Green Roofs and Walls

Plant Selection in Green Roofs and Walls

Selecting the right plants is a major factor in the success of green infrastructure  achievements. We need to match plant communities with environmental conditions in  the built environment that mimic conditions in their original habitats Lundholm (2006).

Our environment is an asset that needs to be acknowledged, treasured and maintained for future generations.

The plant selection for a green installment should include native endemic species  that are suitable for the local climate and enhance the biodiversity by complementing the surrounding environment. Many of our native species have aesthetic beauty as well as adaptability. Its time we started to consider our vast range of native species more in our selection for green infrastructure.

Diversity in any investment is the key to profitability through the spread of risk; it may also be the key to plant selection success on a green wall or roof. Using plants with different strategies to deal with weather extremes or drought will help in the overall plant success of a green wall or roof. Spreading the risk across varying species will also provide us with the key question “What species are going to work on a green  roof?” Trial and error will be the method until this industry matures, but we can minimize the time searching for the right species by using certain criteria used by other green wall and roof specialists. A good way to start is having a look at green walls in your area.

It takes time to trial and select plants for a green roof or green wall project. Every project in our cities has a unique environment, a different microclimate or aspect, which will determine the range of species. Some will thrive others will curl up and die, some will surprise you and some will disappoint you, it is important to give them time to try them out. You will then gain confidence and begin to use your own palette of plants.

Robbie Renu
Gecko Plantscapes
Horticulturist/ Green wall and roof specialist