Sharing the Rose Bed Successfully
Companion Planting for roses need not be a difficult task if we consider a few basic rules.
Many of us prefer to grow our roses as part of a perennial border rather than a separate, single variety rose bed. We think of it as a more rounded, year long affair, rather than just the spring to fall flush of blooms.
Not only that, but parts of our gardens are in shade or would like the shade of a rose bush. The question is, what goes well with the roses? Companion planting guidelines are needed as a starting point.
Before we make a suggested list we need to establish a few basic rules:
- Newly planted Tea Roses do not like other plants growing around their roots, although some gardeners grow perennials in older, established Tea rose beds, I still prefer to keep this to a minimum. I don’t think Tea roses like competition.
- Other roses such as Shrub roses or David Austin roses, don’t seem to mind other plants in their space as long as plant spacing is sufficient to allow good air circulation.
- Remember that watering needs will increase but soil coverage by companion planting acts as a mulch to protect the soil.
Good companion planting can keep the roots of your rose bushes cooler!
Some ideas for Companion Planting With Roses
Hardy Geranium or Cranesbill.
These perennials are great with roses because they are low growing and long flowering. Cut them down to the ground each fall and they will return in the spring.
Salvia: either faranacea verticillata or officinalis
Blue salvia looks great with red roses, tiny blue flowers of purple rain are delightful and purple sage is a great ground cover for rose beds with its dusky green coloring.(purple sage also has a purple edge to the leaf.)
Masterwort can be white, pink or red like strawflowers at three feet high. Great between the roses. Companion planting at it’s best.
Various types but most like dryer conditions. The English Lavenders like Minstead make great groundcover and base coloring however.
Comes in all sorts of colors but the whites and pastels compliment the roses well. Can take some shady area and tend to be spiky, wispy and graciously tall. Best when planted in three I think. My personal favorite.
Again a variety of colors but the ‘prune to the roots’ type (type C) seems to be the most sensible as it doesn’t get to strangle it’s neighbors. Wind it behind the rose bed, on the fence, or up a tree or even up a large shrub rose as long as you prune it back to the ground in the spring.
Again, various types and colors. Mauve, blue or white on large two foot stems. Again, like most perennials, prune back strongly for good growth the following spring.Be careful here because the Campanula will self seed if left without cutting the spent blooms.
This is just a short list of the perennials available for your companion planting. Check your growing zone and plant accordingly. Look for low growing plants to cover the ‘bare legs’ of the mid season rose bush or look for plants that bloom before your roses or after the end of the rose season.
And what of interest to you have blooming in the winter season? Remember your heights……..small roses need tall perennials, large roses need low, compact perennials…and watch your color mix!