Explore Plants

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 

Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

rate this answer
12 ratings

Wednesday - March 17, 2010

From: Little Chute, WI
Region: Midwest
Topic: Shrubs
Title: Native trees or shrubs for containers on roof in Wisconsin
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Looking for native trees/shrubs to be planted in containers on a flat roof w/south-southeast exposure. Gets pretty warm in the summer and pretty cold in the winter. How big would the container have to be?

ANSWER:

First, let me refer you to our article, Container Gardening with Native Plants.  You will see in the article that the recommendation for the size of the pot is: 

"Select a container that will accommodate the full sizes of the plants it will house. It should provide ample root space and have a substantial base to offset top-heaviness (both visually and in terms of stability)."

Winter weather in Wisconsin, however, presents an addtional consideration for the size of the pot you can use.  I believe you can handle the summer heat as long as you pick plants that are happy growing in full sun and you give them adequate water.  However, the winters are another matter.  Roots in a container will not have the same protection from freezing that roots buried in the ground will have.  With container plants you will need to move them to a protected environment to protect their roots as the winter temperatures drop well below freezing.  Consequently, you will need to select plants that fit into containers that you will be able to move to a protected place. You can read advice on preparing container plants for winter weather in the article, Maintaining Winter Gardens in Gladwin, MI, from the National Gardening Association.

Below are shrubs that are Wisconsin natives that grow in full sun.  If the your area is in shade (less than 2 hours sun per day) or part shade (2 to 6 hours of sun per day), you can find recommendations for other plants in our Wisconsin Recommended list.  You can use the NARROW YOUR SEARCH option to limit the list to only 'Shrubs' by choosing that selection under GENERAL APPEARANCE.

Actaea rubra (red baneberry)

Amorpha fruticosa (desert false indigo)

Cornus racemosa (gray dogwood)

Dasiphora fruticosa ssp. floribunda (shrubby cinquefoil)

Physocarpus opulifolius (common ninebark)

Symphoricarpos albus (common snowberry)

Shepherdia canadensis (russet buffaloberry)

Yucca filamentosa (Adam's needle) and here is more information.

Here are photos of the above plants from our Image Gallery:

 


 

 

More Shrubs Questions

Dog and kid barrier in East Wenatchee WA
October 01, 2009 - I have about a 8 foot section between my driveway and the neighbor's yard, and their kids and dogs like to run through it! I would like to plant a non-invasive 4-6 foot growing shrub/bush of some s...
view the full question and answer

Problems with transplanting cenizo in Weatherford TX
September 29, 2009 - I tried to transplant a Silverado Sage into a large pot but within 1 day it started wilting. Could it be the soil? I used potting soil not soil from the ground which is a sandy soil.
view the full question and answer

Wintering a Lemon Cypress tree in Eagan MN
September 29, 2009 - I Have a 2 1/2' Lemon Cypress Tree. I'm wondering if I can leave it outdoors for the winter, if not, how would I winter over indoors?
view the full question and answer

Low growing erosion control plants for lakeside in Washington Township NJ
May 12, 2013 - I live on a small lake in Northern NJ and have installed beautiful Boulders along the water to help stop erosion. Now I want to add plants along the property but would like low growing, soil retentio...
view the full question and answer

Plants that smell like chocolate from Coral Gables FL
July 12, 2012 - I am looking for plants that smell like chocolate. I live in south Florida. We are currently growing and testing Berlandiera lyrata. Do you know of other plants whose flowers smell like chocolate?
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.