Plants for a roof terrace

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16 Feb 2018 5:42 AM by nickid Star rating in west midlands brough.... 74 posts Send private message

Hi 

We have a place in Murcia area of Spain. I would like some plants on our roof terrace however we don’t live in Spain and sometimes it is months before we are out there. Can anyone recommend the best plants that will survive the extreme heat but also sometimes torrential rain and wind. They obviously will be planted in boxes or pots. 

I am not keen on Cactus  I have been told Aloe Vera plants and the gardener said another plant that ended in Vera but I can’t remember what this is. I have also read lavender and rosemary are drought resistant but will they survive no water? I am happy to buy plants in England and take them over or buy in Spain 

Also is there any thing special we should put them in i.e soil and should we water them when we do go.

i had thought of artificial plants or has anyone got other suggestions on how to make a roof terrace more homely 

Thank you 





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16 Feb 2018 8:23 AM by acer Star rating. 1493 posts Send private message

I've had a roof terrace for a few years - by chance I'm demolishing it next week!  But that's mainly as I'm having some building work done which conflicts with the structure.  I have an irrigation system which I connected, but even then your choice of planting is limited if you exclude succulents.  Of course they are a massively wide genus but they still need a bit of upkeep.

The best success I had that really surprised me was with Geraniums (properly labelled as Pelargoniums).  If you add some water retaining crystals (brought from the UK) they can tolerate periods of drought and really love the heat.  A group of have a dozen or so of bright red plants are really outstanding.   They do suffer from a moth that eats into the plant but a regular spray with a diluted olive oil/washing up liquid mix works well.

The other plant I would recommend to you is what is locally called "ice plants" - but available at any Garden Centre - labelled "Messums" .  If you google delosperma you will see what I mean - they are a fabulous genus of vibrant coloured succulents, which provide excellent ground cover and are totally hardy and drought resistant.  They often grow wild in the Mediterranean.  I first encountered them in Greece growing wild alongside a beach - several square metres of Delosperma Cooperi with the same wow factor as a field of daffodils, but of course totally different.  There are more subtle plants in the range all simple to grow and propagate.  

Good luck.



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16 Feb 2018 9:17 AM by nickid Star rating in west midlands brough.... 74 posts Send private message

That’s brilliant really good advice. Can I ask do you have to change the crystals after a certain period and I presume it is best to water the plants/ crystals when you can. Will definitely be getting some of the plants and crystals 





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16 Feb 2018 4:05 PM by acer Star rating. 1493 posts Send private message

The water holding crystals I use are available from larger Garden Centres in the UK - never seen them in Spain. 

They're sold under the Miracle Grow brand and called "Moisture Control pots & baskets gel".  It's important to mix them well into the soil before you water them (otherwise they form a giant guey mess, like frog spawn!) but they retain water and reduce the watering frequency.  They act like a reservoir, holding water each time you water, but this is still necessary.

I also use them generally on other plants in the garden that require more water then others.  But of course you tend to keep the mix with them 6 inches or so from the plant root to promote the usual root growth. 

 

I imagine you can order them in Spain through Amazon, but I bring one out occasionally in my cabin bag.



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17 Feb 2018 6:16 AM by Weescottie Star rating. 37 posts Send private message

Very timely post, I was just discussing with my husband planting up our terraces.  My problem also is that I’m not here all the time, usually a week or so every month.  I love geraniums so will give them a try along with the moisture crystals.   I thought about rigging up a watering system for in between times but as I always switch the electric and water off it would need to be a manual type system.  Any ideas on that??  





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17 Feb 2018 9:28 AM by acer Star rating. 1493 posts Send private message

Mmmm...a "manual type system" - I have a mental picture of some elaborate device produced by Wallace & Gromit.  Sounds nice, but the standard Hozelock automatic system takes some beating - it operates well using batteries and water pressure.  Yes the water has to be left on, but if it's left on by mistake it only runs for a max of 45 minutes.



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17 Feb 2018 6:07 PM by nickid Star rating in west midlands brough.... 74 posts Send private message

Thank you all only just seen the replies 





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18 Feb 2018 6:56 AM by Weescottie Star rating. 37 posts Send private message

Been googling and Amazon have a tank and battery type system...I think I may buy that....works on timer and has a gravity type water reservoir...I’m never happy leaving water on when I’m away so think this might be the solution...project  terrace planting coming soon.





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18 Feb 2018 10:02 AM by acer Star rating. 1493 posts Send private message

That's interesting, but I wonder how you fill the tank without using mains water? 

If it's a very large tank be sure to use the tablets that keep the water clear of mildew etc.  I believe you can buy them in Spain as they are used here for depositos.

Hope it's a good project for you.



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18 Feb 2018 11:50 AM by Weescottie Star rating. 37 posts Send private message

Thanks for advice, tank not huge but should be sufficient for 3 weeks whilst I’m away.  Good tip re tablet.





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18 Feb 2018 1:24 PM by acer Star rating. 1493 posts Send private message

Thanks for yours. 

Yes the tablets I use are labelled "Aqua Clean Tabs" you can buy them online "cleantabs.co.uk"  - they're possibly a bit OTT but I use them anyway.  They stop organisms growing in stored water - a few years ago a work colleague contracted Legionella in Spain from dirty water with dire consequences.

Sorry to be giving you the Health & Safety lesson, but you may also need to ponder how you avoid your water system becoming a breeding ground for mosquitos.

Perhaps plastic flowers may be simpler after all!



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18 Feb 2018 4:52 PM by Weescottie Star rating. 37 posts Send private message

No plastic flowers.  I have a wee fountain that is keep well diluted with bleach, seems to do the trick.  I shall send before and after pics.





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18 Feb 2018 6:03 PM by acer Star rating. 1493 posts Send private message

That's an interesting idea - possibly Milton tablets will have the same effect (I've got a water feature too and just thinking that might be milder on the plastic bits).

Look forward to seeing the photos.

Cheers



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18 Feb 2018 7:20 PM by Weescottie Star rating. 37 posts Send private message

The bleach seems to do the trick, very weak solution...can’t be too toxic, the fountain is shaped like a Buddha and I have a wee gecko living in the Buddha’s head.  Wouldn’t use on plants though.  https://www.amazon.co.uk/Claber-8053-Automatic-Watering-irrigation/dp/B000U5YFR4/ref=cm_cr_arp_d_product_top?ie=UTF8.  Here’s the one I’ve spotted on Amazon.  I’d put pots in shade and tank in outside cupboard.





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19 Feb 2018 7:02 AM by acer Star rating. 1493 posts Send private message

Thanks for the info - I had no idea these existed.  I used to use capilliary mats in the past, but these had limited value.  Interested to hear you experience in due course.



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19 Feb 2018 8:16 AM by Weescottie Star rating. 37 posts Send private message

I drive my husband mad, there is always a project either on the go or being plannned. Bathrooms being reformed currently, then terraces retiled and painted.  Guess I really should hold fire with planting until then, I’m not really very patient though.  I’ll keep you posted.





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