Companion Planting with Roses

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When it comes to mix roses with other plants, many make excellent companions.  Maybe because of aesthetics (plants with flower spikes or high architectural foliage provide contrast to the looser form of roses) or garden diversity (mixing different plant types may attract beneficial insects and birds to your courtyard and help control pests naturally). Hummingbirds, for example, will gladly eat the aphids off your rose bushes if you provide suitable habitat for them. Look for good annuals, perennials,  grasses or shrub with the similar growing requirement to pair with roses.

Using roses in a more naturalized setting opens the door to the creative combination of textures and colors. The idea of companion planting frees the gardener from the formality that so many rose gardens are subjected to; immaculate, symmetrical display that resembles the average homeowner’s courtyard. It is remembered, after all, those roses are simple, deciduous flowering shrubs that can be incorporated into the landscape as would be any lilac, mock orange or hydrangea. The list of possible planting companions and combinations is virtually endless: bold blades of New Zealand Flax, airy spires of Catmint, or the soft, gray foliage of Lambs Ear's can provides additional in the garden.

Roses have the long-established relationship with many plants, such as boxwood  (for hedging) and herbs (sage, thyme, artemisia, rosemary, Whole books have written about companion vines or members of the onion family (“Roses  Garlic”). Even the largest member of the landscape can be friends; climbing or rambling roses provide bright accents for many deciduous or coniferous trees.

Naturally in the world of plants, some get along and some do not. Look for clumping-type perennials or grass that stay contained instead of spreading aggressively beyond their boundaries.




A light cloud   geranium provides the perfect backdrop for the hybrid tea roses ‘The Bride.’ Long-blooming perennials outstretch the bloom season in the rose garden, provide color interest and different textures.



‘May Night’ Salvia, Yellow Pincushion Flower, and Boxwood compliment the David Austin shrub rose ‘Eglantyne.’

Roses companions 12-18” away from roses to avoid root.

Choose companion plant with similar growing requirements, in terms of water, sunlight and fertilizer. For example, lavender is often listed as a guide of roses but may need a drier environment to make them truly happy. In like manner, rhododendrons or other acidic-loving plants may not proceed with the neutral pH soil rose desires.

Avoid aggressive plant that may crowd out your roses or compete for water and nutrients.



From left: blue geraniums and yellow daylilies mix freely with Rugosa Roses; the dainty, pink flowers of Paul’s Himalayan Musk provide contrast to coarser Horse chestnut leaves, and Coralbells provide an airy backdrop for a pink shrub rose.



Consider planting floral greenery or other long-lasting cut flowers as “bouquet companions” for your roses. In this arrangement, iris, asters, oriental lilies, Peruvian lilies, sword fern, bear grass and leather leaf contrast nicely with hybrid tea roses. Growing perennials like these among your roses provide much-needed garden color between flashes of rose blooms. Companion Planting with Roses
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