Urban Plants

Urban settings are rarely considered an ideal client for any plant.  Throw them up on a roof deck drenched in direct sunlight and surrounded by strong winds and you have yourself an even greater challenge.  Most plants simply can’t handle it.  It takes a special breed (literally).  And today, we are highlighting 5 of those special breeds that perform exceptionally well in the extreme microclimates that a city has to offer.

1.  Blue Fescue (Festuca glauca) – These tufts of grass are extremely low maintenance and can handle plenty of direct sunlight as well as warm temperatures. Perfect for a sun-drenched roof deck, they don’t require too much water so good luck killing it.

Blue Fescue (Festuca glauca) Blue Fescue (Festuca glauca)

2. Panicled Hydrangea (Hydrangea paniculata) – Perfect for your Blustering balcony, this shrub produces beautiful blooms throughout the summer and into the fall while still staying plenty hardy to survive the bitter conditions of the Midwest Winters.  They act as a great focal specimen or as an entire hedge to help separate spaces.

Panicled Hydrangea (Hydrangea paniculata) Panicled Hydrangea (Hydrangea paniculata)

3. Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa) Is perfect for helping to detox that polluted patio.  While the name indicates it is a weed, it is really anything but that. It’s solid roots help to take up plenty of storm water during a flood and as the name suggests, it really does attract butterflies.

Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa) Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa)

4. Astilbe ‘Fanal’ – For that little shady spot between your home and your garage.  You know that area that sees about 5 minutes of sun per day.  Yea, these little guys do just fine without much sun and will still produce some strikingly vibrant blooms throughout the summer.

Astilbe ' Fanal' Astilbe ‘ Fanal’

05. Black Mondo Grass (Ophiopogon planiscapus) is perfect for areas of heavy foot-traffic.  It does better in part to full-sun and it’s deep, dark color helps to add a really unique touch to your garden.  Because if their ability to spread and similarities to turf grass, these plants are good in areas where you might get a lot of people passing by because of its resilience to foot-traffic.

Black Mondo Grass (Ophiopogon planiscapus) Black Mondo Grass (Ophiopogon planiscapus)