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Roof and Balcony Cacti and Succulent Gardens

Cacti and succulents can be used in most any landscape setting. Theyíre especially suitable for roof top and balcony gardens. Such sites are typically exposed to extreme heat, sun, and drying winds. Yet, these plants thrive under adverse conditions.

Succulents are often used in green roofs. In recent years, green roofs have become increasingly popular. These special roof gardens capture rainfall, which reduces the amount of storm runoff. Green roofs can also help reduce energy usage. Green roof advocates also say these special gardens can improve air quality as well.

Green roofs are most common in large cities. In some locales, local building codes now mandate that builders must incorporate measures to deal with storm runoff. When thatís the case, such building codes will increase the popularity of green roofs.

Ordinary roof gardens have been around for years in urban areas. So have balcony gardens. These allow city dwellers to take advantage of whatever space is available. Succulents are ideal for such gardens.

Container gardens are used on balconies. These allow gardeners to fully utilize the vertical space as well. Examples include plant stands, multi-tiered planters, and topiary-like containers. There are also special wall pots designed to hang on walls. Hanging baskets are also suitable for balcony gardens. These can be hung from railings and similar supports.

In most cases, weight isnít a big issue when it comes to balcony gardens. However, it probably isnít a good idea to use very large concrete planters in such locations. These containers tend to be very heavy. If you have questions, consult with the building manager, condo/homeownerís association or other authority. For roof gardens, weight is always a consideration.

Gardeners are pretty much free to choose any garden style they wish when designing roof top gardens. For succulents, a very minimalist approach tends to accentuate the architectural beauty of the plants.


As with any landscape, pay attention to the basic elements of garden design. For the best effect, create combination plantings that bring a sense of rhythm or movement. This can be accomplished by using plants of different heights. Tall and medium ones along with ground-hugging types are all needed.

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