You love your roses, but you want something more. You want to mix in other plants, whether simply to create an even more aesthetically pleasing display or to increase your garden's diversity in order to attract a wider variety of birds and insects. Whatever your reasons, the good news is that there are a fantastic number of plants that are ideal for use as companions to your beloved roses.
When choosing companions for your roses, you will want to select plants with similar soil, water, fertilizer, and light requirements. You will want to avoid any that spread or take over neighboring plants. Try mounding plants, grasses, and perennials, as well as colorful shrubs and annuals that won't throw your roses into shade or make them compete for garden space. Here is a list of great "friends" for your roses:
Companion planting opens the door to an almost infinite combination of textures and colors. It allows you to get away from the sense of formality that rose gardens so often embody. If a formal rose garden is what you want, that's wonderful. But if you want a freer, more relaxed display with an organic flow, then companion planting is for you.
Long-blooming perennials and evergreen plants can be used to fill in those "empty" gaps when your roses are not in bloom, making sure your garden has something to offer season after season.
As a rose lover, the main feature and focus of your garden may always be your roses, but allowing them to form relationships with a variety of other plants will bring so much more beauty and character to the landscape, and in many cases keep your roses healthier and even more spectacular for years to come!
It isn't entirely about visual appeal, however. There are practical reasons for growing certain plants along with your roses as well. For example, shrubs and perennials that provide food and habitat for hummingbirds are ideal, as hummingbirds will happily eat aphids that may be plaguing your roses. And honestly, even if they didn't, why would you not want more hummingbirds around?
And speaking of aphids, an ideal companion plant that will help keep your roses free of those pests is garlic. It may sound odd, but it works. Aphids hate garlic, and ants and snails are none too fond of it either. In addition, studies have shown that garlic has anti-fungal properties as well, helping to keep diseases such as blackspot at bay.
And don't forget, as you grow companion plants among your roses, that roses prefer specific fertilizers and growth enhancements developed just for them. We recommend using any of several formulas that have been found to be very effective in promoting foliage growth and bud development.
When properly grown, your roses will set dozens (if not hundreds!) of buds, keeping the garden and vase colorful and fragrant over many weeks. Cut all the flowers you like for the vase, and keep the plants deadheaded to encourage the growth of new buds.
With just a little extra attention, your roses will grow and bloom their very best. Plant many "friends" among them to maximize the health and beauty of your sunny garden, and enjoy the results for years to come!