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Plant for roof terrace

I'v bought containers for our roof terrace, which is S-E facing, getting really hot in summer with the sun scorching the place until the afternoon. In winter we can be looking at -10 degrees Celcius if we're unlucky.
Therefore, I'm struggling with the choice of plants for the containers, especially as we're looking out onto the roof terrace all year, so winter interest is important.

On the South side there's a wall, which we are considering to turn into a green wall. Same question here: what plants would work? Clearly not the ferns you typically use in green walls.

Any ideas or places where I could get advice are appreciated. So far my internet research has not been particularly successful...



  • LoxleyLoxley Posts: 5,038
    What size/type of containers?

    For the 'green wall' you could look at sedums, houesleeks etc:

    Image result for green wall with sedums and sempervivums
  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 28,804
    For the containers, I would try some rosemary and thymes for the kitchen and a bay but maybe bring that in for very cold spells in winter.

    For colour and pollinators, have a look at perennials like alstroemerias, coreopsis, penstemons, verbena bonariensis, salvias, night scented stock

    For more shrubby plants, have a look at gauras, ceratostigma, viburnum tinus, hydrangea serrata.

    If you like ornamental grasses stipa gigantea and stipa calamagrostis which will wave around beautifully.

    For early colour, try the lower forms of narcissus such as bulbicodium, Minnow, Tête à Tête, Avalanche (perfumed).

    How well they all do will depend on the quality of the planting medium you give them and how rgeularly you feed and water them as they will be totally dependant on you for those.  Rain will not be enough and planting composts usually have enough fertiliser for just 90 days. 
    Vendée - 20kms from Atlantic coast.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • Thanks for your suggestions, that's very helpful! Here's a picture of the containers and the wall we want to cover. I was thinking of putting 2 trees in the 2 square containers on the right hand side, but am still lost about the rest...

  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 28,804
    Have to say I think the low ones are too shallow for good root runs for shrubs and the tall ones too narrow.    You could try the perennials in those longer troughs and maybe stick with something formal like phormium in the taller pots.

    The RHS has this advice on trees in containers - but don't try Japanese maples in that site, they'll hate the sun and wind.   If you go for anything hat spreads, rather than grows vertically, you'll need to move those two containers away from teh wall so the tops aren't squished against the wall.
    Vendée - 20kms from Atlantic coast.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • LoxleyLoxley Posts: 5,038
    Yep for the low containers the upright type rosemaries would be good (Sissinghurst Blue/Tuscan Pink) with some small grasses (Festuca glauca) and herbaceous sedums (Sedum 'Matrona'). It will look better if you are restrictive and don't plant a bit of this and a bit of that. Someone planted Calamagrostis 'Karl Foerster' in similar upright pots on another thread and it looked terrific. Would look great in a group of three. Make sure there's excellent drainage in the bottom of the containers - a good layer of gravel with a permeable membrane over the top to stop the soil mixing with it works well.
  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 28,804
    Yes, keep the plant range resritced for a cohesive, minimalist look.  I don't think blousey will look right there.
    Vendée - 20kms from Atlantic coast.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • Thank you so much for your advice! I'll check out all the plants you've suggested and take it from there. I'm glad I asked as my plan had indeed been 'a bit of this and a bit of that'...
  • Come back and show us whatever you decide to plant. Nice to see a good result 😉
    To Plant a Garden is to Believe in Tomorrow
  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 33,688
    Before considering planting, I'd make sure a structural survey has been conducted to assess the impact of weight on the terrace. 
    You don't say if the terrace is on top of your house, or next to your apartment, ie who owns the property underneath?
    If you don't own the property underneath, do you have permission to add weight on top of it?
  • We've considered the statics, but thanks for the thought, it's a valid one. The empty containers alone are 200 kg! It's our house and below is the living room, so it's all our responsibility.
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