Underplanting Roses

Companion Plants and Ground Covers.

We are often asked what can be planted beneath or in front of roses, and the plants used fall into two categories, companion plants and ground cover plants, so here are a few ideas.

Firstly, roses do not like too much competition around the root system, so smaller bulbs, annuals and small perennials all of those with shallow root systems are best suited.

For Ground Cover Plants Beneath Roses Try:

Dianthus for Underplanting Roses
Dianthus for Underplanting Roses
  • Low growing Dianthus
  • Pansies
  • Delphinium
  • Candytuft
  • Primulas
  • Nepeta (Catmint) Walkers Blue
  • Stachys (Lambs Ears)
  • Lavender, making sure you plant it away from the base.
  • Artemisia, (Wormwood) especially the lower growing types such as’Quicksilver’ and Artemisia ludoviciana
  • Marigolds
  • Lady’s Mantle
  • Scabiosa
  • Allium – The low growing types are best

Bulbs such as

  • Galanthus
  • Narcissus especially the Hooped Petticoat and dwarf types.
  • Crocus
  • Erythronium

However it is best to plant any of these companion plants around 35 cm back from the base of the plant. This minimises root disturbance.

For Companion Plants Beneath Roses Consider

Companion plants are those that can benefit rose health by helping to repel insect pests can add colour and also be beneficial.

  • Geraniums repel a range of insect pests.
  • Marigolds help control nematodes in the soil and other pests as well.

Herbs can work well and many also help repel insects. Try these

  • Oregano
  • Mint (Although mint can be a little invasive)
  • Thyme especially the creeping varieties such as Jekkas Thyme.
  • Sweet Basil.
  • Alliums – Chives.

Plants To Avoid planting with Roses

Stay away from plants with spreading and aggressive root systems in the long term.

  • Clivia
  • Daylilies
  • Hellebores
  • Agapanthus.

Also plants that like shade will not be suited, so Hydrangeas are out.