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Companion Plants for Roses (Australian Guide)

Rose companion plants will deter pests such as aphids as well as attract beneficial insects.

If you want to grow some companion plants around your roses, it’s important to remember that roses don’t like competition and need plenty of sunlight, water, and nutrients to thrive and bloom.

Therefore, you want to consider low-growing plants that have a fairly shallow root system.

You also want to ensure that there’s plenty of air circulation around your roses to prevent fungal diseases such as powdery mildew and black spot.

You should also select companion plants that will enjoy the same growing conditions.

Additionally, companion plants should not be planted any closer than around 30 cm from the base of the rose bush. 

In saying that, there are plenty of companion plants that are beneficial for growing around roses because they can deter pests such as aphids as well as attract beneficial insects.

Many different types of herbs are ideal for this. 

Ideal herb companion plants for roses

There are many different types of herbs that are perfect for growing around your roses. Many of these will keep pests away and attract pollinators such as bees.

oregano plant | Plant care
Oregano

The best herbs to plant around your roses are garlic, oregano, parsley, basil, thyme, and catmint.

Most of these herbs are fairly low-growing and you can easily cut them back to control their growth. This stops your roses from being overcrowded.

Certain flowering plants that are great for pest control include marigold flowers, geraniums, yarrow, and lavender.

These plants can also be trimmed to stop them from overcrowding your roses.

Flowers that make good companion plants for roses

Roses 9 | Plant care

If you’re growing a lovely cottage garden, you want to fill it with a variety of different flowering plants.

Roses have always been a feature of cottage gardens and these can be underplanted with a variety of other colourful flowers.

Flowers that are ideal for planting around roses include lamb’s ear, petunias, daisies, pansies, statice, gerberas, dianthus, violets, chamomile, daylilies, delphinium, bearded iris, and baby’s breath.

In my previous garden, I had numerous roses with different coloured blooms growing in the front garden. I underplanted some of these with the seaside daisy, Erigeron glaucus.

seaside daisy Erigeron glaucus | Plant care
Seaside Daisy, Erigeron glaucus

This provided a lovely contrast between the deep reds, yellows, pinks, and mauves of the roses with the cheery white flowers of the daisy. The daisies also provided some ground cover to keep the soil moist for longer.

I did find that the daisy was quite an aggressive grower so had to keep an eye on it and pull it back from the base of the roses quite often during the warmer months.

However, the plants seemed to grow well together and the roses put on a fabulous display right through spring and summer and well into the autumn.

Winter flowering plants that make good companions for roses

Another important thing to consider is that your roses will be dormant in winter and will look quite bare, especially after you’ve pruned them. For this reason, you might want to consider underplanting them with some lovely winter flowering varieties.

Some of the best winter-flowering plants to grow around your roses include lavender, wallflowers, low-growing daisy varieties, and silverbush.

The silverbush (Convolvulus cneorum) is a lovely soft ground cover with silvery foliage and gorgeous white flowers. It will provide a lovely soft contrast to your roses.

silverbush Convolvulus cneorum | Plant care
Silverbush

Choose plants in either complimentary or contrasting colours

Another idea when selecting companion plants for your roses is to consider different colour combinations. These will depend on what colour blooms you have on your roses.

Roses 1 | Plant care

While some people like to grow a variety of roses with different coloured blooms, others like to have a collection of roses all with the same colour blooms. This can add quite a dramatic effect to your garden.

If you are part of the latter group, you also want to consider companion plants that have complimentary coloured flowers. For example, pink roses look great with underplantings of purple flowers such as statice, viola, catmint, or forget-me-nots.

On the other hand, yellow roses look fantastic with plants that have silvery foliage such as lamb’s ear and silverbush.

FAQ

What should you not plant around roses?

The most important thing to remember is that roses don’t like root competition from large trees and shrubs. Therefore, don’t plant these around your roses. Instead, go for low-growing plants that add colour and texture to your rose garden.

Can you plant lavender next to roses?

Lavender is great for planting next to roses. Lavender also has the benefit of being a repellent to certain pests and will attract lots of pollinators such as bees to your garden.

Do roses and hydrangeas go together?

Hydrangeas are not the best companion plants for roses because they prefer much more shade than roses do. You’ll also find that both roses and hydrangeas are dormant in winter so the garden will look quite bare if you plant these two together.

Photo of author

Annette Hird

Annette Hird is a gardening expert with many years of experience in a range of gardening related positions. She has an Associate Diploma of Applied Science in Horticulture and has worked in a variety of production nurseries, primarily as a propagator. She has also been responsible for a large homestead garden that included lawn care, fruit trees, roses and many other ornamental plants. More recently, Annette has concentrated on improving the garden landscape of the homes that she has lived in and focused a lot of energy on growing edible plants as well. She now enjoys sharing her experience and knowledge with others by writing articles about all facets of gardening and growing plants.

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6 thoughts on “Companion Plants for Roses (Australian Guide)”

  1. Annette, I am after a guest speaker for the Queensland Rose Society at Annerley Brisbane for 14th february 7pm wednesday evening.
    I think your talk would be very interesting companion plants with roses.
    Can you please let me know if you can do a talk for the society.

    Reply
    • Sue, unfortunately, I’m now based in Victoria even though I lived in Queensland for 21 years. But thank you for your kind invitation.

      Reply
  2. Thank you for your wonderful article, Annette.

    I found you while looking for ideas to replace some of the plants which I think are crowding my white standard Icebergs. I’ve removed several types of plants already and think the Limonium “Sea Foam” and society garlic (which I planted as a border) should also be transplanted. Both look lovely under the roses but I didn’t want to remove them unnecessarily.

    I look forward to reading more of your inspirational newsletters.

    Regards from Kerrie (in Newcastle NSW).

    Reply
    • Hi Kerrie

      Thanks for your kind comments.

      If it was my garden, I would probably just transplant the Limonium into another part of the garden but keep the society garlic under the roses. The garlic will help to suppress weeds and also help to ward off pests such as aphids.

      Hope that helps
      Kind regards
      Annette

      Reply
  3. Thank you Annette, I appreciate your advice! I just spayed my freshly pruned roses with lime sulphur, but I had no idea that I can use lime sulphur at a 10ml per litre of water when they have foliage and flowers!
    Something you may like to share is, I have had great success with growing snapdragons around my roses. Beautiful colour throughout winter, and they keep flowering and re-seeding through the other months, provided you keep cutting away the spent blooms.
    I’ve used the dwarf variety. I do have 3 lavender bushes, but they don’t thrive here on the Gold Coast.
    I use Neutrog fertilizers for everything.

    Reply

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