Thursday, January 12, 2023

12 Rose Companion Plants


These 12 plants either look great with roses, thrive in the same conditions, or help your roses out somehow – perfect for your traditional or non-traditional rose garden.  

1. Lavender

Lavender and roses are a classic pair, often planted close together. The short purple spires of lavender offset the tall stems and cupped flowers of roses wonderfully.

Not only that, but they both thrive in the same conditions. Certain rose varieties, like shrub roses and floribunda roses, love soils that drain well, just like lavender. The full sun that gives lavender its fervor is also favored by some rose varieties.

Lavender has some other benefits too. It’s known to repel deer and rabbits and attracts the best pollinators around – bees. Some even suggest they make good host plants for aphids, protecting your roses from that pesky pest.

This addition is easy to care for, needing very little fuss and even less water to thrive. Lavender grows best in USDA Zones 5-9 and as long as they get full sun, they’ll flourish. 

2. Alyssum

Alyssum’s low-growing nature creates a beautiful carpet of soft-colored flowers. When paired with roses, it only looks better.

Like lavender, alyssum grows best in Zones 5-9 and enjoys rich soil with good drainage. Alyssums aren’t huge fans of full sun though, especially in hotter climates. They make a wonderful choice for gardeners living in hot areas and looking to add something to their rose bushes in shadier spots in their garden.

They have a similar smell to honey and when paired with your roses, make the air in your garden irresistible.  

3. Foxgloves

Tall plants also look great with roses – especially foxgloves. When planted together they make a striking pair and create interesting borders along long walkways.

Foxgloves’ tubular flowers bloom in late summer and can be pink, purple, white, and even yellow, a variety of colors that’ll complement any rose.

Foxgloves enjoy a range of light conditions, thriving in some shade and even full sun. Your climate dictates the amount of sunlight foxgloves may need. They’ll enjoy more sun in cooler areas, whereas shade would be ideal in hotter ones.

Foxgloves thrive in USDA Zones 5-9 but can be sensitive to prolonged high temperatures. Soil that drains well will keep foxgloves tall and vibrant alongside your roses.

4. Lady’s Mantle

For traditional cottage gardens covered with roses, lady’s mantle is the perfect perennial pairing. It’s relatively short, forming a ground cover with its small yellow flowers. Even better, it makes for an interesting border plant and is an option if you’re wanting an easy plant to cover the stems of your tall roses.

Lady’s mantle enjoys various light conditions, thriving best in partial shade. It can do well in full sun, but be on the lookout for sunscald. It isn’t too picky about soil, but lady’s mantle is not a fan of waterlogged soil. Well-draining soil of any kind is necessary.

Lady’s mantel adapts to temperature changes well, but will need more shade in hotter climates. It grows best in USDA Zones 3-7.

5. Baby’s Breath

A common sight in many bouquets and floral arrangements is baby’s breath. Its soft white and pink clouds of flowers never grow old in gardens, especially when paired with darker orange and red roses.

Baby’s breath is a good choice for gardeners wanting to create a floral feature in their garden with as little effort as possible. Good drainage (a theme throughout these companion plants) is a must for this hardy perennial.

Baby’s breath requires full sun and doesn’t need a lot of water. It is drought tolerant and handles dry climates better than humid ones (USDA Zones 3-9).

Roses and baby’s breath make a great pair, complimenting each other gracefully in your garden and in cut flower bouquets.

6. Shasta Daisy

Shasta daisies, like roses, are a garden classic, featuring the well-known white flowers with yellow centers. The simplicity of this flower pairs well with the intricacy of roses of any color.

Shasta daisies are hardy in USDA Zones 5 through 9, enjoying full sun and soil that drains well. Long periods of extreme temperatures, hot or cold, stress this somewhat drought tolerant plant. As long as the temperatures remain stable, Shasta daisies are easy plants to care for, needing very little water once they’re established.   

7. Marigolds

Marigolds are the ultimate companion plant. And not just because they look good with roses and share similar needs. They also attract some of the most beneficial insects to your garden.

If you’ve got a vegetable patch nearby, you also won’t regret planting marigolds in your garden. They deter hornworms and prevent root-knot nematodes from taking hold. For roses, marigolds strengthen growth while attracting bees and other pollinators.

The yellow, orange and golden hues add life to rose beds and brighten up any area in your garden. If its charming colors, flowers, and benefits haven’t won you over yet, then one simple fact might – marigolds can grow in almost any climate, from USDA Zones 2 to 11. They are easy to care for, loving full sun and needing water once a week once established.

8. Parsley

A pair that may not be the first to pop into your head are parsley and roses. Not only do they look surprisingly great together, but parsley also has many benefits for roses. Parsley deters many unwanted insects from your roses, including aphids and rose beetles. Even better, this herb may actually enhance the fragrance of your roses.

Parsley grows in a wide variety of climates (USDA Zones 2-11) and isn’t affected by humidity. Parsley enjoys consistently moist soil, well-draining soil. Other than more frequent watering, parsley is easy to care for and will do wonders if added to your garden.

9. Sage

Sage is another herb to opt for if you’re wanting to prevent aphids and beetles from attacking your roses. Much like lavender, sage’s purple blooms create an interesting image when paired with rose bushes.

They too will fill up the gaps created by the long stems of roses, while ensuring your roses remain… well… rosy. Sage thrives in full sun and needs dry, well-drained soil. It is also drought tolerant and won’t grow if overwatered.

Along with deterring a few pests, sage attracts a handful of beneficial insects too. Butterflies, bees, and even hummingbirds are sure to make an appearance in your garden.

If you’re unsure of where to place your sage, it does best as a border plant. In amongst your rose bushes, your path will transform with a touch of sage.

10. Pincushions

A shift back to handsome pairings now. Pincushion flowers are small but interesting, adding some life around the base of roses.

If you’re one for picking flowers and showing them off in your home, pincushions are an excellent choice for your rose bed. Its many colors will pop along the lower half of your rose bushes.

Pincushions are very easy to care for, thriving in temperate climates. Extreme heat, cold, and high humidity are unwelcome though (USDA Zones 3-7). They’re sun lovers, needing plenty of light to give you the show-stopping blooms these plants are known for.

In warmer climates, some afternoon shade may be needed. Once established, pincushions can go without water for some time (depending on the weather), making this flowering plant another easy yet stunning companion for your roses.

11. Snapdragons

Snapdragons are a spring favorite, for gardens and bumblebees alike. Its long, snout-shaped blooms contrast well with the shapes of roses. Snapdragons fill in the gaps, creating an irresistible flower display. Coming in almost every hue, your garden will be filled with colorful floral magic.

To ensure the magical sight, give snapdragons plenty of sun and partial shade in warmer areas. They do best in cooler climates but are hardy in USDA Zones 7-11.

Due to their differing flowering times, you may miss out on seeing the two together, but you will have a touch of summer with you in winter when roses are dormant. They are slightly thirstier than other perennials – but a welcome price to pay for its warm blooms.

12. Alliums

Another interesting companion for your roses are members of the onion family – alliums.

Seasoned rose growers will tell you that pairing members of this family with your roses do wonders. Their strong scent wards off aphids and other pests and many suggest that they prevent black spots on roses.

Garlic and chives are often recommended. Chives’ flowers are a soft white, complementing any rose beautifully. They’re relatively easy to care for, needing full sun and well-draining soil.

For those who would like to continue to showcase the roses, then ornamental onions are the choice for you. You will gain all the benefits of planting a member of the onion family while keeping your rose bush or beds looking marvelous.

Alliums thrive in USDA Zones 4-10 and are native to the middle east. They’re not at all fussy about their soil type, so long as it doesn’t hang on to water. Watering doesn’t need to be frequent, and they’ll appreciate full sun.

What Not To Plant With Roses

Roses thrive in almost any USDA hardiness zone, depending on the variety. They love the sun and need soil that drains well. Roses are also classified heavy feeders, needing nutritious soil lower in nitrogen. Constantly wet roots and soil will lead to a plethora of problems, especially root rot.

With these conditions in mind, there are a few plants not suited to roses:

Bunchberry – needs shade and lots of water to thrive.

Toad lilies – need well-draining soil but do best in full shade.

Leopard plants – have a love for shade and need slightly alkaline soil that is moist.

Fuchsia – shade is a requirement for this plant to thrive, along with rich moist soil.


12 Rose Companion Plants (& What Not To Grow Near Roses)

Monday, December 12, 2022

12 Lavender Companion Plants


The Best Companion Plants for Lavender

1. Echinacea

Echinacea and lavender make a great pairing, and not just because they look stunning next to each other.

They both thrive in very similar conditions, growing best between USDA Zones 3 and 9. Echinaceas, also known as Cone Flowers, need just as much sun and even less water than lavender. They’re considered to be more drought tolerant than their potential partner, so your watering patterns won’t need to change too much.

Just like lavender, echinacea requires soil that drains well to produce its purple blooms. In summer, if you decide to pair these together, you’ll have a stunning purple and lilac display in your garden.

2. Roses

Lavender and roses are a classic, pretty pairing. Shrub roses and floribunda rose varieties are prime choices as companion plants for lavender.

Roses do well in most conditions (USDA Zone 2 – 11), depending on the variety you choose. Rose bushes thrive in loamy, well-draining soil. Leave a good amount of space between the two plants though, as roses are a bit thirstier than lavender, needing water at least twice a week.

3. Yarrow

Yarrow is a perennial that makes a great partner for lavender. Interestingly, it falls under a group of hardy plants that thrive in poor soil.

This pretty plant is often considered a weed because it overgrows and spreads almost uncontrollably when planted in nutrient-rich soils. Soil on the sandier side that drains well aids in controlling this growth.

Full sun is necessary for a healthy yarrow plant, so planting it alongside your lavender won’t be an issue. Further, the pairing will do wonders for the colors in your garden. Yarrow’s small yellow flowers will complement the soft purple of lavender when they bloom in late summer.

4. Sedum

For a companion plant that’ll look great with your lavenders, consider upright sedum (Stone Crop). You can’t go wrong pairing its various colors – including red, white, and pink – with your lavender.

This border plant thrives in full sun and requires sandy, rocky soil that drains exceptionally well. Sedum can grow in USDA Zones 3 through to 10 and is just as low maintenance as lavender. It requires water at least once a week to keep the soil slightly moist.

Full sun is a must, but it will tolerate some shade. If there is a shady spot close to your lavender that needs filling, sedum is the perfect option. Sedum flowers bloom in summer and fall, continuing the spectacle in your garden when the lavender season ends.

5. Alliums

If landscaping is a passion, then pairing alliums with lavender is ideal. Allium’s tall bulbs complement the short lavender blooms beautifully. This is another drought-tolerant plant that does well in Zones 4-8.

Alliums and lavender can be paired together along borders or in pots, creating interesting height variations. Both need full sun, little water, and sandy soil – you won’t have to worry about planting them in the same beds or pots.  

6. African Daisy

African Daisies have the same basic attributes as the common daisies we all know and love. However, they are more unique, with vibrant coloring (some varieties are even bi-colored) that looks almost hand-dyed.

They make great companion plants for lavenders as they thrive in similar conditions (USDA 9-11) and require very little care. They need full sun, well-draining soil, and some water once a week.

This pretty flower blooms throughout spring, summer, and fall, keeping your garden bright, even during lavender’s off-season. You can’t go wrong with this simple, yet stunning companion plant for your lavender.

7. Zinnia

A truly hardy annual to consider are zinnias. Zinnias have a full spectrum of flower colors to choose from. Whether you opt for pink, white, red, or lavender purple, you can be sure that they’ll look great alongside your lavenders.

Not only that, but they’ll thrive alongside lavender too. Not fearing humidity or heat and loving full sun and soil on the dry side, you can be sure that zinnias will make a great companion for your lavender.

8. Gaillardia

Gaillardia, also known as the Blanket Flower, is another daisy-like flower sure to look great in your garden with lavender. The burnt reds, oranges, and yellows of these blooms bring life to subdued hues of lavender, creating an interesting color spectrum in your garden.

They love full sun and aren’t too fussed about soil, as long as it drains well. Blooming annually throughout summer and fall, you won’t be disappointed adding gaillardias to your lavender beds.

9. Rosemary

Rosemary and lavender are another classic pair. Both have roots in the rocky hillsides of the Mediterranean and enjoy climates on the warm side. If you’re looking to expand your herb garden that already has well-established lavender, Rosemary is one of your best options.

This herb grows best in Zones 9 to 11 and needs just as much sun and water as lavender. Both can be planted together as a pair of companion plants to benefit the rest of your garden. Rosemary and lavender attract a variety of pollinators and deter rabbits and deer.

Note that rosemary is not as cold tolerant as lavender, so if you live in a cooler climate, another companion may be necessary.

10. Thyme

For a cold-hardy option, thyme is your go-to. Originating in the Mediterranean, it thrives in sandy, dry soil, and hot climates, just like lavender and rosemary. Its hardiness zones are 5 through 9, so it’s not as temperature-sensitive as rosemary.

The herb becomes dormant when the first frost hits, but if you manage to protect it, thyme can survive the winter. If colder weather is not a concern, thyme does extremely well when planted near lavender, enjoying the full sun and the occasional watering.

The pair complement each other in looks too. Thyme makes a cute ground covering plant with its paler purple flowers that will look great alongside your lavender patch.

11. Sage

Sage is another herb that thrives in conditions that lavender favors. No matter the variety, sage will thrive in hot climates, sandy, well-draining soil with little water or fuss.

Sage grows best in Zones 5-11. Thyme, sage, and lavender make a great group for planting together, especially in pots or containers. This herb has several purposes, from culinary to medicinal. Even better, it looks fantastic as a decorative border plant.

12. Oregano

Increasing the spice in your life is important. So is adding multipurpose plants and herbs to your garden. By planting oregano, you get two benefits in one.

While it has fantastic uses in the kitchen, this delicious herb can be used as a companion plant, not just for lavender, but for a variety of other plants. Oregano is easy to care for, ideal as a ground cover or an edging plant. It does well in some shade, but largely loves the sun and thrives in dry soil.

If lavender isn’t drawing as many bees as you’d like, oregano is your answer. No matter your need or purpose, lavender and oregano make a great pairing for your garden.

What Not to Plant With Lavender

1. Mint

While we’re on the topic of herbs, let’s chat about one that just won’t do near your lavender – mint.

Mint is unsurprisingly a popular herb to grow. It grows easily, has many benefits and uses, and it smells great. Further, it’s quite a hardy little herb, with various varieties enjoying cold and hot climates. Mint generally does best in USDA zones 3-11.

Unfortunately, though, mint’s needs are incompatible with those of lavender. Mint needs rich, moist soil, completely opposed to that of lavender. While it can’t stand soggy soil, mint is extremely thirsty and requires plenty of water to flourish – much more than your lavender will stand.

2. Camellias

There are many flowers that may have the potential to look fantastic with lavender. Camellias are one of them. These peony-like flowers can bloom in so many beautiful colors – red, white, pink, and yellow to name but a few.

In an arrangement, they complement lavender stunningly. Unfortunately, like mint, their needs are far too incompatible.

Camellias grow best in Zones 7 to 9, matching that of lavender. However, the main issues are the camellia’s light and water needs. This flowering shrub won’t enjoy the six hours of direct sunlight lavender needs, and it needs plenty of water to keep the soil constantly moist.

3. Hostas

A favorite easy-going perennial with stunning foliage is the hosta. Hostas can grow across many climates and aren’t too particular about temperature or humidity. They can thrive in USDA Zones 3 all the way through to 11.

Hosta’s foliage is sought after – one of the main reasons they’re added to gardens. This shrub-like perennial is easy to care for, needing very little water and rich but well-draining soil. Its flowers and foliage may look great with your lavender too.

However, the pair sadly can’t grow together, even though it seems like they should. Hosta’s survive best in shade or dappled light – full sun is a definite no-go.

4. Impatiens

Impatiens are beautiful flowering perennials guaranteed to spruce up your garden. The brightly colored flowers and easy-to-care-for nature make this a highly sought-after plant across the world.

You may be hoping to surround your lavender with impatiens’ stunning pinks, whites, deep purples, and reds, yellow, and coral. And it’s sure to make a statement in your garden. But, while both need well-draining soil, that’s where their similarities end.

Impatiens need shade – light to full shade – to thrive. They are also quite sensitive to higher temperatures, needing plenty of water in warmer months and areas.


12 Lavender Companion Plants (& 4 Plants To Grow Nowhere Near)