Knock Out Rose Companion Planting
So you're sold on the wonders of The Knock Out® Family of Roses, but aren't sure how to use them in your garden. That's not an unusual predicament. I often find myself in love with a plant before I know exactly what I'm going to do with it. Well, I'm here to tell you that as long as you give them full sun, consistent moisture and well drained soil you can't go wrong. You can use Knock Out® roses in mixed borders, as hedges, in containers and as focal points.
When selecting plants to go with your Knock Out® roses, chose those that like the same growing conditions and that are suited for your climate. Here are a few of my favorites to get you started.
Pinks (Dianthus plumarius) – Dianthus has low growing, mat-forming foliage that is perfect for planting around the base of roses. The gray-green foliage is a nice color companion for The Pink Knock Out® Rose, The Pink Double Knock Out® Rose, and The Blushing Knock Out® Rose. Dianthus flower in late May, producing a multitude of one-inch pink flowers on individual stems. The fragrance is heavenly.
Daylily (Hemerocallis sp.) – Daylilies are classic companions for roses. I like to pair the bright pink Knock Out® varieties such as The Pink Knock Out® or The Knock Out® with clear orange daylilies, chartreuse sweet potato vine and purple coneflowers.
Mexican Sage (Salvia leucantha) – Because The Knock Out® Family of Roses bloom well into autumn they can be planted with fall favorites such as Mexican Sage. Mexican Sage starts flowering in late September and continues to the first hard frost. It's a tender perennial that survives winters in my zone 7b garden if I cover it with mulch.
Lamb's Ear (Stachys byzantina) – The fuzzy leaves of Lamb's Ear is a favorite of mine for planting with roses because of the outstanding texture and soft gray color. Lamb's Ear is a prolific groundcover that is virtually maintenance free. Try planting Lamb's Ear with The Rainbow Knock Out® Rose, Blue Bedder Salvia, a chartreuse Heuchera and a creamy-white Shasta Daisy.
Dwarf Butterfly Bush (Buddleia sp.) – Dwarf Butterfly Bushes are a good choice for planting with roses because they stay compact and won't overwhelm the rose. I love combining cool colors with yellow so I plant purple, lavender and blue flowering varieties of Butterfly Bush with The Sunny Knock Out® Rose.
Petunias (Petunia hybrid) – Petunias have come a long way since your grandmother planted them in her garden. Today's Petunias hold up in rainy weather and bloom with little fuss. I'd say that they are just about as carefree as The Knock Out® Rose. A bed planted with Knock Out® roses and Petunias will look beautiful from late spring through the first hard frost.
Summer Snapdragon (Angelonia) – Partners for Knock Out® roses are always selected by color. The spiky form of Angelonia looks great with the mound-forming “shrubbiness” of Knock Out® roses. It's a good contrast. Angelonia produces spikes of blooms from spring to frost.
Persian Shield (Stroblianthes dyerianus) – This plant is ALL about the foliage. The leaves are green with iridescent shades of purple and lavender. A combination of The Blushing Knock Out®, The Pink Double Knock Out® and Persian Shield creates a cool color palette that looks good all summer.
Coleus (Solenostemmon) – There are so many fabulous varieties of coleus it's hard to decide on just one! When it comes to pairing easy-care, vibrant plant with Knock Out® roses I like to go for dark colors like burgundy and maroon. These rich hues make the rose blooms pop and add depth to the planting schemes.
Spider Flower (Cleome) – I'm crazy about Cleome. Talk about whimsy and texture. This annual brings both to the garden. New varieties are better behaved than older versions. They stay more compact, don't reseed quite as freely and don't have stickers. I like the juxtaposition of Cleomes and Knock Out® roses. The former airy and the later solid. Try a combination of The Sunny Knock Out® Rose with white Cleome, Catmint (Nepeta) and white and green variegated Iris pallida ‘Argentea Variegata'.