Air plants (Tillandasi) are growing on the very top of a 297 meter building in Melbourne Australia! The Eureka Tower ! The plants have been installed by environmental artist Lloyd Godman.
The sculptural plants, have been an indoor decorating hit in the UK, USA and Australia over the last 5 years (air plants and interiors ).
Why would you put air plants on the roof top?
The plants grow at night and provide a possible solution to reducing pollution during the evening peak. Air plants are also a cheaper solution than soil grown plants.
Roof gardens are becoming a mainstream solution to overcome environmental issues such as air pollution and urban heating. The French National Assembly ruled last week that all new commercial developments in the city centre of Paris must be partially covered in roof gardens (Green Roofs for Paris) . As this environmental mitigation trend continues there is likely to be an increasing demand for techniques to deliver cost effective roof garden solutions .
Roof gardens are expensive. Partly because they are maintenance intensive. Partly because soil can add considerable weight to the roof structure. Airplants can minimise these impacts as they require no soil and no direct watering.
Can Air Plants Survive on Roofs?
Godman is conducting an interesting test in Melbourne, Australia. Air plants are sometimes considered to be rather temperamental in cold temperatures. They originate from the warmer climates of Central and South America. It is pleasing to hear that the plants have not only lived but they have flowered too. Godman advised that he is trialling only two of the more robust air plants: Tillandasi bergeri and Tillandasi Houston (Houston is a hybrid – a cross between T. stricta and T. recurvifolia ).
Godman has been working with Phillip Johnson Landscapes and together they have devised three key issues variables that will influence the success of growing airplants on your roof. First is aspect, second is the species and third variable is acclimatisation.
We asked Godman a few questions post publication. The responses are below