Companion planting is a technique many gardeners use when growing vegetables, but it can also be used for other plants. As we previously mentioned in a previous blog post on companion plants for tomatoes, the practice of growing different plants in close proximity to one another is for the purpose of providing mutual support and benefits.

Roses are a popular plant in the garden. They are often planted for their beauty and fragrance. Roses are very sensitive to pests and diseases so companion plants can play a key role in protecting them. This is because companion plants offer a natural form of protection against these issues. Companion plants can include herbs and flowers.

When it comes to selecting companion plants for roses there are three selection processes:

  1. What plants look good with roses? This criterion is based on aesthetics. You can consider the color of the plants. If your roses are red, you might want to look at companion plants that are blue or white. Other considerations can be how tall is your rose bush or what type of blooms your roses have (small, double, or large blooms). Also, some of these plants will flower when your roses are not in bloom.
  2. What plants will help your roses thrive? One is what looks good with roses and the other is what plants will help your roses thrive.  Here you might want to look for plants that help with pest control or growing conditions
  3. What plants might take attention away from your roses? With this criterion, we are referring to taking nutrients away from roses, such as a tall plant that blocks sunlight or takes nutrients out of the soil, or can deal with your roses' heavy feeding schedule.

Here are seven great companion plants for roses:

Allium – Allium is a genus of plants that includes onions, garlic, and leeks. Roses love garlic. Allium helps to protect the roses from pests and diseases. It also helps to improve the soil quality and provides nutrients for the roses. Allium has been known for its pest repellent properties which are helpful in protecting flowers from insects, slugs, snails, nematodes, and other pests that could damage or destroy them. Allium improves soil quality by adding nitrogen which leads to healthy plants. It also provides nutrients for the roses by providing organic matter as well as minerals such as potassium, phosphorus, calcium, and magnesium which are beneficial for plant growth and care. Many also believe Allium wards off black spots on roses.

Baby’s Breath – Baby’s breath attracts pollinators and aesthetically provides a wonderful contrast to roses. They look great in the garden and in a cut flower arrangement. It also helps with improving soil quality by adding nutrients to the ground. It also provides excellent ground cover.

Bee Balm - Bee Balm is a great companion plant for roses because it produces nectar and pollen that are attractive to bees. Bees and other pollinators are important for the success of flowers and plants. Since bee balm attracts pollinators, it will help roses to grow better in your garden. Bee balm also helps by repelling pests such as aphids, whiteflies, and Japanese beetles which can harm the growth of flowers and plants. Since bee balm grows tall and gets quite large you might want to plant it behind your roses, so they don’t compete. Beware of powdery mildew as it can attack both bee balm and roses.

Dianthus – Dianthus plants are great companion plants for roses because they help to keep away unwanted insects and pests. They also offer a beautiful contrast to the rose flowers and their color creates an appealing display in the garden. The dianthus plant has attractive foliage that complements the delicate flowers while providing a great habitat for pollinators and beneficial insects such as ladybugs and lacewings. Using dianthus is clever because they also can cover the bottom of the rose bush, which is not the most attractive part of the plant.

Geraniums – Geraniums help roses by deterring pests. Geraniums repel Japanese beetles, aphids, and other rose beetles. Geraniums are another plant that will cover the bottom of the rose bush. They can also add an attractive floral complement to your roses. Geraniums come in many different colors, so you will be able to find an aesthetic companion to your roses.

Lavender – Lavender goes well with roses because it attracts pollinators, provides a natural repellent to pests, and reduces disease risk. Lavender helps ward off aphids which can attack roses by sucking the sap from stems. While these two plants like similar growing conditions (full sun, well-draining soil) lavender does not need to be fertilized as often as roses, so make sure these two plants are grown 2 to 3 feet apart. Pink roses will look great with the purple lavender.

Parsley –Parsley is known for its ability to attract wasps that prey on aphids and other pests that are common on roses. It also repels rose beetles. If you leave your parsley to flower it attracts pollinators and it has been said roses benefit parsley flowers by making their scent sweeter.

Let us know your favorite plants to grow with roses!

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