Prettiest ground cover around roses?

sweetmicheliaFebruary 24, 2010

What ground cover do you like to plant around your roses? Preferably one with flowers? I live in So Calif. pictures would be appreciated.

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the_morden_man((Z4-Z5) Ontario, Canada)

Hardy Geraniums (Cranesbill), Coreopsis, Perennial Flax (so beautiful), Lavender, Walker's Low or the smaller variety Dropmore Catmint, Dwarf Bee's Balm, Dwarf Astilbe that are sun tolerant, the Blue Ice variety Amsonia and Evening Primrose are some of my favorites.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2010 at 1:48PM
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sylviatexas1

I like silvery or grayish foliage, fuzzy texture if possible;
things like lamb's ears, artemesia/Dusty Miller, etc.

There's one area where some very nice culinary sage complements the roses!

    Bookmark   February 24, 2010 at 5:13PM
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hoovb zone 9 sunset 23

Geranium 'Rozanne' or Geranium 'Jolly Bee'. Small root system that does not interfere with roses root system. Plant spreads out, but not the roots. Doesn't reseed. Blooms almost year round. The lavender-blue color complements any and every color rose.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2010 at 5:34PM
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jerijen(Zone 10)

In SOUTHERN California, artemisia/Dusty Miller has a tendency to grow large and woody. When we had it, whacking it back was a constant chore.

Dwarf Lavenders seem so far to be more controllable, and we are experimenting with Salvias -- but all of these things require some controlling, here.

If you're not going to spray, Sylvia's suggestion of culinary herbs is appealing, I think.

But do keep in mind that many of these things will require watering in California, where there is no summer rain.

El Nino year aside, we ARE getting our water allotments reduced. A nice thick layer of Western Pine Bark mulch keeps beds attractive, helps reduce water use, and suppresses at least some weeds.

Jeri in Coastal Ventura County.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2010 at 6:06PM
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sweetmichelia

love this jolly bee.... thank you

Here is a link that might be useful: jolly bee images

    Bookmark   February 24, 2010 at 10:25PM
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jerijen(Zone 10)

In Colorado, it rains in the summer.

Jeri

    Bookmark   February 24, 2010 at 10:32PM
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cweathersby

Salvia and lantana down here where it doesn't rain in the summer. My companion plants don't get water- each rose gets 1 dripper and the rest of the flowers have to fend for themselves. I use blue and purple salvias and the white and lavender trailing lantana. Bat faced cuphea is great if you can find it. Blooms all summer with no water.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2010 at 10:17AM
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ingrid_vc so. CA zone 9

In two of my beds I have alyssum which does die down in the summer at which time I rake it up. When cooler weather sets in and it rains it always comes back again and looks nice at least six months out of the year.

Ingrid

    Bookmark   February 25, 2010 at 9:59PM
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jerijen(Zone 10)

I like Alyssum too Ingrid. Don't you love the smell of it?

Michelia, I suggest you look for nurseries specializing in California native plants -- there are more and more of them.
You need things that don't mind surviving without summer irrigation.

Jeri

    Bookmark   February 26, 2010 at 12:31AM
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jim_w_ny(Zone 5a)

What about weeds? Do any of these crowd/smother weeds? Other wise forget them. I can't imagine trying to weed around 130 or so roses. Maybe use them in a small/featured bed.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2010 at 10:05AM
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kstrong(10 So Cal)

White ostoporeum daisies -- but then again, they would proabably compete for the available water if it was scarce -- the ostoporeums would probably win. My rose beds are irrigated.

Kathy

    Bookmark   February 27, 2010 at 11:56AM
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hosenemesis(SoCal Sunset 19 USDA 8b)

I love feverfew with roses. The little white flowers help disguise my horrifying color combinations. I also plant paludosum daisies under the roses.
Renee

    Bookmark   February 27, 2010 at 5:09PM
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hoovb zone 9 sunset 23

What about weeds? Do any of these crowd/smother weeds?

Mulch, baby, mulch! :)

    Bookmark   February 27, 2010 at 6:51PM
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the_morden_man((Z4-Z5) Ontario, Canada)

Oh, I also forgot in my earlier post about Cupid's Dart with roses. A very pretty, non-stop blooming effect. Perennial Flax is also a huge favorite that blooms all season long.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2010 at 7:04PM
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jim_w_ny(Zone 5a)

hoovb I don't understand how it is possible to mulch out the ground cover from the weeds. I mean we are talking about fractions of an inch separating a weed stem from a GC stem. And then weeds are notorious for sending shoots through almost anything. I picture me sitting on the ground combing through GC/weeds.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2010 at 7:34AM
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holleygarden Zone 8, East Texas

Jim - I have the same problem. I'm thinking of putting a thick layer of pine straw down for a year or so and hopefully this will kill most of the weeds (actually, it's bermuda grass that I'm most worried about), then perhaps I can plant a pretty flowering ground cover under my roses. At least that's my plan for now. Anyone care to comment if this will work or not?

    Bookmark   February 28, 2010 at 11:03AM
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cweathersby

Holleygarden, They sell a grass killer that doesn't kill ornamentals. The working ingredient is fluaziflan or something like that. It works but takes many applications. Bermuda is hard to kill. What I do to keep weeds down is put down boxes- I collect them from Dollar Stores- then mulch on top. Makes the soil better AND you can plant perenials right through holes in the boxes.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2010 at 12:49PM
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jerijen(Zone 10)

(actually, it's bermuda grass that I'm most worried about)

*** Holly, pine straw ain't gonna kill bermuda grass.
We've tried all that stuff -- black plastic solarization, even grass-be-gone ("Floozy Flop"). (Tho that's the best so far.)
The roots of the stuff go 6 ft deep, and I have yet to find anything it cannot survive.
I truly believe that after the Apocalypse, bermuda grass will be there to keep the cockroaches happy.

Jeri

    Bookmark   February 28, 2010 at 2:07PM
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Zyperiris(Seattle)

Have you guys tried Preen? I find it's very effective. It won't kill weeds already germinated..but it will keep more from germinating

    Bookmark   February 28, 2010 at 2:49PM
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hoovb zone 9 sunset 23

hoovb I don't understand how it is possible to mulch out the ground cover

Very sorry for the misunderstanding created, jim_w_ny, I was thinking of Geranium 'Rozanne' and Geranium 'Jolly Bee'. The stems spread out quite far but the root system is concentrated in one small area. Easy to mulch, easy to weed, easy to keep away from the rose roots. Far easier to deal with.

Ground covers that spread by roots are a different story, I agree. I mostly avoid them, especially around roses.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2010 at 4:10PM
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holleygarden Zone 8, East Texas

Thanks for the tips on dealing with the Bermuda grass. I'll definitely try the cardboard boxes.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2010 at 5:37PM
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peachiekean(z10A CA)

Nemesia - nice colors, easy, reseeds a little
Alyssum - reseeds lots here in So. Cal.
Tarragon - Tough and beautiful
Thyme - tough and smells good
Cranesbill - spring flowers
Catmint (I planted some seeds in a pot then divided it up and planted it in several spots last spring. It's pretty easy.)
Heliotrope - summer flowers, fragrant
Lobelia - love blue but rabbits might eat it
Lambs ears - tough
Salvias
Pentas

    Bookmark   March 2, 2010 at 2:01AM
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sammy zone 7 Tulsa

Evening Primrose is suggested from a poster from Canada, but here in Oklahoma, it has been named an invasive plant, and it is really invasive. It has taken me years to get rid of it, and after a few years there is no beauty in it.

I am taking notes on all the other plants, and think this is a great thread.

Please keep in mind that there is a huge difference between Canada and Oklahoma.

Sammy

    Bookmark   March 2, 2010 at 6:30AM
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becky_rose(NCa)

I have some dianthus that's doing well. And of course sweet alysum to feed the ladybugs. Blue pincusion flower does well too.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2010 at 9:49AM
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kstrong(10 So Cal)

Oops I spelled it wrong above. It's really Osteospermum -- otherwise known as "freeway daisies" in these parts because they require so little care. When they do get the same care as roses -- fertilizer and water -- they bloom year round. And the white ones stay low and make a solid carpet of white -- much prettier in mass than as single plants -- but easy to grow from cuttings. The purple ones however, are climbers and you have to keep untangling them from the plants above them to keep them low. So, white is best. Haven't tried the other colors.

Kathy

Here is a link that might be useful: White Osteospermum

    Bookmark   March 2, 2010 at 11:29AM
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the_morden_man((Z4-Z5) Ontario, Canada)

Sammy,

There are many varieties of evening Primrose. Some are invasive anywhere, including here. Others much less so and easily controlled. The ones I grow are not invasive and have very shallow roots. If they grow somewhere I don't like, I just pull them out of the soil very easily.

My neighbour grows poppies. Now they are invasive!!! LOL.

But yes, one should always consider the climate and zone of anyone making recommendations.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2010 at 12:14PM
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