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15 Best Companion Plants To Grow With Roses And Some To Avoid

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Roses are the quintessential garden flower, admired for their beauty, fragrance, and versatility. While they can be a bit finicky, the rewards of growing roses are well worth the effort.

One of the best ways to ensure your roses thrive is through companion planting. Companion planting involves growing certain plants together that mutually benefit each other.

When it comes to roses, the right companions can enhance their growth, improve soil health, deter pests, and create a more visually appealing garden.

In this article, we’ll explore the best plants to grow with roses and highlight a few that should be avoided.

Benefits of Companion Planting with Roses

Companion planting with roses offers numerous benefits. Certain plants repel pests, reducing the need for chemical treatments.

Others enhance soil health and provide essential nutrients, leading to more robust growth and abundant blooms.

Additionally, companion plants can improve garden aesthetics by adding contrasting colors, heights, and textures, creating a more visually appealing and dynamic landscape.

This holistic approach not only promotes healthier roses but also fosters a balanced and thriving garden ecosystem.

Best Companion Plants for Roses

1. Lavender
Lavender is a popular companion plant for roses for several reasons. Its strong scent helps repel aphids, one of the most common pests that attack roses.

Additionally, lavender attracts pollinators such as bees, which can enhance the overall health of your garden.

The silvery-green foliage and purple flowers of lavender also create a beautiful contrast with the green leaves and varied hues of roses.

Lavender thrives in well-drained soil and requires full sun. It is drought-tolerant once established, making it a low-maintenance addition to your garden. Regular pruning helps maintain its shape and encourages new growth.

2. Catmint (Nepeta)
Catmint is another excellent companion for roses. This plant produces aromatic foliage that deters pests like aphids and Japanese beetles.

Catmint also attracts beneficial insects, such as ladybugs and hoverflies, which prey on rose pests.

Its bluish-purple flowers complement the colors of rose blossoms and add a soft, flowing element to garden borders.

Catmint is hardy and drought-resistant, thriving in full sun to partial shade. It prefers well-drained soil and can tolerate a range of soil conditions.

Regular deadheading encourages continuous blooming throughout the growing season.

3. Alliums
Alliums, or ornamental onions, are known for their unique spherical flower heads. These plants are not only visually striking but also serve as natural pest repellents.

Alliums release a sulfur compound that deters aphids, Japanese beetles, and other pests. Their tall, slender stalks add vertical interest to rose beds without competing for space.

Alliums prefer full sun and well-drained soil. Plant them in clusters for the best visual impact.

They are relatively low-maintenance, requiring little more than occasional watering during dry spells.

4. Marigolds
Marigolds are well-known for their ability to repel nematodes, which can damage the roots of roses.

Their bright, cheerful flowers also attract beneficial insects that help keep pest populations in check.

Marigolds come in a variety of colors, including yellow, orange, and red, which can create a vibrant display when planted alongside roses.

Marigolds thrive in full sun and well-drained soil. They are easy to grow and require minimal care.

Deadhead spent flowers to encourage continuous blooming and prevent the plants from becoming leggy.

5. Geraniums
Geraniums, particularly scented varieties, are excellent companions for roses. They emit a fragrance that repels Japanese beetles and other pests.

Geraniums also provide ground cover, helping to suppress weeds and retain soil moisture. Their bright flowers can complement the colors of roses, adding diversity to garden beds.

Geraniums thrive in full sun to partial shade and prefer well-drained soil. They are drought-tolerant once established. Regular deadheading promotes continuous blooming and maintains the plant’s shape.

6. Salvia
Salvia is a hardy perennial that attracts pollinators such as bees and butterflies, which are beneficial for the overall health of your garden. The plant also has pest-repellent properties, making it a valuable companion for roses.

Salvia’s spiky flowers, which come in shades of blue, purple, pink, and white, add a vertical element to garden designs.

Salvia prefers full sun and well-drained soil. It is drought-tolerant and low-maintenance. Prune the plants back after the first bloom to encourage a second flowering in late summer or fall.

7. Thyme
Thyme is a versatile herb that works well as a ground cover around roses. Its aromatic foliage helps deter pests, while its small, pink, white, or purple flowers attract beneficial insects.

Thyme’s low-growing habit makes it an excellent choice for filling in spaces between rose bushes.

Thyme thrives in full sun and well-drained soil. It is drought-tolerant and requires minimal maintenance.

Trim the plants regularly to encourage bushy growth and prevent them from becoming woody.

8. Foxgloves
Foxgloves add height and drama to rose beds with their tall, tubular flowers. They attract pollinators such as bees and hummingbirds, which can improve the health of your garden. Foxgloves also create a striking visual contrast with the lower-growing roses.

Foxgloves prefer partial shade to full sun and moist, well-drained soil. They are biennials, meaning they typically bloom in their second year. Allow some flowers to go to seed to ensure a continuous display in future seasons.

9. Chives
Chives are not only edible but also beneficial companions for roses. They repel aphids and other pests with their strong odor.

Chives also produce attractive purple flowers that can add a pop of color to rose beds. Additionally, they improve the overall health of the soil.

Chives thrive in full sun to partial shade and well-drained soil. They are easy to grow and require minimal care.

Regularly trim the leaves to encourage fresh growth and prevent the plants from becoming invasive.

10. Yarrow
Yarrow is a hardy perennial that attracts beneficial insects, such as ladybugs and predatory wasps, which help control pests.

Its feathery foliage and clusters of small flowers add texture and interest to garden beds. Yarrow is also drought-tolerant and can thrive in various soil conditions.

Yarrow prefers full sun and well-drained soil. It is low-maintenance and can tolerate dry conditions.

Deadhead spent flowers to encourage continuous blooming and prevent the plants from becoming too aggressive.

11. Borage
Borage is an excellent companion plant for roses due to its ability to improve soil health and attract pollinators.

Its blue, star-shaped flowers are not only beautiful but also edible. Borage adds a whimsical touch to garden beds and helps enhance the growth of surrounding plants.

Borage prefers full sun and well-drained soil. It is easy to grow from seed and requires minimal care. Allow some plants to go to seed to ensure a continuous display each year.

12. Snapdragons
Snapdragons add a burst of color to rose beds with their bright, tubular flowers. They attract pollinators and can help fill in gaps between rose bushes.

Snapdragons come in a variety of colors, allowing for creative combinations with different rose varieties.

Snapdragons prefer cooler climates and well-drained soil. They thrive in full sun to partial shade.

Deadhead spent flowers to encourage continuous blooming and prevent the plants from becoming leggy.

13. Parsley
Parsley is another edible companion that benefits roses. It attracts beneficial insects, such as hoverflies, which prey on aphids.

Parsley’s green foliage can provide a lush backdrop for rose blossoms, adding depth and texture to garden beds.

Parsley requires regular watering and thrives in partial shade to full sun. It is easy to grow and can be harvested throughout the growing season. Allow some plants to go to seed to ensure a continuous supply.

14. Cosmos
Cosmos are tall, airy plants that add a delicate touch to rose beds. Their daisy-like flowers come in shades of pink, white, and red, complementing the colors of roses.

Cosmos attract pollinators and beneficial insects, making them a valuable addition to any garden.

Cosmos thrive in full sun and poor, well-drained soil. They are drought-tolerant and require minimal maintenance. Deadhead spent flowers to encourage continuous blooming throughout the season.

15. Nasturtiums
Nasturtiums are known for their vibrant, trumpet-shaped flowers and peppery leaves. They repel aphids and other pests, making them excellent companions for roses.

Nasturtiums can be used as ground cover or allowed to trail over the edges of containers and raised beds.

Nasturtiums prefer sunny locations and well-drained soil. They are easy to grow and require minimal care. Regularly trim the plants to prevent them from becoming invasive.

Plants to Avoid Growing with Roses

While many plants can thrive alongside roses, some should be avoided due to their potential negative impact on your rose garden.

1. Boxwood

Boxwood shrubs can compete with roses for nutrients and water, which can inhibit the growth of your roses.

They can also create dense shade that roses do not tolerate well. If you want to use boxwood for structure, plant them at a distance from your rose beds.

2. Large Trees

Large trees with extensive root systems can outcompete roses for water and nutrients. Additionally, their canopies can cast significant shade, reducing the sunlight roses need to thrive. It’s best to plant roses away from large trees to ensure they receive adequate light and resources.

3. Ferns

Ferns prefer shaded, moist environments, which contrast sharply with the sunny, well-drained conditions that roses need.

Planting ferns too close to roses can create conflicting growing conditions, making it hard for both plants to thrive.

4. Mint

Mint is known for being highly invasive. Its vigorous growth can quickly spread and overtake the area, crowding out roses and other plants.

If you love mint, consider growing it in containers to prevent it from spreading uncontrollably in your garden.

5. Hydrangeas

Hydrangeas require different soil pH levels and moisture conditions than roses. They thrive in slightly acidic, moist soils, whereas roses prefer neutral to slightly acidic, well-drained soils. To avoid conflicting care requirements, it’s best to plant hydrangeas in separate garden areas.

Tips for Successful Companion Planting

Successful companion planting requires understanding the specific needs of each plant and ensuring they align with those of your roses. Choose plants with similar sun, water, and soil requirements to avoid conflicts.

Proper spacing is crucial to provide adequate sunlight and air circulation, preventing overcrowding and disease.

Regular maintenance, including pruning, pest monitoring, and soil health management through fertilization and mulching, is essential. Ensure companion plants do not overtake roses or compete excessively for resources.

Thoughtful planning and consistent care will help you create a harmonious and thriving garden, enhancing both the beauty and health of your roses through the benefits of companion planting.

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