Have a lot of lavender plants growing in your garden and need another plant to accompany them?
Look no further than roses as they make excellent companions for lavender. Apart from the beautiful appearance of their flowers together, their growing conditions are in-sync.
Growing lavender with roses is the perfect combination since they both like:
- Full sunlight for many hours
- Bloom at the same time
- Well-draining soil
- Share a similar soil pH range
Do note, that there are a few differences. Lavender needs less fertile soil and less water than roses. Be sure to space the plants at least 2 to 3 feet away from each other.
Why you should Grow Lavender With Roses?
Violet lavender flowers and pink roses look amazing together, but is that the only reason for planting them together? Of course not!
The truth is that lavender and roses can adapt to each other’s climatic conditions (with a few exceptions).
They both love lots of sunlight and porous soil. Their water and nutrients requirements differ and this is why they must be planted a few feet apart.
But, these two diverse requirements do not hinder either plant in any way. They manage to grow together quite fine.
The lavender even helps to ward off aphids which are known to attack roses and suck the sap from stems. So lavender can dissuade some pests and reduce disease risks in roses.
Growing lavender with roses does not sound so bad anymore, does it?
Tips to Grow Roses along with Lavender
1. Plant Lavender and Rose Adequately Apart From Each Other
No two plants should be planted too close to one another. Each plant needs its own space and specific environment.
Similarly, If you want your lavender and roses to produce a wonderful flower output, you must give them space.
Make sure to plant roses and lavender at least 2 to 3 feet apart from each other.
Here are some of the advantages of spacing the plants far enough from each other.
- Adequate spacing will allow both the lavender and roses to get enough sunlight
- With good spacing, lavender and roses will get enough nutrients and will not have to compete for them. Besides, roses are heavy feeders and don’t like competition!
- Providing enough spacing will prevent the chances of any fungal infections arising in both plants
- To avoid leggy growth and to stimulate flower production, pruning and deadheading are two activities that benefit these plants. Leaving enough space between each plant will provide easy access to a gardener to carry out these routine activities. (Good spacing also assures you won’t damage the plants or get scratches while harvesting lavender or roses).
- The 2 to 3 feet spacing lets you customize the soil and care you offer each plant. For example, it allows you to fertilize and water roses without doing so to the lavender.
- Planting roses and lavender too close together could keep moisture trapped between the plants. This environment would invite pathogens that can cause infections for both plants. Infections lead to deterioration of the lavender plants and this affects flowering.
2. Don’t Fertilize Lavender When Fertilizing Roses
Lavender and roses make great companion plants for each other. But soil fertility is one point where they have different preferences.
Their requirements are actually the opposite of each other.
Roses grow best and flower better in highly fertile soils while lavender thrives on poor to medium fertile soils.
As a result of these differing requirements, roses need feeding while lavenders will not need feeding.
If you fertilize the lavender, you risk making the plant leggy and preventing it from producing any flowers or aroma!
To keep both plants happy and flowering to their full potential, you must provide:
- The soil of low to medium fertility for lavender plants (with no need for feeding ever)
- Highly fertile soil for roses and fertilizer at the start of spring
NOTE: For feeding your roses, a granular feed is better than a liquid fertilizer. This is because you get control over where the feed-in is distributed.
Planting your lavender and roses 2 or 3 feet from each other is essential.
If they are too close to each other, extra nutrients and minerals intended for roses may get to the lavender. This is not ideal and lavender could suffer the consequences of having too fertile soil.
So, how can you separate the soil and avoid nutrients surpassing the imaginary barrier between the two plants? That’s easy.
Before planting, you can amend the soil for lavender by adding more sand or gravel to the mix. This helps to dilute the nutrient levels and enhance the soil’s ability to drain soil, a crucial lavender requirement.
If it works you will have a beautiful garden in spring and summer, since both plants bloom simultaneously.
3. Water Roses and Lavender Separately
Another point where roses and lavender differ is in their water requirements. Adapting to one watering routine for both will result in only one plant making it to spring!
Lavender originates from the Mediterranean where water is scarce even though the sun glares brightly. They are a drought-resistant plant that requires sparse watering.
Mature lavender only needs watering once in two weeks. Water your lavender less if there has been heavy rainfall recently.
On the other hand, roses also like full sunlight. But the difference is that roses love lots of water too!
These water-hungry plants need a generous watering at least once a week. In times of particularly hot and dry spells, watering should be increased to once every 3 days.
Failure to provide this for your roses could be devastating for the plant.
Since these requirements are so different, planting these plants at the right distance apart is vital for lavender’s survival.
It is obvious that you cannot just water the entire flower bed and call it a day! You have to take great care to aim the water at the right plant.
So you need to stick to – More water for roses more often and less water for lavender less often.
4. Mulch For Roses Only!
Adding mulch is common for rose bushes and it aids the plant in many ways.
However, this is an activity that applies to roses only and not lavender. Be sure to not mistakenly apply mulch to lavender.
Applying mulch to roses has the following advantages:
- Mulch acts as a means to keep the moisture locked in during the summer months
- Seeing as mulch is a solid fertilizer, it acts as the perfect way to administer nutrients to roses specifically. It can also improve flowering capacity and flower appearance
- The act of mulching may also increase the ability of roses to resist diseases and infections
Apply a 1-inch layer of mulch to the soil around the rose. The mulch can be made from garden compost, rotten vegetable scraps, leaf matter, or anything nutrient-rich that you can source.
Place the mulch around the rose plant stems, but make sure that it does not touch the stems. Constant moisture touching the stems is not good.
Mulching won’t be great for lavender since they hate being moist and prefer to be dry.
Plus the extra nutrients from the mulch will not help the lavender in any way. At all costs, keep the mulch away from the lavender!
5. Keep Your Lavender Neat
Lavender does tend to get a bit untidy or bushy when it is in its element!
You will definitely have to keep a pair of pruners handy to keep it in check. If the lavender plants get too big, they can trespass and affect the roses.
Cutting back your lavender after it grows too big is important. If you don’t trim it back it could easily overtake your roses.
This would affect the roses and make them flowerless. In the end, it will decrease the appeal of your garden.
This is the last thing you want because roses and lavender are great companion plants.
A bushy lavender plant can easily overtake any plant it is planted with, defeating the objective of companion growing.
Yearly trimming down can shape your lavender plants and roses too since they are quite aggressive growers in ideal conditions!
If a few stems are becoming discolored beyond saving, go ahead and cut them loose before they further discolor.
Also if the plants start to grow too much, the space between each plant could decrease. This may increase humidity in the air around plants.
High humidity could lead to fungal infections. Hence, avoiding small space gaps due to overgrowth is something you should avoid.
6. Synchronize Soil pH
Roses and lavender may not prefer the exact same soil pH level, but they tend to match in pH of the soil.
Both roses and lavender tend to want alkaline soils instead of acidic ones. Make sure they have this soil quality throughout the growing phase. This is vital for flowering.
Roses grow in soils with pH 6 – 7 while lavenders grow in soils with pH 6.5 – 8. At the very least, both will grow in neutral soil (pH7).
A soil with an acidic pH (lower than pH6) will not be suitable for both lavender and roses.
Seeing as most garden soils are acidic, you will have to amend the soil. Increasing the pH of the soil does not have an immediate fix. Do it before you plant.
Adding wood ash or lime to the soil will increase the pH levels to a desirable level. You can constantly test the soil using a soil gauge which is available for a small price.
Inability to keep your soil above pH at 6.5 will lead to the death of lavender and possibly even your roses.
Advantages of Companion Growing
Want to make your garden look more appealing or want to fill up some bare spaces? This is exactly where you can apply companion growing.
Companion growing allows you to benefit from two appealing flowering plants that have shared requirements.
This technique saves time and resources by not having to grow two plants separately. You can grow them together.
When it comes to roses and companions, don’t plant the companion with them immediately.
This is because the roses need to develop a strong root system before getting a neighbor!
Lavender transplants require a lot of care in their first two weeks and you must keep an eye on them.
What can you not plant with lavender?
Even though their flowers would look good together, you should not plant Mint, Impatiens, Camellias, and Hostas with lavender. This is because their requirements are too different from those of lavender.
If you plant them together one plant will definitely die, it would be heartbreaking if it were the lavender.
Growing roses and lavender together might sound like an odd combination at first. But after reading about the similarities they share, they become a more believable combination.
Knowing their similarities and differences helps to customize the care given to each plant.
The sunlight and soil quality for both Lavender and Rose are the same while water and nutrients requirements are different. The similarities outweigh the contrasts.