En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

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
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
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:


Actaea rubra

Amorpha fruticosa

Cornus racemosa

Dasiphora fruticosa ssp. floribunda

Physocarpus opulifolius

Symphoricarpos albus

Shepherdia canadensis

Yucca filamentosa

 


 

 

More Shrubs Questions

Plant identification
June 12, 2014 - We live in Magnolia TX and have a shrub we can't identify. It's evergreen and has waxy leaves with a serrated edge that are about an inch in length. They have pink flowers and they grow to ab...
view the full question and answer

Cenizo safe for consumption by parrots from Phoenix AZ
April 30, 2012 - Could you tell me if Cenizo, (Leucophyllum frutescens) branches and leaves can be fed to pets? (parrots)I read the leaves were often used for tea for humans, but can't find an information if safe fo...
view the full question and answer

Non-native astilbe resemblance to non-native poisonous castor bean from Tomslake BC
May 21, 2014 - I have a plant that looks like a castor bean but it has flowers like a Younique Silvery Pink Astilbe. Need to id because castor bean is poisonous. This plant grows up to 5 feet in height. Thank you !
view the full question and answer

Trees and shrubs that are not poisonous to horses
September 23, 2008 - What non poisonous trees or shrubs or hedges would work for being near horses?
view the full question and answer

Problems with Savannah Holly plants in Friendswood, TX.
June 17, 2009 - I have planted 4 savannah hollies in front of my house, two on the left of the door and two on the right. If you are standing in front of my house and looking at the door, the sun rises at the back l...
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.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center