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Which bulbs are suitable for rose beds?

While nothing quite beats the sight of a rose bed in bloom, when they aren’t out and in full colour it’s not uncommon for them to look a little dull. If you’re concerned about areas of your garden looking lifeless then you can easily bring a rose bed back to life by planting complementary bulbs. They can add a much-needed splash of colour and if chosen carefully there are often other benefits too. Read on to learn more.  

Reasons to add companion plants to your rose beds
Like humans, roses are social creatures and benefit in many ways from having companion plants around them. The first reason is that outside of their flowering season they can look rather muted and dull, so introducing other plants around them with differing blooming periods and colour schemes can really help to keep your garden looking vibrant all year through.  Good options include purple and blue catmint (Nepeta) which complement pale pink roses, while Lady’s mantle (Alchemilla) and tall growing pinks (Dianthus) can help draw attention away from the stems of roses and onto their flower heads.

A second reason and perhaps the most important reason for giving our roses company is that planting roses by themselves can make them a target for common pests and nasty diseases. Companion plants can help shield your roses from such a fate. For example, geraniums can fend off certain types of beetles, Lavender can keep rabbits away while Marigolds can help repel nematodes. Companion plants provide a natural form of pest control for your garden without the need for chemicals.

Choosing companions for roses
Aside from choosing plants that protect from pests and add visual benefits, when it comes down to choosing a companion for your roses you will also need to make sure that the species you select don’t hinder the overall growth of your roses. You need to pick out bulbs that enjoy similar growing conditions but aren’t going to grow strong and healthy at the detriment of your wonderful roses - hogging sunlight and taking too much from the soil that they share. Good options include Lantana, Verbena and Heliotropium, all of which are unlikely to harm your roses.

Tips for planting companions
While roses benefit from company they need their own space too. You need to protect their roots and give them room to breathe and you can achieve this purpose by leaving at least one foot between your roses and your chosen companion plant(s).  Here are a few options for companion bulbs to get you started, available from our online store:

White colours: Chionodoxa Luciliae Alba, Double Snowdrop and Ikariae/Woronowii – Galanthus

Red colours: Aladdin Lily Tulip, Red Riding Hood Dwarf Tulip and Calypso Dwarf Tulips

Black, blue and purple colours: Camassia Quamash, Cyclamen Coum and Iris Reticulata

Click HERE for a full and extensive list of suitable bulbs for rose beds.

If you need more help or advice for your rose beds then please contact us. Boston Bulbs Wholesale is a privately-owned business with over 35 years’ experience of importing only the finest quality horticultural products throughout Europe and from farmers and growers all over the UK. Whether you’re a landscaper, nursery, local authority, wholesaler, retailer, private business or individual gardener, just give us a call on 01775 769 333 or visit for help with flower bulbs, grass seed and more. 

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