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Green Roof Plants: A Resource and Planting Guide

By Edmund C. Snodgrass and Lucie L. Snodgrass

An essential resource for home gardeners, landscape architects, and designers looking for environmentally friendly choices.


In just a few years, green roofs have gone from a horticultural curiosity to a booming growth industry — primarily because the environmental benefits of extensively planted roofs are now beyond dispute, whether for industrial or governmental complexes or for private homes in urban or suburban settings. Despite the high level of interest in green roofs, until now there has been no reliable reference devoted exclusively to the various species of drought-tolerant plants that are suitable for use on extensive green roofs. Green Roof Plants fills that void. The book contains photographs and cultural information for more than 200 species and cultivars of plants, including valuable data on moisture needs, heat tolerance, hardiness, bloom color, foliage characteristics, and height. Concise, accurate, and easy to use, this book is destined to become an indispensable practical reference guide, not just for architects, landscape designers, engineers, and environmentalists, but also for environmentally conscious home gardeners.

Media reviews

"A desirable companion book for anyone who owns a rooftop garden or is interested in designing or installing one."

—Joel M. Lerner, Washington Post

"The beauty of Green Roof Plants lies in its concise, clear, and extensive ... coverage of the authors' years of knowledge. ... An easy, reliable reference and a practical must-have handbook for all of us in the green roof industry, weathered professionals or novice do-it-your-selfers."

—Linda S. Velazquez, GreenRoofs.com

"Offers a thorough explanation of plants that have performed well on roofs."

—Joel M. Lerner, Washington Post

"A practical reference guide not just for architects and landscape designers, but for environmentally-conscious home gardeners."

—Eric Hofley, Michigan Gardener

"Represents the best overview of green roofs and green roof plantings that I have seen in one volume."

—Richard Sutton, Landscape Architecture

"A welcomed edition to the minimal literature on designing and building green roofs. This reference manual should be on the shelf of every landscape architect and designer who specifies plants for green roofs."

Oregon Land

"Supported by 300-plus color photographs and including cultural details on more than 200 species and cultivars, this is an essential resource for home gardeners, landscape architects, and designers looking for environmentally friendly choices."

—Carol Haggas, Booklist

"Offers a thorough explanation of plants, including color photographs, that have performed well on roofs."

—Joel M. Lerner, Denver Post

"I have been thinking about the possible uses of ... drought-tolerant, low-maintenance plants. It was [this book] that started me on this journey."

—Anne Raver, New York Times

"It is very encouraging that such a thorough reference is now on the market."

—Erik van Lennep, Cultivate.ie

"One of the few places you can find detailed discussions about what is required and the specific plants which will thrive up on the roof."

—Susan Smith-Durisek, Lexington Herald-Leader

"Even if you aren't interested in installing a green roof, the plant list is worth perusing to get ideas for choosing plants that are especially drought-tolerant."


About the authors

Edmund C. Snodgrass

Edmund C. Snodgrass started the first green roof nursery in the United States and has collaborated on green roof research with colleges and universities. A fifth-generation farmer and nurseryman, he is owner and president of Emory Knoll Farms Inc. and Green Roof Plants in Street, Maryland, specializing in plants and horticultural consulting for green roofs.

Read more about Edmund C. Snodgrass

Lucie L. Snodgrass

Lucie L. Snodgrass is a passionate gardener and professional writer. Before teaching at the college level, she served as a policy advisor in state and federal government. Lucie holds a Master of Fine Arts from the Johns Hopkins University and a Master of Public Administration from the John F. Kennedy School of Government of Harvard University.

Read more about Lucie L. Snodgrass

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