57 Best Plants for Green Roof Projects 

The following list provides a wide range of plants and plant types for green roof applications.

The first group (Plants for Extensive Green Roofs, below) is suitable for deep or shallow-rooted vegetation; the second group (Intensive Green Roof Plants, below) is limited to deep root systems.

We understand that some plants may not be available in some regions, but have included the most widely-adopted species.

Best Plants for Extensive Green Roofs

Extensive green roofs typically use a lightweight soil mix and only a few inches of substrate, so plants must be able to tolerate long periods of drought.

a)Best Succulents for Extensive Green Roofs

1) Sedum (Golden Carpet)

Sedum is one of the most popular plants for green roofs because it is both tough and drought-tolerant. It needs minimal care and can thrive even in adverse conditions such as clay or concrete soil.

Colorful sedum roof

Sedum is also incredibly resilient to pests, making it a good choice for green roofs that will be open to the public. Their roots are shallow (about half an inch), so they need to be planted in a lightweight substrate.

Some varieties of Sedum to consider:

‘Autumn Joy’: Large, bright pink flowers.

‘Matrona’: Bright green leaves with dramatic purple stems.

How to grow: Plant in fall, water thoroughly, and not water again until the soil is dry. Water sparingly after that; Sedum will go dormant below 10 degrees Celsius (50 degrees Fahrenheit).

How to Maintain:

Allow foliage to die down naturally over the winter season.

Cut back spent stems only when necessary, as Sedum will branch off of old woody stems.

When flowering occurs in late spring, cut off flower heads sparingly; they are edible and can be brewed into tea or used in salads.

Use a handful of all-purpose fertilizers once a year.

Intense irrigation can be harmful to Sedum and compromise its ability to grow successfully. Sedum is very drought-tolerant but unable to survive in prolonged periods of dryness; it needs at least several weeks of moisture at a time.

Xeriscaping possibility: Sedum is a great choice for xeriscaping.

Growing media required: Soil mix that includes sand and perlite or pumice (soil mix, light soil, sandy soil)

Stormwater runoff management: Moderate

Root Depth: 1/2-inch

2) Sempervivum (Houseleeks)

Sempervivum (Houseleeks)

Sempervivums are succulents that form rosettes with thick, fleshy leaves and stems. They propagate by separating these “chicks” from a central “hen.” Sempervivums are hardy to -30°F (-34°C) and thrive in full sun or partial shade.

How to grow: Sempervivums can be grown from seed but are most commonly propagated by division.

How to Maintain: 

Remove dead leaves, but do not pick leaves for propagation until they have died. 

Remove browned leaves out of sight to avoid unsightly die-off on the roof.

Sempervivums should be watered sparingly, except during periods of drought, when they should be watered regularly. Wait for the water to dry before watering.

Apply a balanced fertilizer at the beginning of the growing season and once weekly with diluted liquid fertilizer.

Xeriscaping possibility: Sempervivums are a great choice for xeriscaping.

Growing media required: Properly drained loam or sand soil with neutral, acidic, or alkaline PH balance.

Root Depth: Up to 8 inches. 

3) Aloes 

A common plant in dry, sunny climates, aloes come in many different forms and sizes. Like the sempervivums, they are succulents that require little water and can be propagated from leaf cuttings.

Aloe

How to grow: Aloes propagate quickly by taking stem cuttings or “pups” formed at the base of the plant.

How to Maintain: 

Remove any dead leaves and flowers as they occur. Fertilize with a balanced fertilizer at the beginning of the growing season.

Aloes should be watered sparingly but regularly during periods of drought.

Apply a balanced fertilizer at the beginning of the growing season and once every month with diluted liquid fertilizer.

Xeriscaping possibility: Aloes are an excellent choice for xeriscaping.

Growing media required: Well-drained soil with neutral to acidic pH balance.

Roots: Aloes have a shallow, wide root system 

4) Bromeliads 

Bromeliads are tropical plants that add color and interest to any garden. Many different species are available, including air plants (Tillandsia) that do not require soil.

Bromeliad

How to grow: Bromeliads can be propagated by dividing the plant into smaller clumps or by taking stem cuttings. They can also be propagated by planting the bulb or corm.

How to Maintain: 

Remove any dead leaves and flowers as they occur. 

Fertilize with a balanced fertilizer at the beginning of the growing season.

Bromeliads should be watered regularly but do not need to be soaked. Over-watering can be fatal.

Xeriscaping possibility: Bromeliads make an excellent choice for xeriscaping.

Growing media required: Well-drained soil with a neutral to acidic pH balance.

Bromeliads have limited root systems that mainly act as anchors to the plant 

5) Cactus

cactuses next to each other

Cacti are succulents that come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. They are hardy to drought and frost, making them a perfect choice for xeriscaping.

How to grow: Cacti can be propagated by stem cuttings, division, or seeds.

How to Maintain: 

Remove any dead leaves and flowers as they occur. 

Fertilize with a balanced fertilizer at the beginning of the growing season.

Cacti should be watered only when the top inch of soil feels dry to the touch.

Xeriscaping possibility: Cacti is an excellent choice for xeriscaping.

Growing media required: Well-drained soil with a neutral to acidic pH balance.

Roots: 2-4.5 inches

6) Echeveria (Pink Emperor)

Echeveria is a succulent type that comes in many different shapes and colors but is most well-known for its beautiful rosettes. They make excellent indoor plants and can be used in xeriscaping projects.

Leaves of echeveria plant against other plants

How to grow: Echeveria can be propagated by division or stem cuttings. Transplant young rosettes into well-draining potting soil, then water regularly.

How to maintain: 

Remove any dead leaves and flowers as they occur. 

Fertilize with a balanced fertilizer at the beginning of the growing season.

Fertilize monthly during the growing season with a balanced fertilizer.

Echeveria should be watered regularly during the growing season but dry out between watering.

Xeriscaping possibility: Echeverias are an excellent choice for xeriscaping.

Growing media required: Free-draining soil mix to prevent rotting.

Roots: Shallow 

7) Ferns

ferns with light green leaves

There are many different ferns, most of which do well in moist, shady areas.

How to grow: Ferns can be propagated by division, spores, or runners.

How to Maintain: 

Remove any dead leaves and flowers as they occur. 

Fertilize with a balanced fertilizer at the beginning of the growing season.

Ferns should be watered regularly but do not need to be soaked.

Xeriscaping possibility: Ferns are an excellent choice for xeriscaping but should be given some protection from direct sunlight.

Growing media required: Moist, well-drained soil with a neutral to acidic pH balance.

Roots: Shallow 

8) Gasteria 

Gasterias are slow-growing succulents that come in many different forms. They are often grown for their ornamental leaves, which can be smooth or rough, and wavy.

Gasteria liliputana

How to grow: Gasterias can be propagated by division or stem cuttings.

How to Maintain: 

Gasterias should be watered regularly during the growing season but allowed to dry out between watering. 

Fertilize with a balanced fertilizer at the beginning of the growing season.

Xeriscaping possibility: Gasterias are an excellent choice for xeriscaping.

Growing media required: Well-drained soil with a neutral to acidic pH balance.

Roots: Shallow 

9) Kalanchoe 

Kalanchoe

Kalanchoes are succulents that come in various colors, including red, pink, yellow, and orange. They are often grown as houseplants, and some varieties develop beautiful flowers.

How to grow: Kalanchoes can be propagated by division or stem cuttings.

How to Maintain: 

Kalanchoes should be watered regularly during the growing season but allowed to dry out between watering. 

Fertilize with a balanced fertilizer at the beginning of the growing season.

Xeriscaping possibility: Kalanchoes are an excellent choice for xeriscaping.

Growing media required: Well-drained soil with a neutral to acidic pH balance.

Roots: Shallow 

10) Sansevieria 

Also known as the snake plant, Sansevieria is a succulent that grows in thick, upright clumps.

Green Sansevieria leaves,Sansevieria trifasciata Prain

It’s often grown in green roofs, indoors in tabletop arrangements, or mounted on the wall. Snake plants are tolerant of drought, low light, and air pollution. 

How to grow: Sansevierias can be propagated by division or stem cuttings. Transplant young snake plants into well-draining potting soil, then water regularly.

How to maintain: 

Fertilize with a balanced fertilizer at the beginning of the growing season. 

Remove any dead leaves and flowers as they occur.

Fertilize monthly during the growing season with a balanced fertilizer.

Sansevierias should be watered regularly during the growing season but allowed to dry out between watering.

Xeriscaping possibility: Sansevierias are an excellent choice for xeriscaping.

Growing media required: Free-draining soil mix to prevent rotting

Roots: 2-3 inches deep

11) Lavender 

With their beautiful, fragrant blooms and attractive gray foliage, lavender plants are often grown in gardens or potted houseplants.

Touching the lavender

How to grow: Lavender can be propagated by division or cuttings. Transplant young lavenders into well-draining potting soil, then water regularly.

How to maintain: 

Lavenders should be watered regularly during the growing season but allowed to dry out between watering. 

Fertilize with a balanced fertilizer at the beginning of the growing season.

Xeriscaping possibility: Lavenders are an excellent choice for xeriscaping.

Growing media required: Free-draining soil mix to prevent rotting. Well-drained soil with a neutral to acidic pH balance.

Roots: 8-10 inches

12) Yucca

Yucca

Yucca is a succulent that grows in thick, upright clumps. It’s often grown in green roofs, indoors in tabletop arrangements, or mounted on the wall. Yucca is a reliable plant for green roofs since it is tolerant of drought, low light, and air pollution.

How to grow: Yuccas can be propagated by division or stem cuttings. Transplant young yuccas into well-draining potting soil, then water regularly.

How to maintain: 

Fertilize with a balanced fertilizer at the beginning of the growing season. 

Remove any dead leaves and flowers as they occur.

Yuccas should be watered regularly during the growing season but allowed to dry out between watering. Fertilize with a balanced fertilizer at the beginning of the growing season.

Growing media required: Free-draining soil mix to prevent rotting. Well-drained soil with a neutral to acidic pH balance.

Xeriscaping possibility: Yuccas are an excellent choice for xeriscaping.

Roots: Extensive

b) Best Grasses for Extensive Green Roofing

13) Buffalo Grass

Buffalo grass is a warm-season turfgrass that is drought tolerant and can handle high traffic. It is widely used in the southwestern United States.

Buffalo grass

How to grow: Plant buffalo grass plugs or seeds in well-drained soil. Water regularly and fertilize with a balanced fertilizer at the beginning of the growing season.

How to maintain:

Mow the buffalo grass lawn at the height of 2-3 inches.

Irrigate regularly, allowing the soil to dry out between watering.

Fertilize with a balanced fertilizer monthly during the growing season.

Xeriscaping possibility: Buffalo grass is an excellent choice for xeriscaping.

14) Bluegrass

Bluegrass is a cool-season grass that needs full sun and rich soil. It’s often used in the northeastern United States.

Bluegrass

How to grow: Plant bluegrass plugs or seeds in well-drained soil and keep the soil moist until germination occurs (usually 8 days). Water regularly and fertilize with a balanced fertilizer at the beginning of the growing season.

How to maintain: Mow the lawn when soil is moist during the growing season, taking care not to cut grass more than 3/4 inch above its base. Water regularly and fertilize with a balanced fertilizer monthly during the growing season.

Xeriscaping possibility: Bluegrass is an excellent choice for xeriscaping.

15) Fescue

Fescue is a cool-season grass that is drought tolerant and can handle moderate traffic. It is widely used in the western United States.

Uncut Fescue Grass Blades

How to grow: Plant fescue plugs or seeds in well-drained soil and keep the soil moist until germination occurs (usually ten days). Water regularly and fertilize with a balanced fertilizer at the beginning of the growing season.

How to maintain:

Mow fescue lawns when the soil is moist during the growing season, taking care not to cut grass more than 3/4 inch above its base.

Allow clippings to fall onto the lawn to decompose and provide nutrients.

Irrigate regularly, allowing the soil to dry out between watering.

Fertilize with a balanced fertilizer monthly during the growing season.

Xeriscaping possibility: Fescue is an excellent choice for xeriscaping.

16) Zoysia

Zoysia is a warm-season turfgrass that is well-adapted to humid climates, including the southeastern United States.

Zoysia Grass

How to grow: Plant zoysia plugs or seeds in well-drained soil and keep the soil moist until germination occurs (usually 8 days). Water regularly and fertilize with a balanced fertilizer at the beginning of the growing season.

How to maintain: Mow zoysia when the soil is moist during the growing season, taking care not to cut grass more than 3/4 inch above its base. Water regularly and fertilize with a balanced fertilizer monthly during the growing season.

Xeriscaping possibility: Zoysia is an excellent choice for xeriscaping.

17) Kentucky Bluegrass

Kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis) is a cool-season turfgrass that needs full sun and rich, moist soil. It’s often used in the northeastern United States.

Kentucky Bluegrass

How to grow: Plant Kentucky bluegrass plugs or seeds in well-drained soil and keep the soil moist until germination occurs (usually 5 days). Water regularly and fertilize with a balanced fertilizer at the beginning of the growing season.

How to maintain:

Mow Kentucky bluegrass lawns when the soil is moist during the growing season, taking care not to cut grass more than 3/4 inch above its base.

Allow clippings to fall onto the lawn to decompose and provide nutrients.

Irrigate regularly, allowing the soil to dry out between watering.

Fertilize with a balanced fertilizer monthly during the growing season.

Xeriscaping possibility: Kentucky bluegrass is an excellent choice for xeriscaping.

18) Perennial Rye Grass

A reliable option for extensive green roofs, perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne) is a cool-season turfgrass that can handle moderate foot traffic.

Rye Grass

How to grow: Plant perennial ryegrass plugs or seeds in well-drained soil and keep the soil moist until germination occurs (usually 5 days). Water regularly and fertilize with a balanced fertilizer at the beginning of the growing season.

How to maintain:

Mow perennial ryegrass lawns when the soil is moist during the growing season, taking care not to cut grass more than 3/4 inch above its base.

Allow clippings to fall onto the lawn to decompose and provide nutrients.

Irrigate regularly, allowing the soil to dry out between watering.

Fertilize with a balanced fertilizer monthly during the growing season.

Xeriscaping possibility: Perennial ryegrass is an excellent choice for xeriscaping.

19) Bahiagrass

Bahiagrass (Paspalum notatum var. difffusum) is a warm-season turfgrass that is often used in the southern United States, although it can be grown further north.

How to grow: Plant bahiagrass plugs or seeds in well-drained soil and keep the soil moist until germination occurs (usually 5 days). Water regularly and fertilize with a balanced fertilizer at the beginning of the growing season.

How to maintain:

Mow bahiagrass lawns when the soil is moist during the growing season, taking care not to cut grass more than 3/4 inch above its base.

Allow clippings to fall onto the lawn to decompose and provide nutrients.

Irrigate regularly, allowing the soil to dry out between watering.

Fertilize with a balanced fertilizer monthly during the growing season.

Xeriscaping possibility: Bahiagrass is an excellent choice for xeriscaping.

20) Centipedegrass

Centipedegrass (Eremochloa ophiuroids) is a warm-season turfgrass that is often used in the southern United States, although it can be grown further north.

How to grow: Plant centipedegrass plugs or seeds in well-drained soil and keep the soil moist until germination occurs (usually 7 days). Water regularly and fertilize with a balanced fertilizer at the beginning of the growing season.

How to maintain:

Mow centipedegrass lawns when the soil is moist during the growing season, taking care not to cut grass more than 3/4 inch above its base.

Allow clippings to fall onto the lawn to decompose and provide nutrients.

Irrigate regularly, allowing the soil to dry out between watering.

Fertilize with a balanced fertilizer monthly during the growing season.

Xeriscaping possibility: Centipedegrass is an excellent choice for xeriscaping.

21) Switchgrass

Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) is a warm-season turfgrass that can handle moderate foot traffic.

Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum)

How to grow: Plant switchgrass plugs or seeds in well-drained soil and keep the soil moist until germination occurs (usually 7 days). Water regularly and fertilize with a balanced fertilizer at the beginning of the growing season.

How to maintain:

Mow switchgrass lawns when the soil is moist during the growing season, taking care not to cut grass more than 3/4 inch above its base.

Allow clippings to fall onto the lawn to decompose and provide nutrients.

Irrigate regularly, allowing the soil to dry out between watering.

Fertilize with a balanced fertilizer monthly during the growing season.

Xeriscaping possibility: Switchgrass is an excellent choice for xeriscaping.

c) Best Shrubs for Extensive Green Roof 

22) Buddleias

Buddleias (butterfly bushes) are attractive shrubs that can be grown in a variety of climates. They have deep roots, so they are well-suited for green roof applications.

Buddleia

How to grow: Plant buddleias in well-drained soil and water regularly. Fertilize with a balanced fertilizer twice during the growing season.

How to maintain: Prune lightly after flowering. Irrigate regularly, allowing the soil to dry out between watering.

Xeriscaping possibility: Buddleias are an excellent choice for xeriscaping.

23) Holly

Hollies (Ilex spp.) are evergreen shrubs that can be grown in various climates. Roots go 17 – 25 inches deep, making the shrub a suitable option for green roof applications.

Holly Plant

How to grow: Plant hollies in well-drained soil and water regularly. Fertilize with a balanced fertilizer twice during the growing season. A fertilizer with 8% of nitrogen is a good choice.

How to maintain: Prune lightly after flowering. Irrigate regularly, allowing the soil to dry out between watering.

Xeriscaping possibility: Hollies are an excellent choice for xeriscaping.

24) Clematis

Clematis are flowering vines that can be grown in a variety of climates. They are often used on extensive green roofs for their attractive flowers and quickly cover a large area. 

Clematis

How to grow: Clematis can be planted directly into the growing medium without containment of the roots.

How to maintain: Prune and/or remove the flowers as they die back in the fall, to prevent the plant from becoming top-heavy and driving itself into the substrate. Irrigate regularly, allowing the soil to dry out between watering.

Xeriscaping possibility: Clematis is an excellent choice for xeriscaping.

25) Penstemon

Penstemons (beardtongues) are perennial flowers that can be grown in various climates. They are known for their sturdy nature and vibrant blooms.

Shrubby penstemon (Penstemon fruticosus)

How to grow: Penstemons do best in well-drained, sandy soil and can be planted directly into the growing medium without containment of roots. They can be transplanted relatively easily but should be watered regularly until they become established.

How to maintain: Once established, penstemons generally do not require a great deal of maintenance. Deadheading spent blooms will help to ensure continued flowering.

Xeriscaping possibility: Xeriscaping possibility: Penstemon is an excellent choice for xeriscaping.

26) Cotoneasters and Potentillas 

Potentilla

Cotoneasters and Potentillas (Cotoneasters and potentillas) are shrubs that can be grown in various climates. They take well to pruning and can fill an area quickly, making them suitable for green roof applications.

How to grow: Regularly plant cotoneasters and Poteniltas in well-drained soil and water. Fertilize with a balanced fertilizer once during the growing season.

How to maintain: Prune in early spring, before new growth begins. Irrigate regularly, allowing the soil to dry out between watering.

Xeriscaping possibility: Cotoneasters and Poteniltas are excellent choices for xeriscaping.

27) Roses

Roses (roses) are flowering shrubs that can be grown in a variety of climates. They are often used on extensive green roofs for their attractive flowers and ability to cover a large area quickly.

How to grow: Plant roses in well-drained soil and water regularly. Fertilize with a balanced fertilizer once during the growing season.

How to maintain:

Prune in early spring, before new growth begins.

Remove dead or diseased branches when you prune your roses.

Irrigate regularly, allowing the soil to dry out between watering.

Xeriscaping possibility: Roses are an excellent choice for xeriscaping.

28) Oleanders

Oleanders (Nerium oleander) are shrubs that can be grown in a variety of climates. They have a long blooming season and come in a wide range of colors.

How to grow: Plant oleanders in well-drained soil and water regularly. Fertilize with a balanced fertilizer once during the growing season.

How to maintain:

Prune in early spring, before new growth begins.

Remove dead or diseased branches when you prune your oleanders.

Irrigate regularly, allowing the soil to dry out between watering.

Xeriscaping possibility: Oleanders are an excellent choice for xeriscaping.

d) Best Herbs for Extensive Green Roofs

29) Coleus

Coleus (Solenostemon scutellarioides) is a flowering plant that can be grown in a variety of climates. It often flowers all season and comes in many different varieties.

How to grow: Plant coleus in well-drained soil and water regularly. Fertilize with a balanced fertilizer once during the growing season.

How to maintain:

Prune in early spring, before new growth begins.

Remove dead or diseased branches when you prune your coleus.

Irrigate regularly, allowing the soil to dry out between watering.

Xeriscaping possibility: Coleus is an excellent choice for xeriscaping.

30) Thyme

Thyme (Thymus Vulgaris) is a perennial herb that can be grown in various climates. It has a long blooming season and comes in many different varieties.

How to grow: Plant thyme in well-drained soil and water regularly. Fertilize with a balanced fertilizer once during the growing season.

How to maintain:

Prune in early spring, before new growth begins.

Remove dead or diseased branches when you prune your thyme.

Irrigate regularly, allowing the soil to dry out between watering.

Xeriscaping possibility: Thyme is an excellent choice for xeriscaping.

31) Basil

Basil (Ocimum basilicum) is a herb that can be grown in various climates. It often flowers all season and comes in many different varieties.

How to grow: Plant basil in well-drained soil and water regularly. Fertilize with a balanced fertilizer once during the growing season.

How to maintain:

Prune in early spring, before new growth begins.

Remove dead or diseased branches when you prune your basil.

Irrigate regularly, allowing the soil to dry out between watering.

Xeriscaping possibility: Basil is an excellent choice for xeriscaping.

32) Dwarf Marigold

Dwarf marigold (tagetes patula) is an annual flower that can be grown in various climates. They often flower all season and come in many different varieties.

How to grow: Plant dwarf marigolds in well-drained soil and water regularly. Fertilize with a balanced fertilizer once during the growing season.

How to maintain:

Prune in early spring, before new growth begins.

Remove dead or diseased branches when you prune your dwarf marigolds.

Irrigate regularly, allowing the soil to dry out between watering.

Xeriscaping possibility: Dwarf marigolds are an excellent choice for xeriscaping.

33) Lantana

Lantana Camara is a flowering shrub that is native to the Americas. It has a deep root system and can grow in a wide range of soil conditions, making it an ideal candidate for green roofs.

Lantana blooms all year long and produces brightly-colored flowers that are pollinated by bees.

How to grow: 

Lantana is a sun-loving plant and thrives in well-draining soils. To maintain blooming plants, plants should be fertilized every 2 weeks during the spring and summer growing seasons.

Lantana can tolerate drought conditions but should be watered regularly during dry periods. Pruning encourages a bushy habit and better blooms.

How to maintain: Lantana is a hardy plant and does not require regular pruning. Deadheading spent blooms will keep the plants looking tidy. Weeds should be removed regularly from around the base of the plants.

Xeriscaping possibility: Lantana is an excellent choice for xeriscaping.

34) Verbena

This hardy annual is ideal for planting on green roofs, and it tolerates poor soil quality and full sun. Verbena thrives in hot conditions and will reseed itself. Plant in full sun to partial shade.

How to grow: Sow seeds in late spring or early summer.

How to Maintain: Consistent watering and occasional fertilization during the growing season. These plants will reseed themselves, so deadheading (removing spent flowers) is not required.

Xeriscaping possibility: Verbena is an excellent choice for xeriscaping.

Best Plants for Intensive Green Roof 

If you are looking for plants for an intensive green roof, these plants are drought tolerant and can thrive in nutrient-rich soil.

Best Succulents for Intensive Green Roof

35) Sedum

Sedum (sedum spp.) couples as an extensive green roof and an intensive green roof plant. Although sedums are perennials, their low growing profile makes them ideal for planting on green roofs. They come in many different varieties and can tolerate sun or shade.

How to grow: Sedum can be planted by seed or by transplant. If planting by seed, it is best to do so in the late summer or early fall. Sedums should be transplanted in the spring when the weather has warmed up.

How to maintain: Sedums do not require much maintenance and can tolerate drought conditions. Weeds should be removed regularly from around the base of the plants.

Xeriscaping possibility: Sedum is an excellent choice for both extensive and intensive green roofs.

36) Hens and Chicks (Sempervivum)

Hens and chicks (sempervivum spp.) thrive in cold climates, rocky soil conditions, and drought conditions. They come in an array of colors, shapes, and textures.

How to grow: Plant by seed or transplant. Seeds should be planted in the late summer or early fall. Transplant in the spring when the weather has warmed up.

How to maintain: Hens and chicks do not require much maintenance and can tolerate drought conditions. Weeds should be removed regularly from around the base of the plants.

Xeriscaping possibility: Hens and chicks is an excellent choice for both extensive and intensive green roofs.

37) Sea Thrift

Sea thrift (meria Maritima) is a hardy perennial that forms dense clumps. It thrives in sun and partial shade and tolerates dry conditions.

How to grow: Sow seeds in the spring or fall.

How to maintain: Tolerates drought conditions and poor soil. Weeds should be removed regularly from around the base of the plants.

Xeriscaping possibility: Sea thrift is an excellent choice for xeriscaping.

38) White Strawberry Begonia (Saxifraga stolonifera)

White strawberry begonia is a creeping plant that thrives in shady areas and tolerates dry conditions. It comes in a variegated leaf variety as well.

How to grow: Sow seeds in the spring or summer for blooms during the fall and winter months.

How to maintain: These plants do not require much maintenance and can tolerate drought conditions, although they will flower more readily with regular watering. Weeds should be removed regularly from around the base of the plants.

Xeriscaping possibility: White strawberry begonia is an excellent choice for xeriscaping.

39) Baby’s Breath (Gypsophila paniculata)

Baby’s breath is a hardy annual that thrives in full sun and poor soil conditions. It comes in white and pink and tolerates dry conditions.

How to grow: Sow seeds in the spring for blooms during the summer months.

How to maintain: These plants do not require much maintenance and can tolerate drought conditions, although they will flower more readily with regular watering. Weeds should be removed regularly from around the base of the plants.

Xeriscaping possibility: Baby’s breath is an excellent choice for both extensive and intensive green roofs.

40) Hemlock (Tsuga)

Hemlocks are hardy conifer that thrives in sun or shade and moist conditions. The hemlock tree blooms small, red flowers during the spring months. The branches and needles of the hemlock are popular for wreaths and other Christmas decorations.

How to grow: Plant by seed or transplant. If planting by seed, it is best to do so in the late fall or early winter. Transplant in the spring when the weather has warmed up.

How to maintain: Hemlocks require regular watering and do not tolerate drought conditions. Weeds should be removed regularly from around the base of the plants.

Xeriscaping possibility: Hemlocks are popular for xeriscapes as they generally require minimal maintenance and can handle both shade and full sun.

41) Dwarf Alberta Spruce (Picea glauca ‘Conica’)

Dwarf Alberta spruce is a hardy conifer that thrives in full sun and moist conditions. It comes in various colors, including blue, green, and silver.

How to grow: Plant by seed or transplant. If planting by seed, it is best to do so in the late fall or early winter. Transplant in the spring when the weather has warmed up.

How to maintain: Dwarf Alberta spruce require regular watering and do not tolerate drought conditions. Weeds should be removed regularly from around the base of the plants.

Xeriscaping possibility: Dwarf Alberta spruce is an excellent choice for both extensive and intensive green roofs. It can handle various growing conditions, and its color variation makes it a popular choice for xeriscaping.

42) Lamb’s Ear (Stachys byzantine)

Lamb’s ear is a hardy perennial that thrives in full sun and moist conditions. The leaves are covered with soft, furry hairs, which give the plant its name. Lamb’s ear blooms small, pink flowers during the summer months.

How to grow: Plant by seed or transplant. If planting by seed, it is best to do so in the late fall or early winter. Transplant in the spring when the weather has warmed up.

How to maintain: Lamb’s ear requires regular watering and does not tolerate drought conditions. Weeds should be removed regularly from around the base of the plants.

Xeriscaping possibility: Lamb’s ear is an excellent choice for both extensive and intensive green roofs. It prefers moist soil conditions, which make it a good candidate for rooftop gardens, green roofs, and low-maintenance trails/paths in a xeriscape.

Best Shrubs and Herbs for Intensive Green Roof (Herbaceous Perennials)

43) Green Alder

Green alder (Alnus Viridis ‘compacta’) is an evergreen shrub native to Europe and Asia Minor. It has small, dark-green leaves and golden yellow fall color. This plant should be planted in moist but well-drained soil.

How to grow: Green alder can be planted by seed or transplant. It is best to do so in the fall or early spring if planting by seed. Green alders should be transplanted in the spring when the weather has warmed up.

How to maintain: Water regularly during dry periods and prune infrequently.

Xeriscaping possibility: This plant is an excellent choice for xeriscaping.

44) Artichoke

Artichoke (Cynara Scolymus) is a perennial herb planted in well-drained, rich soils. It can tolerate shade and drought conditions once established. It has large, grayish-green leaves and purple flowers. Artichoke blooms in late spring and early summer.

How to grow: Artichoke needs consistently moist soil; water regularly during dry periods. It can be started from transplants or seeds and should be planted in the spring when the weather has warmed up.

How to maintain: Prune infrequently and remove weeds regularly from around the base of the plant.

Xeriscaping possibility: This plant is an excellent choice for xeriscaping.

45) Milk Thistle 

Milk thistle (Silybum marianum), also commonly known as St. Mary’s thistle, blooms in late spring and early summer. It is a perennial herb that should be planted in well-drained, rich soils. Milk thistle can tolerate sun or shade.

How to grow: Milk thistle can be started from transplants or by seed and should be planted in the fall when the weather has cooled down.

How to maintain: Fertilize once a year and remove weeds regularly from around the base of the plant.

Xeriscaping possibility: This plant is an excellent choice for xeriscaping.

46) Russian Sage

Russian sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia), also commonly known as silver sage, blooms mid-summer and is composed of many small blue flowers. It can grow three to five feet tall and should be planted in moist but well-drained soils.

How to grow: Russian sage can be started from transplants or by seed and should be planted in the spring when the weather has warmed up.

How to maintain: Prune back in the spring to shape and fertilize once a year. Remove weeds regularly from around the base of the plant.

Xeriscaping possibility: This plant is an excellent choice for xeriscaping.

47) Daylily 

Daylily (Hemerocallis) is a perennial herb that can tolerate shade and dry conditions. It blooms late spring to early summer, and the tall stems are covered with many small flowers. Daylily should be planted in moist but well-drained soils.

How to grow: Daylily needs consistently moist soil; water regularly during dry periods. It can be started from transplants or by seed and should be planted in the spring when the weather has warmed up.

How to maintain: Daylily normally only needs pruning after flowering is finished. Fertilize once a year and remove weeds regularly from around the base of the plant.

Xeriscaping possibility: This plant is an excellent choice for xeriscaping.

48) Blanket Flower

Blanket flower (Gaillardia aristata), also commonly known as Indian blanket, is a perennial herb that should be planted in well-drained soils. It can tolerate sun or shade and blooms from mid-summer to early fall.

How to grow: Blanket flowers can be started from transplants or by seed and should be planted in the spring when the weather has warmed up.

How to maintain: Remove spent flowers regularly to encourage new blooms. Fertilize once a year and remove weeds regularly from around the base of the plant.

Xeriscaping possibility: This plant is an excellent choice for xeriscaping.

49) Rose of Sharon

Rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus) is a perennial herb that should be planted in well-drained soils with full sun exposure. It can grow up to twelve feet tall and blooms from late summer to early fall.

How to grow: Rose of Sharon can be started from transplants or by seed and should be planted in the spring when the weather has warmed up.

How to maintain: Remove spent flowers regularly to encourage new blooms. Fertilize once a year and remove weeds regularly from around the base of the plant.

Xeriscaping possibility: This plant is an excellent choice for xeriscaping.

50) Black-Eyed Susan

Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta) is a perennial herb that can tolerate sun or shade and blooms mid-summer through fall.

The tall flower stems are covered with yellow flowers that resemble daisies. Black-eyed Susan should be planted in moist but well-drained soils.

How to grow: Black-eyed Susan can be started from transplants or by seed and should be planted in the spring when the weather has warmed up.

How to maintain:

Prune back in the spring to shape.

Remove spent flowers regularly to encourage new blooms.

Fertilize once a year and remove weeds regularly from around the base of the plant.

Xeriscaping possibility: This plant is an excellent choice for xeriscaping.

Best Grasses for Intensive Green Roof

Grasses are a great option for intensive green roofs because they are tough and can handle many foot traffic. In addition, they help to filter rainwater and reduce stormwater runoff. Here are a few of the best grasses for intensive green roofs:

51) Blue Fescue

Blue fescue (Festuca ovina), also commonly known as sheep’s fescue, is a cool-season grass that can tolerate sun or shade. It forms a dense mat of grass and does well in drought conditions.

How to grow: Blue Fescue can be started from transplants or by seed and should be planted in the spring when the weather has warmed up.

How to maintain: Blue fescue normally only needs mowing after it finishes blooming in the fall. Fertilize once a year and remove weeds regularly from around the base of the plant.

52) Hard Fescue

Hard fescue (Festuca longifolia), also commonly known as turfgrass, is a cool-season grass that can tolerate sun or shade. It forms a dense mat of grass and does well in drought conditions.

How to grow: Hard fescue can be started from transplants or by seed and should be planted in the spring when the weather has warmed up.

How to maintain: Hard fescue normally only needs mowing after it finishes blooming in the fall. Fertilize once a year and remove weeds regularly from around the base of the plant.

Xeriscaping possibility: This plant is an excellent choice for xeriscaping.

53) Buffalo Grass

Also suitable for Extensive green roofs, Buffalo grass (Buchloe dactyloides) is a warm-season grass that can handle heavy foot traffic and is drought resistant.

How to grow: Buffalo Grass can be started from transplants or by seed and should be planted in the spring when the weather has warmed up.

How to maintain: Mow buffalo grass once a month during the growing season. Fertilize once a year and remove weeds regularly from around the base of the plant.

Xeriscaping possibility: This is not an ideal choice because it requires high amounts of water.

54) Blue Grama

Blue grama (Bouteloua gracilis) is a cool-season grass that can tolerate sun or shade. It forms a dense mat of grass and does well in drought conditions.

How to grow: Blue Grama can be started from transplants or by seed and should be planted in the spring when the weather has warmed up.

How to maintain: Blue Grama only needs mowing once a month and should be fertilized yearly. Fertilize before growth starts in the spring.

Xeriscaping possibility: This plant is an excellent choice for xeriscaping because it requires no supplemental irrigation and can handle high foot traffic.

55) Indian Grass

Indian grass (Sorghastrum nutans) is a warm-season grass that can tolerate sun or shade. It forms a dense mat of grass and does well in drought conditions.

How to grow: Indian Grass can be started from transplants or by seed and should be planted in the spring when the weather has warmed up.

How to maintain: Indian grass should be fertilized once a year, and weeds regularly removed from around the base of the plant.

Xeriscaping possibility: This plant is an excellent choice for xeriscaping because it requires no supplemental irrigation and can handle high foot traffic.

56) Prairie Dropseed

Prairie dropseed (Sporobolus heterolepis) is a warm-season grass that can tolerate sun or shade. It forms a dense mat of grass and does well in drought conditions.

How to grow: Prairie dropseed can be started from transplants or by seed and should be planted in the spring when the weather has warmed up.

How to maintain: Prairie dropseed should be fertilized once a year, and weeds regularly removed from around the base of the plant.

Xeriscaping possibility: This plant is an excellent choice for xeriscaping because it requires no supplemental irrigation and can handle high foot traffic.

57) Curly Mesquite 

Curly mesquite (Prosopis pubescens) is a drought-tolerant shrub that grows 20 feet tall. It provides food and shelter for wildlife, and its wood can be used for firewood.

How to grow: Curly mesquite can be started from transplants or by seed and should be planted in the spring when the weather has warmed up.

How to maintain: Curly mesquite needs little maintenance; prune back after blooming and fertilize once a year.

Xeriscaping possibility: This plant is an excellent choice for xeriscaping.