Roses are the crowning jewels of any flower garden. Known for their striking colors, their characteristic scent, and their poetic mentions, these beautiful blooms are easy to grow in your backyard.
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If you have roses in your backyard or if you are planning to grow them, you can add some plants alongside them. These companion plants will boost their development, and magnify their captivating qualities a hundredfold.
Companion planting is a common technique employed by professional gardeners worldwide to aid the growth of flora. In the case of roses as well, certain plants serve as beneficiary neighbors.
Read this article to find out which are the best companion plants for roses. Before that, let’s see what companion planting is and why it is so important to gardeners.
Companion Planting: Overview and Benefits
Among gardeners and farmers, companion planting is a popular strategy used to boost production and growth. It has been practiced since times immemorial.
In this technique, different crops are grown next to each other for getting numerous desired benefits. The type of plant you choose to grow will depend on the specific areas you want to improve upon. Here are some of the benefits of companion planting:
Plants with long roots can pull nutrients from deep within the soil to the surface. This helps small-rooted plants.
Additionally, leguminous plants like spinach and beans perform the important function of nitrogen fixation. In this process, the roots of these plants add nitrogen back to the soil. This is why farmers and gardeners use legumes as intermediate crops between two harvests.
Pest reduction is a very useful benefit of companion planting. It is achieved by several mechanisms. These include:
Crops that pests love can act as pest traps and cause them to stay away from the rest of the plants in your garden. An example of this is nasturtium, which attracts the common pests of cabbage towards itself, thereby protecting the crop from getting eaten.
- Serving as Decoys
Some plants can act as decoys to confuse the pests and ultimately drive them off. For instance, clover serves as a decoy when grown around cabbage. Its smell and appearance confuse the pest (root fly), and it fails to lay eggs on cabbage leaves as a result.
- Repelling Pests
Plants that emit offensive smells can help to ward off certain pests. This is the case with marigold flowers, which emit a smell that repels aphids, thus protecting nearby plants from damage.
Flowers attract bees and other insects to them. These can act as pollinators for several other plants in your garden.
Companion plants that produce high amounts of pollen can help attract beneficial insects. These act as predators for several harmful pests.
Providing Shade or Windbreak
Tall plants or plants with spread out foliage can provide shade and windbreak to shorter plants. An example of this is the shade provided to carrots by tomato plants.
Retaining Soil Moisture
Underground vegetables or root vegetables are effective at retaining moisture in the soil around them. This is very useful for any plant growing nearby.
Bonus Read: Companion Planting Chart (Guide)
Such remarkable advantages make companion planting a highly useful technique for gardening enthusiasts. Having your backyard blooming with roses accompanied by beneficiary plants is a must if you want to enjoy good yields.
The Right Time and Method to Add Companion Plants Near Roses
It is advisable to wait for a few seasons after you have planted roses in your garden to begin adding companion plants alongside them. This is because young roots need to gather the maximum nutrition and moisture out of the soil for their proper growth and spread.
In the presence of other plants nearby, there will be competition for the same resources and their growth might stutter. Ideally, you should wait for at least two years after planting roses to begin companion planting.
As for the method of planting, it will vary with what you choose to grow next to your roses. In all cases, the one thing you should remember is that roses do not like too much competition. So, it is recommended to plant any vegetation or flowers at least thirty centimeters away from them.
What to Look For In Companion Plants For Roses?
Roses are mostly grown for their ornamental value. So, it is important to grow such companion plants that help in boosting qualities that add to their appeal. Here are some things that any potential companion plant should accomplish for it to be a suitable neighboring candidate:
Improve the Aesthetics of the Garden
Roses do not remain in bloom throughout the year. This is why it is advantageous to plant brightly colored flowers or foliages surrounding them. Not only will this extend the flowering season but also highlight the beauty of your rose plantation.
Hide the Stems of Roses
Roses tend to lose their lower leaves, resulting in a bare-legged appearance after a while. Compared to a bushy patch of garden, this sparse look doesn’t seem appealing. For this reason, gardeners select companion plants that grow around the bottom parts of roses and hide their naked stems from view.
Require the Same Conditions for Growth
This goes without saying. Neighboring plants that require similar nutrients, soil moisture, temperature, and such are likely to be easy to grow alongside your rose plants.
Deter the Growth of Pests
Plants that act as pest repellants, either due to their smell or substances released by them, are valuable as companion plants for roses.
What to Plant with Roses?: Companion Plants for Roses
The following plants can be grown as companion plants for roses:
When it comes to companion planting, garlic is a favorite among gardeners because of its efficient insect-repelling properties. It deters bothersome pests like aphids, snails, spider mites, Japanese beetles, and ants. This could be due to the volatile oils released by the plant which confuses pests.
Not only that, but there are several other points in garlic’s favor too. For one, it helps to stave off fungal growth. Another benefit is that it doesn’t take up much space and thus can be grown closely-knit with neighboring plants. Also, it is a hardy plant and grows well in most conditions.
All this clearly shows that growing garlic in your backyard garden next to rose bushes is a great way to help the flowers bloom.
Onions make great companion plants for roses. Their underground bulbs take up very little space in a garden patch. Moreover, they are a good source of living mulch to help the soil retain its moisture and nutrients.
Some researches indicate that onions might increase the fragrance of roses.
Bonus Read: Onion Companion Plants to Plan Your Garden.
Chives are herbs related to the onion family and, similar to them, help to increase the fragrance of roses when planted nearby. Chives are also exceptionally great additions to any kitchen garden. Their edible flowers, as well as leaves, infuse flavor into salads and dishes aplenty.
Growing them in your garden as companion plants for roses will give your garden a balanced mix of color and flavor.
Allium flowers or ornamental alliums are perennial (growing for several seasons) flowers that have a purple hue. When grown next to red roses, they offer a striking contrast, while growing them next to the white-colored variety will make your garden look like a winter wonderland.
Aside from the beautiful looks of the plant, its other benefits are similar to those of other members of the same family, such as garlic and onions.
Parsley looks great and tastes great as well. Its rumpled leaves are pretty to behold in all their glory. In addition to this, it wards off harmful pests from coming near rose bushes. Thus, underplanting it with roses is a very useful option.
Flowers such as lavender have been suggested to grow as companion plants for roses. They repel aphids and when in bloom, serve up a pretty picture in your backyard garden.
The leaves emit a scent that drives pests away. Additionally, the smell of lavender mixed with that of roses will make your backyard a fragrant place to be. Lavender is also capable of hiding the leafless lower parts of rose bushes and thus is an ideal companion plant for roses.
The perennial aromatic herb catmint or Nepeta is a great match for roses. It grows in beautiful clusters of lavender colored flowers and foliages of a gray-green shade.
Besides looking beautiful, this plant also serves to efficiently hide the bare knees of your rose bushes.
Geraniums are brightly-colored flowering plants that can raise the visual appeal of any garden or backyard. When you plant them near rose bushes, they additionally help to keep bugs away.
Scented geraniums repel pests and also help to attract pollinators.
Low-Growing Spring Bulbs
Roses do not bear flowers all through the year and when they aren’t in bloom your garden will look drained of color and liveliness. To tackle this problem, you can underplant your roses with low-growing spring bulbs such as snowdrops and hyacinths.
They can be grown along the borders of your rose patches and can provide color to your garden even in late winter.
Tomatoes are a staple of many savory dishes, and as such, are an extremely useful plant to grow in your backyard. Tomatoes can also be interplanted with rose bushes. They help to prevent black spots on the flowers while their brightly-colored fruits look great alongside any hue of roses.
Planning to Grow Tomatoes? See these 12 Tomato Growing Secrets To Grow Big Yields.
Other Plants You Can Grow With Roses
Some other useful companion plants for roses are four o’clock, sage, thyme, feverfew, yarrow, oregano, coriander, mint, garlic chives, marigolds, dianthus, verbena, petunia, summer-snapdragon, rue, wormwood, and larkspur.
Plants to Avoid Growing Near Roses
Plants that grow aggressively, take up too much space, or provide no gardening value in companionship with roses aren’t suitable for growing with these eye-catching flowers. Examples of such plants are:
- Morning glories
- California poppy
- Autumn clematis
- Trumpet honeysuckle
Roses grow well on their own, but to enhance their qualities and to help them blossom without being damaged by pests you have to look for additional solutions. While chemical fertilizers can achieve these targets, a natural and efficient way to do the same things is companion planting.
Companion plants will not only complement the beauty of the roses in your garden but also help in pest control. Not to mention, they can boost the fragrance and hide the bare legs of rose bushes.
In this article, we have discussed the benefits of companion planting and listed companion plants for roses. These will give your rose blooms a favorable and beautiful company and enhance the visual appeal of your garden.