The 10 Best Companion Plants For Roses

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Learn about the benefits of companion plants for roses with this informative guide. Discover how selecting the right companions can improve the health and beauty of your rose garden. This article is tailored for gardening enthusiasts, particularly those interested in cultivating healthy and vibrant rose gardens. It caters to individuals seeking to enhance their gardening skills and knowledge by exploring the benefits of companion planting.

Rose bushes in bloom fill the frame.


Incorporating companion plants into your rose garden has numerous benefits. Not only do they add visual interest, but they also serve practical purposes. By carefully selecting the right companions, you can repel pests, attract beneficial insects for pollination, and provide shade or support for your roses. Whether you want to make a vibrant floral display or cultivate a sustainable and eco-friendly cut flower garden, companion planting offers endless possibilities for enhancing the beauty and vitality of your rose garden.

Table of Contents

    The Best Companion Plants for Roses

    Verify that all the below plants grow well in your growing zone and region before planting. You will also want to ensure that the plants you add to your garden are not invasive in your area.

    Plants to pair with roses:

    Lavender

    Lavender serves as an excellent companion for roses due to its dual functionality. Its fragrant aroma is a natural deterrent to pests like mosquitoes, moths, and flies. While also attracting beneficial pollinators such as bees and butterflies, promoting a healthier ecosystem in the garden.

    Thriving in full sun and well-drained soil, lavender requires minimal maintenance, making it an ideal choice for planting near roses. Its compatibility with various rose types, particularly hybrid tea and floribunda roses, ensures versatility in garden design and pest management strategies.

    Bright violet lavender flowers in full bloom against a light green background.  The image is intended to give an example of the types of plants that make good companions for roses.

    Catmint

    Catmint’s low-maintenance nature and pest-deterring properties make it a valuable companion for roses. This plant effectively repels aphids, a common pest that can damage roses, and attracts essential pollinators like bees and butterflies.

    Thriving in full sun to partial shade and well-draining soil, catmint complements a wide range of rose varieties, including floribunda and shrub roses. Its vibrant blue/purple flowers create a visually appealing contrast when planted alongside pink roses.

    Bright purple and blue catmint plants. The image is intended to give an example of the types of plants that make good companions for roses.

    Salvia

    Salvia adds visual appeal to the garden with its striking spire-like blooms and serves as an effective pest repellent for roses. Its aromatic foliage deters pests like aphids and spider mites while attracting beneficial hummingbirds and butterflies, contributing to a balanced ecosystem.

    With a preference for full sun and well-draining soil, salvia thrives in similar growing conditions as many rose varieties, including hybrid tea and grandiflora roses. Regular pruning promotes new growth and flowering, ensuring continuous pest management and aesthetic benefits throughout the growing season.

    Tall bright purple spires of salvia flowers in full bloom. The image is intended to give an example of the types of plants that make good companions for roses.

    Geraniums

    Geraniums offer both pest control and pollinator attraction benefits, making them an ideal companion for roses. These colorful flowers repel Japanese beetles, a common rose pest, while attracting bees to the garden, aiding in pollination.

    Preferring full sun to partial shade and well-draining soil, geraniums complement various rose types, including floribunda and miniature roses. Regular deadheading encourages new blooms, ensuring a continuous display of vibrant flowers and effective pest management throughout the growing season.

    Geranium flowering plants with buds, group of ornamental pink cranesbill flowers in bloom and buds in the garden, green leaves and stems.

    Marigolds

    Marigolds are prized companions for roses due to their pest-repelling properties and vibrant blooms. These cheerful flowers deter pests like aphids and whiteflies, which can damage roses while adding a pop of color to the garden.

    Thriving in full sun and well-draining soil, marigolds are drought-tolerant and require minimal maintenance, making them an excellent low-maintenance option for companion planting with hybrid tea and groundcover roses. Their edible flowers add versatility to garden design while providing effective pest management benefits.

    A bed of marigolds in full bloom.

    Alliums

    Alliums offer multifaceted benefits as companions for roses. Their strong scent repels pests like aphids, while their flowers attract beneficial insects such as ladybugs and lacewings, which help control other garden pests.

    Thriving in full sun to partial shade and well-draining soil, alliums are adaptable and complement various rose types, including climbing and shrub roses.

    Chive flowers in full bloom.

    Nasturtiums

    Nasturtiums are also prized companions for roses due to their rapid growth, bug-repelling properties, and pollinator attraction. These fast-growing plants deter pests like aphids and beetles while attracting beneficial pollinators.

    Thriving in full sun to partial shade and well-draining soil, nasturtiums are drought-tolerant and require minimal watering. This makes them an ideal low-maintenance option for underplanting with floribunda and groundcover roses. While they offer numerous benefits, gardeners should be cautious in areas prone to flea beetle challenges, as growing nasturtiums may exacerbate this issue.

    Just a little note here, and this comes from our readers – some of our readers have found that nasturtiums have created flea beetle challenges in their gardens. If flea beetles are challenging in the zone and growing area, avoid nasturtiums, as you will be trading one problem for another.

    Brilliant yellow and orange nasturtium flowers.

    Yarrow

    Yarrow is a versatile companion for roses, providing pest control and aesthetic benefits. Its long blooming season attracts beneficial ladybugs and lacewings, which help control pests, while its delicate flowers enhance the garden’s beauty.

    Thriving in full sun to partial shade and well-draining soil, yarrow is drought-tolerant and requires minimal watering once established. Suitable for companion planting with shrub and groundcover roses, yarrow’s compatibility with various rose types ensures flexibility in garden design and pest management strategies.

    Bright pink flowering yarrow.  The image is intended to show what plants make good companions for roses.

    Oregano

    Oregano is a flavorful and functional companion for roses, offering pest control benefits and culinary appeal. Its aromatic foliage repels pests like aphids, spider mites, and cabbage moths, contributing to a healthier garden ecosystem.

    Thriving in full sun and well-draining soil, oregano is drought-tolerant and requires minimal watering once established. Best suited for companion planting with hybrid tea and grandiflora roses, oregano’s compatibility with roses adds practical and aesthetic value to the garden.

    Oregano flowers in bloom.

    Clematis

    Clematis provides shade, pest control, and pollinator attraction benefits, making it an excellent companion for roses, especially climbing and shrub varieties. Its vigorous growth habit shades the soil, reducing weed competition and conserving moisture for roses. Additionally, clematis repels pests like Japanese beetles and attracts bees, enhancing the garden’s pest management and pollination efforts.

    Thriving in full sun to partial shade and well-draining soil, clematis requires structural support for climbing. It complements various rose types, adding vertical interest and beauty to the garden landscape.

    Flowering clematis climbing over a garden fence.

    Plants You Should Avoid Placing Near Roses

    Certain plants can harm roses and should not be planted near them. Here are some plants that you should avoid planting near roses:

    Black Walnut – The roots of black walnut trees release a toxic substance called juglone that can harm roses and many other plants. So it’s best to keep roses away from black walnut trees.

    Brassicas – This family of plants includes cabbage, broccoli, and kale, and they attract aphids and other pests that can also harm roses. Avoid planting these plants near your roses.

    Grapes & Raspberries – Japanese beetles are a common pest that can cause significant damage to roses, and they also love grapes and raspberries. It’s best to grow these plants away from one another.

    Boxwood – Boxwood is a host plant for the boxwood leafminer, which can also infest roses. Avoid planting boxwood near your roses. I often see rose gardens rimmed with boxwoods, and although the pairing looks beautiful, it can lead to a heavy leaf miner infestation. 

    Healthy robust red shrub roses in full bloom.

    Expert Tips

    Best Practices for Planting Companion Plants For Roses:

    1. Assess Rose Needs: Before selecting companion plants, carefully consider the specific requirements of your roses, including sunlight and watering needs. Choose companions with similar preferences to ensure harmonious growth and overall garden health.
    2. Define Desired Benefits: Determine the primary benefits you seek from companion plants, whether it’s pest control, pollinator attraction, or aesthetic enhancement. Select plants that align with these objectives to maximize the effectiveness of your garden design.
    3. Seasonal Blooms: Opt for companion plants with blooming seasons that complement your roses, providing continuous color and visual interest throughout the year. This strategic selection ensures your garden remains vibrant and captivating across different seasons.
    4. Consider Growth Habits: Research the growth habits of potential companion plants to avoid competition with roses for essential resources such as water, nutrients, and sunlight. Choose plants that complement rather than overpower your roses, promoting balanced growth and vitality.

    Common Mistakes to Avoid:

    1. Mismatched Growing Conditions: Avoid selecting companion plants with incompatible growing conditions, as this can lead to poor growth and diminished health for both the roses and companions. Prioritize plants that share similar environmental preferences for optimal results.
    2. Overcrowding: Resist the temptation to overcrowd your garden with too many companion plants, as this can result in resource competition and stunted growth. Maintain adequate spacing between plants to allow sufficient airflow and light penetration, fostering optimal conditions for growth.
    3. Beware of Invasive Species: Exercise caution when choosing companion plants to avoid inadvertently introducing invasive species that can overrun your garden and harm native flora. Research the invasive potential of plants and select non-invasive alternatives to safeguard your garden’s ecological balance.
    4. Neglecting Maintenance: Ensure proper care and maintenance of companion plants to prevent pest infestations, disease outbreaks, and unsightly appearances. Regular watering, pruning, and monitoring for signs of stress or disease are essential for maintaining healthy and thriving companion plants in your rose garden.

    FAQ

    What are companion plants for roses?

    Companion plants for roses are plants strategically chosen to grow alongside roses to enhance their health, beauty, and overall garden ecosystem. These plants often provide pest control, attract beneficial insects, offer structural support, or add aesthetic appeal to the garden.

    Why are companion plants beneficial for roses?

    Companion plants offer a range of benefits for roses, including natural pest control by repelling harmful insects, attracting beneficial pollinators, providing shade and structural support, and adding visual interest to the garden landscape. Additionally, companion plants can help create a balanced ecosystem, promoting the overall health and vitality of roses.

    Which companion plants are best for deterring pests from roses?

    Several companion plants, such as lavender, catmint, marigolds, and nasturtiums, are known for their pest-repelling properties. These plants emit scents or contain compounds that deter common rose pests like aphids, Japanese beetles, and whiteflies, reducing the need for chemical pesticides.

    Can I plant any type of flower or herb with roses?

    While many flowers and herbs can be planted alongside roses as companions, it’s essential to consider compatibility in terms of growing conditions, blooming seasons, and growth habits. Select companion plants that have similar sunlight, water, and soil requirements to ensure harmonious growth and avoid competition with roses.

    Are there companion plants that can provide shade and support for climbing roses?

    Yes, plants like clematis and certain varieties of climbing roses can provide shade and structural support for climbing roses. These plants can be trained to grow alongside climbing roses, offering shade to the soil, reducing weed competition, and enhancing the vertical aesthetic of the garden landscape.

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    Final Remarks

    Incorporating companion plants into your rose garden can significantly enhance its health, beauty, and overall ecosystem. By carefully selecting compatible companions and following best practices, you can create a vibrant and balanced garden that thrives with minimal intervention. Embrace companion planting to unlock the full potential of your rose garden. Go ahead and cultivate a flourishing landscape that delights the senses and nurtures the soul.


    We’d love to hear from you! Share your experiences, tips, and favorite companion plants for roses in the comments below. Have questions or need further advice? Feel free to email us or reach out on social media. Your stories and insights not only enrich our community but also inspire fellow gardeners on their journey to create thriving gardens! We’re all in this together.

    Author: Laura Kennedy

    Writer & Owner of Little Yellow Wheelbarrow

    Laura is a highly skilled gardener and fervent flower enthusiast. Despite her playful battle with plant spacing guidelines, Laura’s work inspires gardeners to create thriving, beautiful spaces that reflect both creativity and sustainability.

    Editors Note: This article first appeared on april 17th, 2023. The post was updated on March 1st, 2024 to include FAQ and expert tips as well as additional information for planting advice and advice for partnering with what type of roses as requested by readers.

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