What to plant with roses

Amateur Gardening|May 23, 2020

What to plant with roses
With peak rose season only a few weeks away, get some gorgeous companion plants in the ground now to complement those blooms, says Sally Jenner
Sally Jenner

Roses and delphiniums are cottage garden classics that work well together, providing contrast in shape and helping you create pleasing colour combinations

WITH beautiful blooms that provide a breathtaking display, many gardeners tend to think of roses as standalone plants, and see no need to grow anything around them. However, they are missing a trick as planting a few thoughtfully chosen perennials nearby can actually enhance the appeal of your roses, and keep the show going long after their flowers have faded.

It’s not just about looks: growing roses on their own is also an open invitation to pests such as aphids. Growing lots of different flowers will create a healthier ecosystem and attract beneficial insects (the likes of hoverflies) to help keep pest populations in check. Low-mounding companion plants such as alchemilla, lavender and nepeta are prime candidates as they’ll hide the rose’s ugly lower stems, while taller perennials like delphiniums and foxgloves provide a lovely backdrop. Then there are mid-height options – Geranium ‘Brookside’ and Gypsophila ‘Rosenschleier’, for example; these will mingle nicely with shrub roses, creating a tapestry of colour and pattern. Try to incorporate contrasting flower shapes – the spires of Verbascum chaixii or Veronicastrum ‘Fascination’, say – or those that will echo the ‘roundness’ of the roses, like marguerites and cosmos.

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May 23, 2020