Garden Highlight: Green Roof

Garden Highlight: Green Roof
June 28, 2018 admin

Queens Botanical Garden’s Green Roof was built as part of the Visitor & Administration Building project in 2007. This 8,000-square-foot green roof supports a much needed habitat for birds and insects. The roof portion contains a diverse collection of native drought-tolerant species that are maintained with little artificial watering, while the base features a collection of native woodland plants like ferns, shrubs, sedges, and trees.


Similar to all our collections at Queens Botanical Garden, the Green Roof has different blooms every season, this post will focus specifically on early summer. Continue reading to learn more about what is currently in bloom now through early July!


Opuntia cacanapa ‘Ellisiana’

A native and spineless cactus! These cacti were added to the Green Roof and Constructed Wetland two years ago. The flower bloom pictured here is a rare find. You’d be lucky to spot one because this variety blooms for less than 24 hours!

Purple Prairie Clover

Petalostemum purpureum

The purple prairie clover is part of the original Green Roof planting in 2007. This plant is a nitrogen fixer and is used in prairie restoration. Nitrogen fixation is a process where plants produce and release nitrogen through their roots. Nitrogen is an important resource for plants to grow and is helpful in restoring nutrients to poor soil.



Thyme, commonly used to season food is also a fantastic ground cover! As thyme grows it easily fills in gaps between plants to prevent weed growth and retain moisture in the soil. We have a purple flowering variety (pictured) and a white flowering variety interspersed on the roof.

Butterfly Weed

Asclepias tuberosa

You’ll find this orange and yellow flower all over the Garden. A favorite food for monarch butterflies, this plant easily starts from seed. Plant it in your backyard to aid in monarch conservation!


Phemeranthus calycinus

Easy to miss, visit in the afternoon for your best chance to see fameflower in person. Peppered along the Green Roof, this succulent has delicate flowers (less than 1″ across!) supported by a thin stem up to a foot long. The flowers only bloom in the afternoon and seem to dance in the wind.

Purple flowering Raspberry

Rubus odoratus

Find this bush growing at the base of the Green Roof under a young oak tree. Its bright fuchsia flowers are a hit with pollinators. Look closely; notice there are no thorns on this plant! Most raspberry bushes have thorns, but not Rubus odoratus! 

Lamb’s Ears

Stachys byzantina

This evergreen perennial gets its common name from its soft and woolly appearance. When you visit, reach down to feel the leaves–they truly feel like the ears of a lamb!



Sedum commonly known as stonecrop is an impressive genus of plants made up of predominantly rhizomatous ground covers, meaning they grow by spreading their roots that slow creep out and shoot up new growth.

It has taken 10 years for our sedums to reach the stage you currently seen them in!

Late Summer Flowers

When visiting in later July keep an eye out for these eye-popping beauties!