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Green Roof Plant Blog

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

Bleeding Hearts for Green Roofs on Valentine‘s Day?

Green Team at Green Roof Technology, - Monday, February 11, 2013

by Jorg Breuning

As beautiful as the Greek name sounds, Dicentra eximia is relatively undiscovered by the Sedum-blinded Green Roof plants experts and by the yearning LEED point collectors. The beautiful flower is native Genus to Northeast United States and Asia that comes in many “faces” (Species and several cultivars).

Dicentra eximaThis plant won’t survive in full sun but will thrive on moisture retaining partially or fully shaded roofs with in a FLL-certified green roof growing media with depths around 3-5 inches.

Leaves are finely divided and gray-green, growing from the base of the plant.

Flowers are pink and bloom in tight clusters at the top of leafless, fleshy stems above the leaves from mid-spring to autumn. The four petals are connected at the base. The two outer petals are pouched at the base and bent back at the tips. The inner petals are perpendicular to the outer petals and connected at the tip. The pistil is enclosed within the inner petals, and the two stamens are on either side. There are two tiny, triangular, pink sepals above the petals.

Seeds are borne in a plump, pointed pod. They ripen to black while the pod is still green. Each has a white elaiosome (Greek élaion "oil" and sóma "body") that is prized by ants.


If the ants would have been a litter quicker in the last 150,000 years these plants would have spread over the entire North America already.  However, with green roofs there is a chance to help nature along in this process.


USDA Dicentra Eximia

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