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Planting rose and clematis together: Tips and ideas for combinations

Rose, charming and beautiful, has long been considered the queen of the garden . The magnificent flower is known for being a very capricious beauty, which makes choosing a suitable companion a challenge. But rose and clematis are a recognized classic combination that fascinates with its lush blooms. More than any other plant, clematis can subtly accentuate the beauty of roses or bring their gorgeous blooms into a dignified setting. What you should pay attention to if you want to plant rose and clematis together, we explain below.

Rose and clematis: Which varieties can be planted together?

Roses and clematis in romantic cottage garden

Rose and clematis – at first glance it may seem like a perfect partnership. After all, these plants have the same requirements for light and soil. Both feel most comfortable in sun to partial shade and grow well in neutral soil.

Rose and clematis are dream partners in the garden

However, you should not rush to plant clematis with roses without studying their nature and characteristics. After all, there are so many different varieties of roses and clematis. To create a harmonious dream team, you need to know the different clematis groups, which are then divided into numerous varieties. Some of them are completely unsuitable as rose companions.

Clematis of cutting group 1 do not go well with roses

Clematis macropetala 'White Swan' with pure white flowers

Clematis macropetala ‘White Swan’

Clematis alpinaand its relatives from the Atragene group -A. sibiricaandA. macropetala- for example, bloom primarily in early spring April/May and therefore cannot overlap with the blooming season of roses. Like the Atragenes,Clematis montanaz belong to pruning group 1, i.e. they are not cut back. This is another reason for conflict with roses, which should always be cut back.

Do clematis of pruning group 2 get along with roses?

Clematis multi-blue-is-not-a-good-partner-for-roses

Clematis ‘Multi Blue’

Clematis hybrids of pruning group 2 are very well suited to grow among roses, as their delicate roots need shade and protection. This allows the clematis to better survive the cold winter months along with the roses. But here too there are limitations.

For your rose garden do not use too lush and large-flowered clematis varieties. They are so self-sufficient in their splendor that they will compete with roses. The ‘Multi Blue’ variety, for example, will steal the show from roses with its striking blue-purple flowers. Also, it’s better not to plant clematis varieties with tall growths right next to roses, but to arrange them in the back of the bed.

One clematis variety from cutting group 2 that does combine well with roses, however, is ‘General Sikorski’. Here are two pictures that convince us of this perfect partnership.

Rose ‘Pomponella’ and Clematis ‘General Sikorski

Bedding rose Pomponella and Clematis General Sikorski on climbing support as a backdrop

Clematis ‘General Sikorski’ and English rose ‘A Shropshire Lad’.

Clematis General Sikorski and English rose A Shropshire Lad

Clematis in pruning group 3 are suitable, but with limitations

Shrub rose Red Eden Rose surrounded by Clematis Eetika and Marmori

Shrub rose ‘Red Eden Rose’ with Clematis viticella ‘Marmori’ and Clematis ‘Eetica’.

Clematis in cutting group 3 should also be used with caution in the rose garden. They go well with roses in terms of flowering time. But. If you want to plant rose and clematis together, you should avoid larger specimens – with a growth height of 2.5 meters and more. It is better to plant them as soloists in the background, for example, on a trellis or a rose arch. This will bring the rose into focus.

‘Ernest Markham’ – clematis of cutting group III.

Clematis Ernest Markham with red flowers

It is not a good idea to plant clematis of cutting group 3 together with low-growing rose varieties (ground covers, teehybrids and floribundas). The shoots of the clematis will cling to the rose branches, and roses do not like such a suffocating embrace. Besides, it would not be possible to get rid of the clematis shoots in the fall without harming the roses. Experience has shown that it is better to arrange lushly flowering clematis at a certain distance from roses, so that they form a backdrop against which the rose bushes look even more spectacular.

Clematis on rose arch and bedding rose in front

Clematis integrifolia group ideal as a companion to roses

Clematis Integrifolia 'Heather Herschell' planted next to rose

Clematis integrifolia ‘Heather Herschell’

Clematis of the integrifolia group (cutting group 3), still known as perennial clematis, are best as partners for roses. Most specimens in this group have small, exquisitely shaped, bell-shaped flowers and reach a growing height of about 3 feet. Clematis of this group can be planted together with roses without any problems, as their flowers appear in midsummer (matching the rose bloom) and can also receive a strong pruning in autumn. With ‘Arabella’, ‘Alyonushka’, ‘Blue Boy’, ‘Blue Rain’, ‘Heather Herschell’ make beautiful combinations.

Clematis integrifolia ‘Alyonushka’

Clematis integrifolia Alyonushka

Harmony of colors: how to combine rose and clematis

Rose New Dawn and clematis with large purple flowers

Rose ‘New Dawn’ and Clematis ‘The President’.

Undoubtedly, clematis in shades of blue and purple are ideal for combinations with roses. And it is amazing how different blue flowering clematis can look. They show up in numerous shades – from delicate pastel blue to intense purple.

different clematis varieties blooming in purple tones

The blue flowers of Clematis viticella ‘Arabella’ (1) also show shades of violet. The flowers of Clematis viticella ‘Dominika’ (2) are light blue in color. Clematis ‘General Sikorski’ (3) blooms in cornflower blue.  Clematis ‘The President’ (4) has intensely colored flowers in dark purple.

Clamatis ‘Étoile Violette’ (cutting group 3) blooms profusely throughout the summer and will make a great backdrop for roses

Clematis Étoile Violette with purple flowers

The cultivar ‘Mrs. Cholmondeley’ with flowers in light purple is a good neighbor for roses of all colors

Clematis Mrs. Cholmondeley with purple flowers

Clematis ‘Warszawska Nike’, whose flowers sometimes shine dark blue, sometimes deep purple, depending on the incidence of light, is an ideal planting partner for roses

Clematis Warszawska Nike

The blues among the woodland vines are the perfect partners to roses of all colors: white, cream, yellow, peach, scarlet, purple and all warm and cool shades of pink.

The gorgeous climbing rose ‘Palais Royal’ with its densely double, nostalgic white flowers looks beautiful against a backdrop of purple clematis ‘Ville de Lyon’.

Clematis Ville de Lyon and rose Palais Royal

Clematis ‘Star of India’ and rose ‘Handel’.

Clematis Star of India and Rose Händеl

Monochromatic arrangements are also possible in a rose garden. A nice example is planting rose ‘Jasmina’ and clematis ‘Eetika’ together, as shown in the picture below.

Clematis Eetika and rose Jasmina on trellis

Purple clematis varieties also beautifully accentuate peach, orange or golden yellow roses, making them shine even more beautifully.

Clematis ‘Pohjanael’

Clematis Pohjanael and apricot rose

The Estonian hybrid variety ‘Pohjanael’ fascinates with its large flowers in purple with purple stripes and looks wonderful in combination with peach-colored roses, such as the climbing rose ‘Amaretto’ and the bedding rose ‘Aprikola’.

Shrub roses ‘Baroque’ and ‘Westerland’.

Orange roses like Westerland or Baroque are perfect for clematis with purple flowers.

The red rose Amadeus harmoniously matches with Clematis integrifolia ‘Arabella’.

Rose Amadeus and Clematis Arabella planted together in the garden

The dark purple Clematis ‘Westerplatte’ would be a great neighbor to roses in classic pink tones

Clematis Westerplatte and roses with pink flowers.

With its pale pink flowers, Clematis ‘Jan Pawel II’ can create a nice contrast with purple roses

Clematis Jan Pawel II with bicolor flowers in white and pink

Clematis ‘Marmori’ with ‘Red Eden Rose

Clematis viticella Marmori with rose Red Eden Rose

More original combinations with rose and clematis

Clematis Texensis Duchess of Albany and Rose 'Rosarium Uetersen

Clematis texensis ‘Duchess of Albany’ and rose ‘Rosarium Uetersen’.

The lesser known Texas woodland vine, which produces very pretty tulip-shaped flowers from June to October, is also well suited for combination with roses. The varieties in the Texensis group were created by crossing Clematis texensis with large-flowered varieties and show good winter hardiness. They belong to pruning group 3.

Clematis texensis ‘Sir Trevor Lawrence’

Clematis texensis Sir Trevor Lawrence

Another beautiful specimen in the texensis group that delights with its enchanting tulip-shaped flowers is ‘Sir Trevor Lawrence’. It has an exceptionally long flowering period, from June to October, and reaches a height of 200 to 350 centimeters. A beautiful combination is made, for example, with the rose ‘Fantin-Latour’ (group centifolia).

Shrub rose Fantin-Latour

Clematis viticella as a companion to the rose ‘Pierre de Ronsard’.

Clematis viticella and rose Pierre de Ronsard

Recently, clematis varieties with small, seemingly unsightly, but extremely interesting flowers are gaining popularity, such as the Italian wood vine (Clematis viticella). Its bell-shaped flowers of delicate sky blue appear in June and delight gardeners throughout the summer.

The viticella group includes many pretty cultivars that go well with roses, such as ‘Etoile Violette’, ‘Polish Spirit’ and ‘Prince Charles’.

Rose ‘May Queen’ and Clematis viticella ‘Madame Julia Correvon’.

Rose May Queen and Clematis viticella

There are numerous ways to combine clematis and roses, but before planting them side by side, thoroughly study the characteristics of the selected varieties to avoid mistakes. These two amazingly beautiful, sun-loving plants are made for each other and with a sensitive gardener they will be a perfect pair.

Climbing rose and 2 clematis on a trellis as privacy screen