The ever-blooming nature and disease resistance of Knock Out roses are leading gardeners to use more roses in their landscapes. The Knock Out rose family's homepage recommends planting them with annuals, perennials and shrubs, but creative gardeners have come up with other companions.
Annual Bedding Plants
You can soften the original cherry red Knock Outs with frothy pale blooms, such as Love-in-a Mist, or cheer them on with bold, bright marigolds or zinnias. Karen Dardick, of the San Diego Union-Tribune, featured the pink Knock Outs with Blue Wave petunias. Cleomes, dianthus and salvias are other flowering annual companions, or try foliage plants, such as sun-loving coleus.
Perennials make more permanent companions for your Knock Out roses. Use low-growing perennial geraniums to fill in as ground cover, or include larger-flowered perennials. Tall, bearded irises in dark, solid colors or white Shasta daisies provide pleasing contrast to the solid masses of blooms the Knock Out roses produce.
Shrubs as Knock Out companions need not be bland background greenery. Virginia Cooperative Extension suggests dwarf palmettos, which provide spiky foliage and winter interest. These are hardy to U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zone 7.
Herbs and Vegetables
Some gardeners grow colorful lettuces under their roses or interplant roses with perennial herbs, such as thyme, or annual herbs, such as purple-leafed basil.
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