Companions For Drift Roses – Learn What To Plant With Drift Roses

Image by John Newton

By Stan V. (Stan the Rose Man) Griep
American Rose Society Consulting Master Rosarian – Rocky Mountain District, Denver Rose Society Member

A growing number of rose lovers are adding drift roses (by Star Roses) to their beds as companion plantings with their larger rose bushes and perennials. For more information on companion plants for drift roses, read on.

Drift Rose Companion Plants

Drift roses were created by crossing ground cover roses with miniature rose bushes. The beautiful colors of the drift roses add a very nice touch to rose beds. Drift roses make great companion plantings in rose beds with some of the leggy shrub rosebushes and grandiflora, hybrid tea rosebushes, even at the base of some climbers. While being a great companion planting themselves, there are also some other garden designs using drift roses as the main feature planting.

It is extremely important to do some research into the growth habit of drift rose companion plants as well as growing zone. Also, consider space. Not leaving enough room will create a garden that needs constant pruning/thinning of all plantings, so they do not become an overgrown mass of foliage. In an overgrown garden, plants start competing for available nutrients, water and sunshine in short order, causing stress and leading to their eventual demise.
If your garden is planned out properly, however, only light maintenance will be needed while gaining maximum enjoyment.

Be very careful not to add plants to your garden that have any mention of being invasive. For instance, mint plants are quite invasive and can become a real problem, though planting in containers will help. Catnip is another plant that can get out of control in a big hurry. As I mentioned earlier, do your homework as part of your garden planning, and check those growth habits for your area beforehand.

As part of my garden planning, especially when it comes to companion plants, I like to chat with members of local garden clubs about the plants I am considering. I have found the members of such clubs to be very forthcoming with good information on the growth habits of plants in their gardens.

What to Plant with Drift Roses

When looking for companion plants for drift roses, keep these things in mind:

  • Give all plantings, including your rose bushes, some space. Plant your companion plants at least 12 to 18 inches away from the roses to avoid root system entanglements.
  • For a well-proportioned blending, choose plants that are well behaved and those that have similar growth habits and soil requirements as your drift roses.
  • Consider using some mounding/clumping perennials or grasses that will mind their manners and stay within their allowed area instead of those having a spreading growth habit that will stretch out well beyond their borders. Rosebushes typically do not like to compete for water, nutrients or sunlight.

While there are many plants that grow well with drift rose, some good choices to consider include Osteospermum ‘Lavender Mist,’ which typically reaches 12 inches in height with a spread of 12 to 18 inches wide. Dianthus Firewitch is another good one (and one of my favorites), as it blooms very well and has a nice fragrance to add to the garden. Its growth habit is 6 to 12 inches in height with a 6- to 12-inch in spread. These are the types of growth habits that can work very well as companions for drift roses.

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