Rooftop Gardening


I am attempting to grow a garden for the first time on my rooftop. I’ve mostly been buying plants from nearby stores but the employees never seem to be able to give advice on what will work well out there. I’ve had more than one plant die within a day or two of putting it up there. It is on the top floor of a three story house. It is very hot with full sun. The plants are completely exposed to the elements so wind is also a big factor/pigeons etc. I water the plants everyday except on days where there is heavy rain. I’m looking for advice on plants/flowers and ideally vines that would thrive in that kind of environment. I would also appreciate some general care tips since I am very new this. Thank you!


Thank you for contacting the Toronto Master Gardeners with your question.

Welcome to the exciting world of rooftop container gardens, and encourage you to continue to forge ahead to create a beautiful space on your rooftop.

There are a number of factors that go into having a successful rooftop garden that holds up to the harsh conditions. An important critical success factor is how well you plan and prepare for your garden for its intended use. For instance are you intending on having a perennial garden , having your plants overwinter, or just using annuals?

Also ensuring you are using proper material for planters to match the intended use, not to mention a proper container growing medium.

Size of container is very important :  the smaller the container the more variability and extreme the growing conditions become, the larger the container, the more resilient and stable the environment becomes. This is particularly important if you want a perennial garden. Smaller containers tend to freeze more deeply and thaw more readily, which is very harmful to overwintering plants.

For your specific question on advice for plants/flowers and ideally vines that would thrive in that kind of environment, please refer to the following link which is a response from another MasterGardener to the same question as yours ;

This link also has a number of additional references that you can learn more from.

One addition point for your interest in finding a vine largely depends on the size of your container;  generally perennial vines that will survive or thrive in that setting require larger containers. So for smaller containers than one cubic yard should be considering annual vines.

I wish you much enjoyment with your rooftop garden.