Ground-covers for roses

Published on February 3rd 2021
A green plant in a garden
Underplanting roses with groundcovers can be used instead of a mulch to shade the roots and can look really pretty.
A large purple flower is in a garden
Dig into this article for some inspiration on groundcovers that pair beautifully with roses and advice and tips on maintainting groundcovers so as to not compete with your roses.

White Alyssum

White Alyssum is superb and is strongly scented. See how effectively it has been used in Vivienne Black's garden.
A group of people in a garden

Australian Violets

Australian Violets are nice too, but they form a dense mat of roots and more water is needed to reach the rose roots. They should be dug up, spilt and replanted annually to allow the water to penetrate better.

Taller plants

Taller plants easily intrude and even grow into the rose bushes, so that the leaves don’t get enough sun, and this causes defoliation at lower levels. The hairy leaves of perennials such as Foxgloves can provide a breeding place for spider mites.
Delphiniums are a better option. The foliage is lighter and airier and the blue of the blooms contrasts beautifully with the softer colouring of the roses.
A close up of a purple flower


Lavender enjoys the extra water and nutrients but then grows rapidly. One needs to keep it trimmed.
A close up of a flower field

Textured Combinations

Pictured below, the ‘Knock Out’ roses have been alternated with Japanese silver grass (Miscanthus) and flowering Bulbine ‘Fire Chief’. The grasses, and spikey Bulbine leaves catch the sun, bringing movement and texture.
Silvery leafed Gomphostigma (River Stars) in the background adds to the grassy effect. Carex ‘Amazon Mist’ is planted as a low growing border in front of the roses.
A colorful flower garden

Rock Roses

Underplanting roses with rock roses is no problem at all. They don't compete.

Star Jasmine

Star Jasmine smells good but keeps interfering and needs to be trimmed regularly.


  • Pictured below is a miniature happily growing alongside Plectranthus (Spurflower).
A bunch of purple flowers


Pansies growing in front of 'South Africa' and 'Playmate' create a colourful border.
A close up of a flower garden
Tip | Scented Geraniums are vicious feeders and should not be planted with roses.


Strawberries go well with roses.
A close up of a garden

Have any mainstay groundcovers for roses in your garden? Please comment below!

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