5 Tips for Growing Lavender with Roses

Lavender with Roses

Lavender can grow well with Roses as they flower around the same time and share some growing preferences such as full sun and well-draining soil. However, lavenders prefer dryer soil, less water, and lower soil fertility than roses so it is important to plant roses and lavenders 2-3 feet apart.

Spacing lavenders and roses allows you to care for the individual preferences of each plant so they can produce their strongest bloom and finest fragrance.

Here are 5 tips for growing lavenders with roses

  1. Plant lavenders and roses 2-3 feet apart (therefore plants do not have to compete for airflow, light, water, nutrients, etc.)
  2. Localize the soil conditions for lavenders and roses (lavenders need more drainage than roses)
  3. Feed Roses but not lavenders (lavenders prefer low to medium fertility soil conditions)
  4. Water roses more frequently than lavenders (Water roses once per week, lavenders once every two weeks)
  5. Add organic mulch to roses but not lavenders (it preserves moisture and adds fertility to roses, lavenders prefer dryer soil).

Lavenders with Roses look spectacular when in flower. The differences in growing conditions with the two plants can be overcome with some adjustments so keep reading for how to ensure both plants grow to their best.

Plant Lavender 3 Feet Apart from Roses

Lavenders and roses will only grow well and display the most flowers if they are each given enough space in the garden. For best results plant roses and lavenders with 2-3 feet of space.

This will give each plant enough space so it has:

  • The most amount of light (both lavenders and roses need full sun)
  • Enough access to nutrients so that each root system is competing with one another. (Roses are heavy feeders and do not like competition).
  • Lavenders and roses both appreciate space to allow airflow through the foliage as this will reduce the chance of fungal disease for both plants.
  • Roses and lavender both benefit from deadheading and annual pruning. Therefore space between the plants will allow you room as the gardener to attend to each plant without getting scratched by the rose thorns! (Always wear gauntlet gloves for protection when working with roses).
  • 2-3 feet of space for each plant will help you further customize the soil conditions for each plant (moist soil for roses and dry soil for lavenders) and you can water the rose without watering the lavenders so both plants are healthy.

Both lavenders and roses need this amount of space to ensure that they are not casting any shade on each other over the course of a summer’s day which could reduce growth, flowering, and fragrance.

Read my articles for tips on watering roses and how often to water lavenders.

Soil pH

There is some overlap in the soil pH that both roses and lavenders prefer. Lavender can grow in soil with a pH of 6.5-8 and roses can grow in soils of pH 6-7.

If your soil is lower than pH 6.5 (acidic) then it will not be suitable for growing lavenders of any species so it is a good idea to do a soil test before buying or planting lavender. For more information on how to do this read my article on lavenders and acidic soil.

The English lavender species is not only more hardy in terms of cold temperatures but also tends to grow slightly better than French lavenders in mildly acidic soils of around pH 6.5 whereas French lavender may start to show signs of stress such as poor growth in these soils so for Rose planting its is better to opt for English lavenders. (Read more about the difference between English and French lavenders).

Soil gauge for measuring soil pH

Most garden soil tends to be around pH 6-7 as this is the pH of most organic matter once it is fully decomposed, but would always recommend testing your soil beforehand as soil gauges are available for a great price on Amazon which is a fraction of the cost of roses and lavenders that may not last if the soil is not suitable.

Localise Soil Conditions for Roses and Lavenders

Lavenders will benefit if they are planted 2-3 feet away from roses as this will help you to localize the preferred soil conditions and soil moisture of each plant.

Lavenders and roses both like well-draining soil. The difference is roses like to grow in soil with a high organic content. Soils that are rich in organic matter (compost) are porous enough to allow excess water to drain away from the root but they also absorb and hold onto moisture around the roots.

This is beneficial for the roses as they like their roots to draw up moisture from the soil when they need to without the soil being saturated.

Lavenders on the other hand need the soil to be much dryer. In their native Mediterranean range, lavenders thrive in sandy well-draining soil and will likely die of root rot in rich soils.

The key to planting roses with lavenders is to adjust the soil to suit each plant:

  • When planting the lavenders dig a hole that is 18 inches in width and depth. Add coarse sand or gravel to the hole so that roughly a third of the soil mix is sand and the other two-thirds is compost.

This will improve the drainage of the soil and sand does not hold onto moisture in the same way that compost does so there will be less material holding moisture around the roots which will prevent the lavender from developing root rot.

The sand will also help to provide the low to medium fertility conditions that lavenders need to be able to flower and produce a strong fragrance.

(For more information read my guide to the optimal soil mix for lavenders).

By contrast, roses appreciate being planted in soil that has been heavily amended with rich organic material such as leaf mold, compost, and well-rotted manure as this will help to retain water and provide an abundance of nutrients in the soil which will ensure they stay healthy and produce their best flowers.

Avoid Feeding Lavenders when Feeding roses

There is a significant contrast between roses and lavender in terms of their preferred soil fertility. Lavender thrives in poor soils with relatively few nutrients (read my article for why lavenders don’t need feeding) whereas Roses will grow best and produce the most flowers in high fertility soils and benefit from additional fertilizer.

Feeding lavenders will encourage foliage growth at the expense of flowers as lavenders are well adapted to growing in sandy soils with low fertility.

  • Lavenders flower and produce the best aroma when in soil conditions of low to medium fertility.
  • Roses flower the best when they are in fertile soil and receive fertilizer at the start of spring.

This emphasizes the importance of keeping some distance between lavenders and roses in the same flower bed so you can localize the preferred soil conditions for each plant.

The sand or gravel you used to amend the soil before planting the lavenders will help to balance the fertility of the soil as sand does not contribute much nutrients which creates the right conditions for lavender growing.

3 feet will give you enough distance between plants so that you can add fertilizer to roses in the spring without compromising the soil for lavenders.

I would personally recommend that you use a granular feed such as Miracle Grow continuous release Rose and Shrub plant food rather than liquid fertilizers as you have control over where the feed is distributed and there is much less risk of increasing the soil fertility of the whole flower bed which will reduce the chance of lavenders flowering.

Fertilizer for roses
This is the fertilizer that I personally use for roses.

Both roses and lavenders flower in the Spring and Summer so you will get a spectacular multi-species bloom.

Water Roses more Frequently than Lavenders

One of the key differences between lavender and roses is how much water they like.

  • Lavender is a drought-resistant plant that thrives in hot weather with blazing sunshine and little water. Established lavenders only need to be watered once every 2 weeks during the growing season if there has been no rainfall.
  • Roses also thrive in hot weather with full sun but they require much more water. Roses need a generous soak once a week during the growing season and will require watering once every three days during spells of particularly hot weather.

This difference in watering preference again emphasizes the importance of planting your lavenders and roses the right distance apart.

Always aim the water directly at the base of each plant (so that you don’t end up overwatering the lavender) and each plant appreciates a good soak each time as this encourages roots to establish in the soil.

With lavenders, overwatering is always a much bigger problem than underwatering so it is important to cater to the requirements of each plant.

To learn more, read my article on how often to water lavender which contains all the best practices you need to know to keep your lavender healthy and free of fungal disease.

Add Mulch to Roses, Not Lavenders

One of the key benefits of planting roses and lavender 2-3 feet apart is that there is enough space to add mulch to the roses without affecting the lavenders.

Roses appreciate an application of mulch in the spring because:

  • Mulch helps to conserve moisture in the upcoming summer
  • Mulch will add fertility to the soil which will improve flowering and increase the rose’s resilience to disease.

Apply the mulch and 1-inch layer of mulch (garden compost, leaf mold, and rotted manure are all good choices) to the soil around the rose.

Leave a 6-inch diameter of earth between the mulch and the wood of the rose stem as the wood above ground does not like to be in contact with persistently moist material.

Lavenders, on the other hand, prefer the soil to remain dry so make sure that you keep the mulch exclusively around the roses. A moisture-retaining mulch will only promote the conditions that make lavenders more susceptible to fungal disease so keep the ground clear of mulch and fallen organic material (such as leaves in the Fall).

Key Takeaways:

  • Lavenders can be grown with roses and look spectacular when in bloom at the same time, however, there are some differences in the preferred growing conditions. With some adjustments and care both plants will grow well.
  • The key is to plant lavenders 2-3 feet away from roses as this will give each plant enough room for sun, airflow, water, and nutrients and you will be able to account for lavenders preferring dry soil (amend with sand for quick drainage) and roses preferring soil that retains some moisture and contains more organic content.
  • Lavenders and roses have different water requirements so do not routinely water them together. Lavenders are drought-resistant and only need to be watered once every two weeks if there has been no rain. Roses need to be watered weekly and once every 3 days in intense heat.
  • Planting lavenders and roses 2-3 feet apart will allow you to feed the roses without feeding the lavenders. Lavenders prefer low to medium fertility soil whereas roses are heavy feeders.
  • Add mulch to roses to conserve water in the heat of summer and add some fertility to the soil. Lavenders are low maintenance in this regard and do not require any mulch as they prefer dryer conditions.

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