The Best Companion Plants for Roses


Roses show best when grouped with the right companion plants. Companion plants, by their size, shape and placement, create a focal point of the roses. Low-growing plants create a horizontal line that draws the eye to them. In addition, roses are more disease resistant when grouped with plants with different insect- and fungus-repellent qualities. Color is a critical element in selecting rose companions. Plant types, such as shrubs and annuals, should be selected for color as well as form.


  • Blue is one of the best color companion roses. English gardens often have blue flower as companions to roses. Blue delphinium, a tall perennial with a long, lush flower head, is one of the better choices as is the easier-to-grow annual the larkspur, which is available in several shades of blue. Blue Hill and Blue Queen salvias are other good blue companions.

Silver and Lavender

  • Plants with silver foliage combine well with roses. Cat mint (Nepeta faassenii) is a classic companion. With blue flowers blooming in June and August, it has a rounded, branching habit and silver-touched foliage. Lavender-colored plants are also common companions, especially deep-pink roses. Pink dianthus alwoodii, a perennial, all-season bloomer with clove-scented single or double flowers, is one example. Munstead Lavender with blue-lavender spikes is another.

Shrub Colors

  • When room exists around roses, shrubs are good rose companions. If the shrubs are flowering, such as lantana, select colors that work well with roses, like lavender and blue-lavender. Select nonflowering shrubs for foliage colors. Examples are the blue-green foliage of Wilton's juniper or yellow-green foliage, of old gold juniper.

Other Color Companions

  • Low-growing annuals with season-long color constitute other companions. Petunias and violas in colors favored by roses add charm as they peek out from the base of a rose bush. Victoria blue salvia makes an excellent color companion. Vines, like clematis, work especially well on trellises or arbors behind roses.

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