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Australian Grasses for Green Roof Applications

I was speaking with an architect this past week about our Celebrated Plants collection of drought-tolerant Australian grasses and the subject of Green Roofs came up (as it often does these days).

For years, this was a common occurrence and, until recently, I really didn’t have much of an answer for those folks who wanted to know “will Lomandra and Dianella work for green roofs?”

So with that question in mind, we set out to find the answer.  Coincidentally, a friend at Texas A & M (Dr. Anthony Camerino) was in the early phases of designing a trial to determine if Texas native grasses and seeded wildflowers would work for green roofs.  He was looking for a comparator group and I came along at the right time with our Lomandra and Dianella.

So in early 2009, a season-long trial was began near Houston, led by Texas A&M with the cooperation of JacobWhite Construction, to evaluate the potential of several plant “mixes” for green roof applications: native wildflowers (from seed), butterfly Iris (from one gallons), native grasses (from seed) and the Celebrated Plants (from 2.5-in plugs).  There were both irrigated and non-irrigated plots. 

Two of the Celebrated Plants plots, one month after planting.   

The full research is available, but long story short, the Celebrated Plants fared much better without supplemental water which earned them the highest quality ratings in the study, roughly a 7 out of 10. 

The trial plots at the end of summer.  Celebrated Plants in back and center, left; also in front right.  You can see the drip irrigation on the front section and none in the rear.  Celebrated Plants in both seem to be quite happy! 

OK, I know this is just one site but I still think it’s a great indication that Lomandra and Dianella will, in fact, survive and thrive in some green roof applications.  A couple of months after this study was published, I received these pictures below from one of our partner growers in Santa Barbara CA (San Marcos Growers…thanks Randy!).  This is a residential green roof using two Lomandra varieties, one of which is our Lomandra Breeze. 

Thanks to both Anthony and Randy for passing these pics along –

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