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Keep Off the Grass: Succulents Don’t Suck

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As green roofs proliferate, landscape architects have had to consider what best to green them with. So far, the green roof resident of choice seems to be members of the ultra-resilient sedum family. The super drought-tolerant, adorably sculptural succulents are really the perfect plant:

Sedums and other hardy succulents can survive winter temperatures of 10, 20, even 30 degrees below zero. They are the mainstay of the green roofs now sweeping the country, because they can thrive with virtually no fertilizer and very little water in the thinnest of soils. They can take the beating sun, and they can insulate buildings from high heat as well as from bitter cold. A carpet of them can reduce storm water runoff by absorbing water like a sponge. They clean the air, and they have very few pests.

Anne Raver at the NYT looks at the flexibility of these small wonders, whether blanketing your eco-friendly structure to keep the contents inside insulated, or complementing your modernist decor with some zero-maintenance plantings. Seriously, we’ve tried everything. They’re impossible to kill.

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