Roses Love Garlic: Here’s Why

Garlic protects roses from bugs and it can help prevent fungal diseases like blackspot. Plant garlic around the base of your rose bushes.

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Grow Garlic With Your Roses

rose bushCourtesy Elinor Bremus
Plant garlic around your roses to ward off harmful bugs and diseases

Pairing roses with garlic doesn’t sound like a match made in heaven, does it?  But it really is! Garlic protect roses from not only bad bugs—it can also help prevent fungal diseases.

Aphids DON’T love garlic – in fact, they hate it! Ants and snails aren’t huge fans of garlic either. In addition, studies show that garlic has anti-fungal properties, which helps keep fungal diseases like blackspot at bay.

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When and How to Plant Garlic

garlicCourtesy Noelle Johnson
Break up garlic bulbs into individual cloves before planting them

Even if your roses are done blooming for the season, fall is the time to plant garlic next to them. Planting garlic is very easy.  You can get your garlic from the produce section at your local grocery store. Roses don’t care about fancy varieties of garlic. Psst—did you know that roses are the June Birth Flower?

Simply separate the the individual cloves and space 4 inches apart, about 1 foot from the base of your rose bush. Dig a 1 1/2 inch deep hole (I use a regular spoon for this) and plant the cloves with the pointed part pointing upward. That’s it! I told you it was easy.

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garlic shootsCourtesy Noelle Johnson
Young garlic shoots

Soon your garlic will send up green shoots. The shoots will stay green in warm-winter areas and die back to the ground in cold areas. Don’t worry, the cloves will quickly send up new shoots in spring.

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How to Harvest Garlic

Woman picking fresh organic raw garlic in the garden, selective focus. Outdoors. Harvesting time. Farm or country life.Anna Kurzaeva/Getty Images
Harvest garlic in the summer

Harvest your garlic in late spring or summer once the green leaves start to turn brown. You can even use the garlic for cooking after it has ‘cured’ (or hung up and dried) for a few weeks. Note: Only use your homegrown garlic for cooking as long as you have NOT treated your roses with any pesticides (other then insecticidal soap, which is OK).

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Benefits of Growing Garlic and Roses Together

roses and garlicCourtesy Noelle Johnson
Garlic may even improve the fragrance of roses

Besides helping to keep aphids away, and fungal diseases away, garlic is said to increase the fragrance of roses, according to The Herb Society of America. That might sound counterintuitive because garlic is known for its strong scent but it’s worth a try!

So, next time you head out to the grocery store, grab some garlic and plant the cloves around your roses. These plants really are the perfect match.

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Noelle Johnson
Noelle Johnson is a horticulturist, writer and certified arborist who lives and gardens in the desert Southwest. She is the CEO and owner of 'AZ Plant Lady,' an education company that aims to help people garden successfully in the desert climate. She is the author of the book, Dry Climate Gardening, and her byline has appeared in publications such as Birds & Blooms and Phoenix Home & Garden magazine. She is an instructor at the Desert Botanical garden and Tucson Botanical Gardens.