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What to Plant With Roses

Updated on April 30, 2013

There are many plants that make great companions for roses. Whether you are looking for a match that is aesthetically pleasing or just want diversity, beginning with roses is a great way to build the perfect garden.

Companion planting frees the gardener from the formality found in many rose gardens. Immaculate and symmetrical displays are not always suitable for our needs or conducive to the yard of the average homeowner. Roses may the ideal choice in this case because they are simply deciduous flowering shrubs. They can be incorporated into a variety of landscapes and can be paired in virtually endless combinations.

Naturally, as with all things in nature, roses get along with some but not with others. In general, they do not like to compete for nutrients, sunlight, or water. This means you should avoid plant that might crowd or over shade your roses. Instead, look for perennials or grasses that stay contained and do not aggressively spread beyond their boundaries.

How to Pick a Rose Companion

The first step in choosing companions for your roses is to decide your garden's goal. Are you simply looking for a beautiful arrangement? Are you trying to attract a certain insect, bird, or other animal? Are you attempting to extend your flowering season? Are you looking for a natural pest control? Knowing the answer to these questions can go a long way to helping you decide just what to plant next. To ensure success with companion planting your roses consider these tips:

  • Companions should be planed 12-18 inches away from roses to avoid disturbing the roots
  • Companions should have similar growing requirements.
  • Avoid aggressive plants that may over shade, compete with, or crowd your roses

Rose Companions for Pest Control

if you are considering companion planting for pest control, there a many choices that will work with your roses.

  • Onion - repels weevils, moles, and aphids
  • Chives - repels many pests
  • Garlic - reples thrips and aphids. Also helps with black spots and mildew
  • Basil - repels aphids, mosquitoes, and moles
  • Marigold - reples pests and traps slugs. Discourages nematodes
  • Mint - repels ants and aphids
  • Tansy - repels flying insects
  • Tomato - protects roses from black spots
  • Geranium - repels Japanese beetles, rose beetles, and aphids

Long-Lasting Cut Flowers

  • Baby’s Breath (Gypsophila)
  • Bellflower (Campanula)
  • Black-Eyed Susan
  • Carnation
  • Coneflower (Echinacea)
  • Coralbells (Heuchera)
  • Cosmos
  • Globe Thistle (Echinops)
  • Goldenrod (Solidago)
  • Japanese Anenome
  • Larkspur (Delphinium)
  • Lilac
  • Peony (Paeonia)
  • Peruvian Lily (Alstroemeria)
  • Shasta Daisy/Mums
  • Speedwell (Veronica)
  • Stock
  • Yarrow (Achillea)


  • Arctic Beauty Kiwi Vine
  • Black-Eyed Susan Vine
  • Bleeding Heart Glorybower
  • Clematis
  • Mandevilla
  • Moonflower Vine
  • Passion Vine (short varieties)
  • Rose Jasmine
  • Sweet Peas
  • Variegated Porcelain Vine

Other Companion Plants for Roses

Long-Blooming Perennials

  • Aster (Aster)
  • Bellflower (Campanula)
  • Black-Eyed Susan
  • Blanket Flower (Gaillardia)
  • Catmint (Nepeta)
  • Cone Flower (Echinacea)
  • Cornflower (Centaurea)
  • Evening Primrose (Gaura)
  • Foxglove (Digitalis)
  • Gayfeather (Liatris)
  • Garden Phlox
  • Giant Hyssop (Agastache)
  • Lady’s Mantle (Alchemilla)
  • Lavender (Lavandula)
  • Lilies
  • Pincushion Flower (Scabiosa)
  • Pinks (Dianthus)
  • Red Hot Poker (Kniphofia)
  • Red Valerian (Centranthus)
  • Sage (Salvia)
  • Sea Thrift (Armeria)
  • Speedwell (Veronica)
  • Stonecrop (Sedum)
  • Tickseed (Coreopsis)
  • Violets (Viola)
  • Yarrow (Achillea)



  • Alyssum
  • Angelonia
  • Heliotrope
  • Lantana
  • Lobelia
  • Pansies
  • Petunias/Million Bells
  • Scented Geranium
  • Snapdragon
  • Verbena

Colorful Companions

  • Artemesia ‘Guihzo’
  • Artemisia ‘Silver Mound’
  • Black Mondo Grass
  • Brunnera ‘Jack Frost’
  • Cimicifuga ‘Brunnette’
  • Dicentra ‘Gold Heart’
  • Dusty Miller
  • Eupatorium ‘Chocolate’
  • Euphorbia ‘Purpurea’
  • Fancy-Leaved Geraniums
  • Heuchera ‘Crimson Curls’
  • Heuchera ‘Lime Rickey’
  • Hostas
  • Lamb’s Ears (Stachys)
  • Lavender Cotton (Santolina)
  • Lobelia ‘Queen Victoria’
  • Physocarpus ‘Diablo’
  • Russian Sage (Perovskia)
  • Sambucus ‘Black Beauty
  • Senecio greyii
  • Sedum ‘Cape Blanco’
  • Sedum makinoi ‘Ogon’
  • Sedum ‘Vera Jameson’
  • Smokebush (Cotinus)
  • Spiraea ‘Goldmound’


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    • Marie Flint profile image

      Marie Flint 3 years ago from Jacksonville, Florida USA

      The front flower bed had two roses growing there. A third rose plant was just outside the framed area. What's unusual about this bed is that the two back plants have a trellis over them. I don't know why the previous gardener-owner did this because rose like full sun.

      In addition, I planted three new rose bushes in this area. One bush was given to us by a friend, and I purchased the other two.

      Lantana grows thickly in this area, which is not that spacious. The lantana, by the way, seems to be perennial, not annual--the bushes stay, and these seem to dominate the area.

      Summer snaps (2 plants) also grow in this area. I had some pink dianthus, but it died. The soil is sandy, so I have to mulch and feed the plants, especially the roses.

      I do get nice blooms in the spring, but the blooming period doesn't go through the entire summer or year.

      I do cut the roses back about a third in the spring. The two older plants are the single-rose-type variety and grow very tall.

      I can see how at least one plant of the dusty miller would look nice in this area.

      Thank you for sharing. You have given me some new ideas to consider. Voted useful.

    • blueheron profile image

      Sharon Vile 3 years ago from Odessa, MO

      I like blue flowers with roses, since they really set off rose colors in the pink and red range: Delphiniums, dame's rocket, blue balloon flowers, blue lisianthus, blue salvia, blue pansies, etc. A lot of people like plants with white foliage, such as Dusty Miller, with roses. I don't actually DO this, despite being a rose lover.