The Q&A Archives: Companion Flowers for Roses

Question: I have a rose bed, 8 ft by 3 ft, with three rose bushes spaced evenly apart. I filled the extra space with a mass of spring bulbs, but am wondering what complimentary summer annuals or perennials I can plant that will hide the dying bulb leaves, while still complementing my rose bushes.

Answer: There are numerous possibilities and so much depends on what you like! For season-long bloom, you'll want annuals rather than perennials, but of course, they have to be replanted every year. Low growers such as alyssum and lobelia look great at the foot of the bushes and they have long bloom periods. Silvery foliage plants, such as sages and artemesias, and herbs can also look very attractive mixed with roses. Catmint (Nepeta faasenii) is a soft mounding perennial that has blue flowers in late spring/early summer. Lavender is another possibility.

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