A Perfect Match

Roses and vegetables are an obvious pairing for so many reasons. Roses and vegetables have a history of being grown together, and roses have much to offer as companion plants. They attract pollinators, shade tender vegetables, support twining veggies and add that extra special ingredient – beauty! Roses and veggies also  fit well together because they like the same growing conditions: full sun, fertile soil, level beds, shelter from wind, and regular watering.

5 ways to combine veggies and roses

  • Use roses to provide a colourful backdrop to your veggie garden, like the shrub rose ‘Rhapsody in Blue’, which can be trained as pillar roses or onto a trellis.
  • Grow compact veggies: beetroot, carrots, cabbages, kale, lettuce, Swiss chard or radishes as a border in front of roses.
  • Plant low-growing veggies under standard roses, which will provide shade from hot midday sun.
  • Allocate part of the veggie garden to a cutting garden of hybrid tea roses that will provide the home with fresh cut flowers for eight months of the year. In the Ludwig’s Roses catalogue, good cut flower varieties are indicated by a pair of secateurs. We also indicate fragrance.
  • Use robust climbing roses to provide support for runner beans.

Be water-wise

Grouping plants according to their water requirements is a basic tenet of waterwise gardening. Veggies and roses are classi ed as medium to high water users, so it makes sense to plant them together rather than planting roses separately in the front garden, with veggies at the back.

Roses for bees and butterflies

Bees love roses with single or semi-double blooms that have exposed stamens, and the pollen is always fresh. Generally, bees gravitate towards yellow, white, purple, violet or blue flowers. Although there are no true-blue roses, bees are drawn to purple roses like ‘Purple Glow’, and cerise-pink ‘Lyndal Dawn’. Climbing roses that produce masses of single blooms, like ‘Clair Matin’, ‘Ballerina’ and ‘Mermaid’, can be trained against a wall or along a fence, well out of the way of the veggies.

Pest control

Aphids, thrips, red spider and leaf-eating beetles are pests to both roses and veggies. Organic insecticides like Ludwig’s Insect Spray for roses is safe to use on edibles. Most importantly, Ludwig’s Insect Spray is not harmful to bees, but it is still advisable to spray early in the morning before the bees are active.

The Gardener