Designing and Planting Climate Resilient Green Roofs Webpage uri icon


  • In this issue, I will discuss ecosystem-inspired concepts that can be considered when selecting vegetation for resilient green roofs. In 2009, I first ventured into green roof plant research at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas, where we (myself, Dr. Astrid Volder & students) planted 12 green roof moduleswithout irrigation. There was no water available on that roof and it was our only option on campus. People said, good luck with that, it will never work! Well, after several years of trialing a few dozen species without irrigation (once established), we found more than a few plants that survived on extensive green roofs growing in the Texas sun, heat, and drought: Opuntia cacanapa Ellisiana, Hesperaloe parvipolia, Phemeranthus calycinus, Agave parryi, Agave colorata, Hesperaloe parviflora, Manfreda maculosa, and others (Dvorak 2021). Some of these plants are not native to central Texas ecoregions, but are native to drier and warmer semi-arid ecoregions of west Texas and beyond. Shallow green roof substrates can dry out quickly and become warmer and drier than soils on the ground. So, one strategy for planting shallow green roofs might be to use plants that are native to an adjacent ecoregion where warmer and drier conditions prevail, especially, if the green roof is to receive infrequent irrigation or is designed to recover from drought.

author list (cited authors)

  • Dvorak, B.

complete list of authors

  • Dvorak, Bruce

publication date

  • June 2021