Last year I purchased some gorgeous, already-blooming roses, but after a few weeks, aphids caused my rose plants to die completely. So I set out on a mission to discover what to plant with roses to deter aphids and protect my roses!
Does My Rose Bush Have Aphids On The Leaves?
You can tell if your rose has aphid damage by checking the leaves. Your leaves might be yellowing around the edges or even contain tiny holes – over time, your rose’s new leaves will appear to grow smaller than normal, and may appear yellowed or curled.
This is because those aphids target new leaves and juicy new stems, meaning over time your rose also will produce less and less blooms too!
Turn over the leaves on your roses – look for almost microscopic green or white ovals shapes. They don’t really look like bugs at all but the damage they create as they suck away nutrients from your rose plant are no less damaging.
What To Plant With Roses To Deter Aphids
The good news is there are multiple companion plants that not only look good but smell great AND keep away aphids and other insects which might otherwise destroy those gorgeous roses. Herbs such as garlic, saffron, and chives all work to repel insects, while flower varieties that keep aphids away from roses include marigolds, geraniums, and yarrow.
All of these plants are non-invasive too, which means they won’t deplete your roses of essential nutrients, and they thrive in most climates except extreme heat and or / cold.
Do Herbs Keep Aphids Away From Roses?
If you want to keep aphids away from roses, herbs such as wild garlic, saffron, mint, thyme and chives all produce a strong scent that naturally repels insects. These herbs are non-competitive plants too, meaning they won’t compete with your rose plant for food, water, or nutrients from the soil. So in short, herbs are some of the best companion plants to help protect your rose garden from aphid invasions. I wish I had known this before creating my potted rose garden!
Although herbs are non-competitive, some rose varieties such as old garden roses and climbing roses have large roots – these rose types like to spread out! So even with herbs you want to ensure you’re planting them at least 12-18 inches away from your main cane of your rose bush to ensure your roses can absorb all the nutrients and water they need to flourish.
If you don’t fancy adding herbs to your rose bed, you can simply add some herbs to a DIY rose insecticide spray. This DIY organic aphid repellent contains a ton of garlic to help deter aphids, and it’s safe for your roses and for pets too. Just be sure to spray it early in the morning so your plants don’t cook in summer heat, as it contains oil and / or organic soap too.
Garlic is even thought to increase the fragrance of the roses in your garden, making it one of the best herbs to plant with roses to deter aphids.
Do herbs in pots keep away aphids from roses?
If you keep miniature roses or potted roses you might be wondering if having potted herbs nearby can also deter aphids from roses in the same way that planting them does. Planting herbs and companion plants in pots to deter aphids from your roses works in the same way – it’s that scent of the herbs that repels the aphids. So if you are trying to keep aphids away from your potted roses, you’ll want to stock up on pots, tubs, or containers of wild garlic, saffron, mint, thyme and chives.
The Best Rose Companion Plants To Deter Aphids
If herbs aren’t your thing and you’d rather surround yourself and your rose garden with florals, you need to know which are the best flowers to plant with roses to deter aphids. These will give your garden added scent, colour, and are known for keeping aphids away.
Can I Plant Geraniums With Roses To Prevent Aphids
Geraniums keep away bugs such as mosquitos and aphids, whilst at the same time attracting bees. So if you have climbing roses that you sit underneath, or just don’t want bees floating around your rose garden, this is something to be mindful of when planting geraniums with roses.
However geraniums have beautiful colours and shapes which will add interest to any rose garden or area, and they are rose-friendly, meaning they make great companion plants for roses.
Can Lavender Repel Aphids?
Lavender makes the perfect companion plant for roses. It’s beautiful (especially if you have a cottage, country, or english style garden), relatively hardy and keeps away aphids! Lavender is also of course, beautifully fragranced. It won’t help keep away bees from your roses – lavender is a natural pollinator – but it will deter aphids.
Yarrow To Prevent Rose Pests
Yarrow is a great all-round bug repellent, in fact it’s considered to be a natural replacement for DEET as it’s so strong it even keeps away mosquitos. It’s also super pretty and compliments roses beautifully. So if you’re wondering what to plant with roses to deter aphids and herbs aren’t really your thing, Yarrow could be the winner especially if you have a whimsical or cottage style yard. Just make sure to plant it at least 18 inches away from your roses’ main stem as it can grow quickly, and you’ll want to ensure your rose receives all the proper nutrients it needs to grow.
Marigolds are great at repelling aphids from your rose plants but ensure you chose the scented variety! Unscented marigolds don’t repel the bugs in the same way. They’ll still add a splash of sunshine yellow colour to the base of your roses, but they won’t offer much in the way of protection against bugs. Unscented marigolds won’t attract aphid predators such as ladybirds either, so if you want your marigolds to work hard for you and keep aphids at bay choose the scented kind!
What To Plant With Roses To Attract Aphid Predators
There are some bugs which are hugely beneficial to your roses – those which eat aphids! You want to work on attracting those bugs such as ladybugs, lacewings, and even parasitic wasps, all of which will eat your aphids that plague your rose bushes.
Amongst the best plant to keep aphids at bay from your roses by attracting natural predators are black eyed susans, shasta daisies, and cosmos. As well as attracting beneficial insects to your rose plants they all look so pretty when paired with roses too!
How Many Companion Plants Do I Need For Roses
To figure out how many plants you will need, you first need to assess the size of your rose plant and how many you have. On average, a good rule of thumb to follow is to plant one large sized companion plant for every rose plant you have e.g you will need one full grown lavender bush for every full grown rose bush.
If your lavender plant is on the smaller side or variety, add two per rose bush. Remember to plant your lavender at least 18 inches away from your rose plant to ensure your roses don’t compete for root space and nutrients.
From there, roughly double how many plants you think you’ll need as you halve the size in comparison to lavender. For example marigolds are about a quarter of the size of lavender, so you’ll need 4x the amount in order to have the same aphid repellent power. So for one rose bush, you’d need 4 marigold plants around the base.
If you opt for a plant that grows larger than a full grown lavender bush, stick with one until your plant hits maturity. This way you know how big it is and can add or remove parts of it as required to keep your rose bushes healthy!
Make Your DIY Aphid Repellent Spray Here – It’s all organic and made using simple pantry ingredients, perfect if you’re on a budget and want to ensure your roses stay protected all summer long!