What Are The Best Plants To Grow In A Rooftop Garden

What are the Best Plants to Grow in a Rooftop Garden?

Plants are exposed to more sun and wind in a rooftop garden, as compared to a garden on the ground. Mostly, you do not want to water your plants daily. Similarly, you don’t want to experience breakage from strong winds. For this reason, it is wise to select appropriate kind of plants for your rooftop garden. Sometimes, the process of choosing the right plants for your garden is often trial and error. If you are not sure of what to put in your rooftop garden, here are helpful tips that will enable you to select the best plant varieties. 

What are the Best Plants to Grow in a Rooftop Garden?

What are some of the factors to consider when selecting the type of plants to grow?

 1. Regulations from the authorities

Most urban dwellers have rented houses. Consult your landlord before making your garden. Still, get permission from the relevant authorities to avoid getting yourself in trouble.

2. Type of planting medium

Use lightweight soil. It will lower the load on your roof. The medium should also allow aeration and retain moisture.  Poor quality soil will get waterlogged and prevent proper aeration for the plant roots.  Avoid heavy containers, to reduce the total overload.  It will be difficult to carry heavy containers  if you want to change their position.  Make holes on them so that they do not store excess moisture.

3. Stability of your roof

Not all rooftops can accommodate a rooftop garden. This is where a building inspector will come in. They will evaluate the strength of the building and its ability to hold the extra weight.

4. Your budget

Some plants require more maintenance than others. If you are on a stretched budget, a low maintenance garden is for you. Your budget will also dictate the type of equipment to use in your garden, such as irrigation systems, windbreakers, and shades for your plants.

5. Weather patterns in your area

Weather patterns will tremendously dictate the type of plants you can get. If you are new to your locality, weather pattern research will be crucial.

6. How do strong winds affect the normal growth of plants?

Strong winds make the plants lose more water through evaporation. Thus, you will need to water your plants more often. If the plants don’t get enough water, they will have abnormal development and become shorter than usual. Stronger winds may also lead to the breakage of plants. Winds can also introduce pathogens from other areas to your garden, especially during the rainy season. If your area usually experiences strong winds, avoid plants that produce fragile flowers. Herbaceous plants are not the right choice in such areas too. The plants should have narrow leaves and flexible stems and twigs to allow flexibility.

7. How does drought affect plant growth?

Although the sun is essential for plant growth, too much of it will be harmful to your plants. Too much sun means frequent watering. Otherwise, the plants will die.

What are some of the plants that adapt well to rooftop gardens?

Dwarf trees and shrubs

If your garden is large enough, dwarf trees and shrubs are a great option to get. Some of the dwarf trees that can withstand hot temperatures include pomegranates, apple, figs, Oregon grapes, and guava trees.

Low maintenance succulents will also do well in sunny areas. These include cacti and aloe. The trees and shrubs will do well when protected from strong winds and planted in huge containers.

 It is important to note that you will require to trim their roots after some time so that they do not grow to unmanageable sizes.

Herbs and vegetables

There are a variety of herbs you can grow, which do well in places exposed to the sun. Basil requires watering, but not frequently.  It also covers the ground, too, maintaining moisture on the planting medium. Basil also does well on either garden containers or raised garden beds.  Peppers and chilies can withstand sunny conditions too.

Always ensure to apply pesticides from time to time since they are susceptible to aphids attack. For the vegetables, it is essential to note that they require regular maintenance.

Salads are a great choice, especially for first-time gardeners. Good examples are tomatoes and cucumbers. During winter, lettuces are a great option. You can quickly grow them in pots and harvest them repeatedly. For cucumbers, choose the climbing type for maximum yields. For container gardening, plant climbers such as beans and make use of trellises. Within a short period, you will have a beautiful green climbing wall and a source of food.


For rooftop flowers, annuals will thrive well. Some of these include primrose and tulips. Lavender and sage also do well since they have silver foliage. These adaptations reduce water to lose water through evaporation. False indigo and cornflower have taproots. These types of roots store water in specialized tissues; hence they are the right choice. Perennials are also the right choice. They include jasmine, hibiscus, and flowers like lilies.

How to water your garden

Drip irrigation is a good option. It will save you time.  Also, it is efficient. Other watering methods are sprinklers and watering containers.  Ensure that your water does not contain chemicals since it will affect the plants negatively.

To make your work easier, have storage tanks on your garden.  The tanks should be able to withstand variable climatic conditions like sun and frost. It would be so tiresome to carry water from your house to your garden now and then. Also, erect gutters to collect rainwater to the storage tanks. When setting up a rooftop garden, Keep in mind that the climatic conditions will always change.

For maximum yields, you will need to:

  • Get plants that are native to your area. Plants that are native to your area will attract birds and other insects, which act as pollinators. Still, native plants tolerate drought and winter frost well compared to exotic ones. They also require fewer chemicals and fertilizers.
  •  Add compost and manure ever now and then to enhance the fertility of your soil.
  • Always be on the lookout for pests in your plants. Use approved pesticides for your garden to get rid of harmful pathogens.
  • Always wash the edibles from your rooftop. They are susceptible to pollution, too hence the need for cleaning them to prevent contamination.
  • Remove unwanted weeds that act as hiding areas for pests and compete with your plants for water and nutrients. A rooftop garden with weeds is not appealing to the eye too.
  • Apply mulch on the surface of your planting medium. The mulch helps to retain moisture and prevent the growth of weeds.  After decomposing, the mulch is a good source of organic matter to the plants.
  • Prune your tree so that they do not overgrow beyond the recommended size. Overgrown trees may be harmful since they can fall off or break due to strong winds.
  • Change the planting medium often. The medium will get depleted of essential nutrients after some time, hence the need to change it.

Rooftop gardens act as sources of nutritious vegetables and herbs.  Flowers on the gardens make the garden look beautiful too. When you make one, you will set an example to your neighbors who might also consider designing a garden on their rooftops too. Rooftop gardens will lead to a beautiful neighborhood. If you have plans to rent out or sell your building, a rooftop garden will add value to the property.

Urban Rooftop Garden Update!!