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Green Roof Plant Blog

Opuntia aureispina

Green Team at Green Roof Technology, - Thursday, April 25, 2013

Photo Credit: John Kameras

A part of the cacti family, the Opuntia aureispina is an endangered perennial endemic to Texas and parts of Mexico. This succulent enjoys full sun and tolerates drought well, flourishing best in hardiness zones 9 through 11. Also known as the Rio Grande Prickly Pear, this shrub has a light bluish-green tint to its flattened oval stems. These waxy stems are protected by bright orange, sharp spines ranging from 2-6 inches long. Come late spring to early summer, yellow flowers appear flaring an orangey-red color at the base. Growing anywhere from 2-4 feet tall, like most prickly pears, they form a dense cluster of plants. 

Early flower on Green Roofs

Green Team at Green Roof Technology, - Thursday, April 11, 2013

Photo Credit: Sempergreen

To spot a crocus popping up from the ground is a sure sign spring is right around the corner. Many varieties of Crocus are the very first to bloom in the season, although there are a handful of varieties that are autumn blooming plants. A part of the Iris family, these perennials have over 80 different species. They enjoy partial to full sun and well drained soils and flourish in hardiness zones 3 through 9. Growing only 3-6" tall, the cup-like flower comes in a variety of colors such as pink, orange, yellow, blue, white or purple. They require little to no maintenance and can be popular with bees at a season where other plants are not flowering yet. In the language of flowers, the crocus means cheerfulness.

Many are cultivated for their flowers appearing in autumn, winter, or spring.

The spice saffron is obtained from the stigmas of Crocus sativus, an autumn/fall-blooming species and could be an interesting crop for semi intensive green roofs or educational urban farms.

Some Crocuses or Croci especially C. tommasinianus and its selected forms and hybrids (such as 'Whitewell Purple' and 'Ruby Giant'), seed prolifically and are ideal for naturalizing on green roofs.

Photo Credit: Sempergreen

The picture above shows Crocuses planted under a pre-vegetated Sedum mat at the Sempergreen facility and below shows them planted in between plants of the Convention Center Parking Garage in Philadelphia among other bulbs.

Photo Credit: Green Roof Technology

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