7 No-Fail Rose and Hydrangea Combos for Your Garden

Under the right growing conditions, roses and hydrangeas grow together to create an all-season bloom spectacle. Garden expert Katherine Rowe shares winning rose and hydrangea combinations based on visual appeal, garden performance, cultural requirements, and disease resistance.

Pink and orange roses grow with panicle hydrangeas in the border

Contents

In the right garden location, roses and hydrangeas grow together to create a spectacular bloom display throughout the warm season. Depending on the variety, hydrangeas and roses bloom simultaneously in endless color combinations to enliven the summer garden.

Growing Conditions

Roses and hydrangeas thrive in temperate climates.

Fortunately for our gardens, many roses and hydrangeas have similar cultural requirements. Roses and hydrangeas need the same amount of water to thrive (about one inch to two inches per week, depending on seasonal conditions), and both prefer evenly moist, organically rich, well-draining soils. They vary in light requirements; some roses flourish only in full sun, while hydrangeas require partial to full shade, depending on climate. 

So, to grow roses and hydrangeas together, we need to pay special attention to sun exposure. In cooler, northern climates, roses and hydrangeas tolerate full sun with regular soil moisture. In warmer, southern climates, they benefit from afternoon shade or dappled light—especially essential for hydrangeas

Pairing Roses and Hydrangeas

Utilize a variety of forms and colors for versatile landscaping options.

For the best of both plant worlds, we’ve combined roses that tolerate partial shade with sun-tolerant hydrangeas for our planting combinations. Both will grow and bloom in partial shade (at least four hours of sunlight). We’ve also picked the best for garden performance and disease resistance for triumphant rose and hydrangea combinations.

The most fun part of choosing these rose and hydrangea pairings is their dynamic beauty. Our list reflects a variety of rose forms, from dwarf to climbing and hydrangeas with a range of heights and flower shapes. Contrasting and analogous colors are key to a winsome display. All of these variations ensure sprays of color with complementary selections for hedges, grouped plantings, privacy screens, borders, and accents.

‘Iceberg’ Rose and ‘Big Daddy’ Hydrangea

This classic combination pairs a crisp white climbing rose with a large-blooming mophead hydrangea in either sky blue or delicate pink. ‘Iceberg’ rose brings robust growth and vertical interest to rise above a complementary hydrangea base.

‘Big Daddy’ is a bigleaf hydrangea whose flower color varies depending on soil pH. Acidic soils yield blue blooms, while alkaline soils produce pink tones. These color fields combine beautifully with ‘Iceberg’ roses for a lovely, soft arrangement. To adjust flower color, amend your soil with either aluminum sulfate for blue or lime for pink, and do so in advance of blooming (fall or winter are good times to amend).

‘Iceberg’ roses and ‘Big Daddy’ hydrangeas repeat flower and sustain a long bloom time. Enjoy this cooling combination throughout many warm seasons with this long-lived blooming duo. 

‘Iceberg’ Rose

A close-up of delicate white 'Iceberg' roses, highlighted against a soft, blurred backdrop of more blossoms.
This rose is known for continual flowering on old wood.
botanical-name botanical name Rosa ‘KORbin’
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 3-12’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 5-9

‘Iceberg’ climbing rose ushers in a profusion of cascading white blooms from late spring through frost. ‘Iceberg’ cools the summer display with sprays of semi-double flowers with pale pink centers. Pollinators enjoy the bright blooms and their light honey perfume.

Climbing ‘Iceberg’ rose grows quickly with long, pliable stems that train easily. The climbing rose is a sport of the high-performing floribunda rose ‘Iceberg,’ featuring continual flowering, attractive foliage, and easy-care growing.

‘Iceberg’ rose is a recipient of the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit for its nonstop flowering and hardy stock. It’s a climbing rose that thrives with a bit of neglect, tolerant of dappled light (perfect for growing alongside hydrangeas) and less-than-ideal conditions. It blooms on old wood, so no fussy pruning except to train or remove dead canes.

‘Big Daddy’ Hydrangea

A close-up of blue 'Big Daddy' hydrangea flowers surrounded by green and yellowing leaves.
The ‘Big Daddy’ hydrangea blooms prolifically on both old and new growth.
botanical-name botanical name Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Big Daddy’
sun-requirements sun requirements Partial to full shade
height height 5-6’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 6-9

‘Big Daddy’ hydrangea delights in the heat of summer with gorgeous mophead blooms in blue or pink depending on soil acidity (blue) and alkalinity (pink). Glossy, large leaves complement the impressive blooms with a lush backdrop.

‘Big Daddy’ blooms on old and new wood, so there’s an early season flush of blooms from last year’s stems and continued flowering from buds set on fresh growth. This vigorous producer reblooms throughout summer until fall for a long-lasting display.

Bigleaf hydrangeas thrive in partial shade and need protection from direct afternoon sun. ‘Big Daddy’ tolerates less sun exposure in hot climates. This easy-care hydrangea grows best in rich, medium-moist soils with good drainage.

‘Sweet Drift’ Rose and ‘Limelight’ Hydrangea

A sweet and stunning combo, ‘Sweet Drift’ roses bring a dwarf groundcover rose in baby pink to showcase the tall backdrop of cloudlike white and chartreuse ‘Limelight’ hydrangea blooms.

‘Limelight’ is a panicle hydrangea, tough and one of the easiest hydrangeas to grow. Panicle hydrangeas tolerate more sun than other types of hydrangea, making this an excellent fit for its rose companions.

Arrange ‘Sweet Drift’ roses as a low-growing border in front of ‘Limelight’ hydrangeas for abundant color at varying heights. ‘Limelight’ complements a range of colors from bold to pastel; don’t hesitate to pair it with violets and rich reds, too

‘Sweet DriftⓇ’ Rose

A close-up of a vibrant pink 'Sweet Drift' rose nestled among lush, deep green leaves.
Drift roses like ‘Sweet Drift’ are low-maintenance and disease-resistant.
botanical-name botanical name Rosa ‘Meiswetdom’ PP21,612
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 1-2’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 4-8

DriftⓇ roses are groundcover roses with florific vigor. Rosa ‘Sweet Drift’ creates a carpet of soft pink double blooms among dark green, lustrous foliage. Clusters of the petite flowers bloom nonstop from spring until the first hard frost.

Exceptionally easy to care for and disease-resistant, Drift roses withstand high heat, humidity, and cold winters. They bloom best in full sun but tolerate partial shade (with at least four hours of sun daily).

Rosa ‘Sweet Drift’ yields cupped blooms with up to 35 petals per flower. These gold medal winners make excellent mass plantings for the front of the border and along walkways, bringing soft, neutral tones amidst other blooming plants.

‘Limelight’ Hydrangea

Two clusters of 'Limelight' hydrangeas, featuring white and green petals, stand out vividly against a softly blurred backdrop of leafy trees.
Choose this hydrangea as a compact option among Drift roses.
botanical-name botanical name Hydrangea paniculata ‘Limelight’
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 6-8’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 4-8

‘Limelight’ is an award-winning, favorite panicle hydrangea that brings a big show to the mid-summer garden with lasting interest into fall. Massive pyramidal blooms in creamy white and chartreuse age to pink and dusky rose as the season progresses.

The stately growers make excellent hedges, screens, or specimen plantings. ‘Limelight’ is a reliable bloomer and durable garden performer. As a panicle hydrangea, it tolerates more sun exposure than other varieties, even in southern climates, but still appreciates afternoon shade in warm regions. Provide well-draining soils for plants to thrive.

If there’s a drawback to ‘Limelight’s’ largess, it’s that the heavy blooms can weigh stems down. ‘Limelight Prime’, a newer cultivar, offers improvements over the original. Plants grow four to six feet tall with sturdier stems to hold the weighty blooms upright. Flowers emerge earlier in the season for a long-lasting bloom time, beginning greenish-white and maturing to rich pinks and reds for vibrant color.

For a more compact grower, opt for ‘Little Lime’. Robust blooms top strong stems that resist drooping. ‘Little Lime’ reaches three to five feet tall for a spray of blooms to rise above Drift roses. It has the same beautiful ‘Limelight’ green and ivory flowers that transition to pink hues and last well into fall.

Lastly, we can’t overlook H. paniculata ‘Bobo’ for a dwarf panicle hydrangea to plant among Drift roses, as they’re similar in height. To punch up the garden border, pair ‘Bobo’ with ‘Sweet Drift’ for plumes of bright white blooms among the clear pink roses.

‘The Poet’s Wife’ Rose and ‘Twist-n-Shout’ Hydrangea

This hydrangea-rose pairing is a cheerful combination of sunshine yellow roses and either periwinkle blue and violet or pink and rose-toned hydrangeas. The rose and hydrangea options feature color-saturated blooms, and the deep lemon-yellow roses contrast rich blue or pink for a summery swirl of color.

‘The Poet’s Wife’ is an English shrub rose with an early summer to early fall bloom season. ‘Twist-n-Shout’, a bigleaf hydrangea in the Endless SummerⓇ collection, boasts a prolonged bloom time. ‘The Poet’s Wife’ brings a high fragrance to the garden, while ‘Twist-n-Shout’s’ lacecap blooms attract pollinators.

‘The Poet’s Wife’ Rose

Yellow 'The Poet’s Wife' roses in close-up, showcasing delicate petals adorned with glistening dew drops.
This features yellow blooms that deepen in fragrance and color over time.
botanical-name botanical name Rosa ‘AUSwhirl’
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 4’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 4-9

‘The Poet’s Wife’ is a David Austin rose introduction, encompassing his signature romantic rose flower, high fragrance, and attractive shrub form.

The blooms are a rich, sunshine yellow, fading to paler shades over time. The delicious fragrance—with a hint of lemon—becomes sweeter and stronger as the bloom matures.

Gently arching canes hold the gorgeous flowers among shiny, rich leaves in a rounded, full shrub form. ‘The Poet’s Wife’ is disease-resistant and blooms all season to brighten the garden border.

‘Twist-n-ShoutⓇ’ Hydrangea

Violet 'Twist-n-Shout' hydrangeas surrounded by green leaves, illuminated by the warm, golden rays of sunlight.
These cold-hardy bigleaf hydrangeas thrive in afternoon shade.
botanical-name botanical name Hydrangea macrophylla ‘PIIHM-I’ PP20,176
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 3-5’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 4-9

‘Twist-n-Shout’ dazzles the garden with lacecap blooms in hues of rosy pinks or violet blues, depending on the soil pH. The plants bloom profusely from top to bottom and flower continuously throughout the season. 

Sturdy stems in rich red hold the blooms upright\ and add visual interest through contrast. Dense foliage in lush, dark green allows blooms to stand out.

These cold hardy growers (zones 4-9) are reliable bloomers and garden performers. Like other bigleaf hydrangeas, they require afternoon shade or dappled light for best growth, especially in areas with hot summers.

‘Bliss Parfuma’ Rose and ‘Bluebird’ Hydrangea

A softly glowing apricot rose meets cool blues, violets, and white lacecap hydrangeas in this lovely planting combination. The color scheme exudes peaceful peachy warmth and soothing blues. As a bonus, ‘Bliss’ brings a sweet fragrance to the arrangement.

With repeat-flowering, similar heights, and growth habits, ‘Bliss’ roses and ‘Bluebird’ hydrangeas co-mingle beautifully in the mixed planting arrangement. Intersperse them for a profusion of long-lasting, complementary blooms.

‘Bliss ParfumaⓇ’ Rose

A close-up of a 'Bliss Parfuma' rose showcasing its delicate peach-hued petals.
The ‘Bliss’ is prized for its beautiful cut flowers.
botanical-name botanical name Rosa ‘KORmarzau’
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 2-3’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 5-9

‘Bliss’ is an irresistible rose with romantic cupped blooms loaded with petals and a light, fruity fragrance. Clusters of flowers bloom in spring through frost in shades of creamy pink with apricot centers. 

A Kordes rose, ‘Bliss’ bears the cold-hardy and disease-resistant of its floribunda lineage. It tolerates partial shade to full sun. ‘Bliss’ grows as a compact shrub, and its tidy form makes it an excellent choice for growing with hydrangeas.

This variety makes a beautiful cut flower with picture-perfect ruffled rose petals. ‘Bliss’ won the International Rose Trials at the Biltmore for top performance among garden roses for the home gardener.

‘Bluebird’ Hydrangea

A close-up of 'Bluebird' hydrangea showing intricate blue buds and flowers, highlighted against a backdrop of lush green leaves.
Mountain hydrangeas like ‘Bluebird’ and ‘Tuff Stuff’ are compact.
botanical-name botanical name Hydrangea serrata ‘Bluebird’
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 3-4’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 6-9

‘Bluebird’ is a mountain hydrangea with lovely lacecap flowers that cascade among large, glossy leaves. Depending on soil pH, light blue florets surround deeper blue flowers. ‘Bluebird’ blooms throughout summer until frost.

Mountain hydrangeas resemble bigleaf hydrangeas in bloom and foliage but are more compact in form, making them a good match for the ‘Bliss Parfuma’ rose in habit and height. A striking characteristic of ‘Bluebird’ is its brilliant red fall color. 

‘Bluebird’ is a recipient of the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit. Another strong mountain hydrangea cultivar is ‘Tuff Stuff’, which is slightly smaller but a durable and readily available performer. Blue hydrangea tones offer the best complement for pairing with ‘Bliss Parfuma’ roses.

‘Souvenir de la Malmaison’ Rose and ‘Invincibelle Sublime’ Hydrangea

For a duo overflowing with old garden charm, opt for a historic rose and an antique-shade hydrangea bloom. ‘Souvenir de la Malmaison’ is an antique rose selection with characteristic heirloom vigor and health, repeat flowering, and lush, pale pink flowers to contrast the spritely lime hues of the smooth hydrangea ‘Invincibelle Sublime’.

The blooms of both selections are beautiful on the plants and in fresh and dried floral arrangements. They invoke a nostalgic, old-world intrigue. Another excellent heirloom rose option is Rosa ‘Duchesse de Brabant’, with cupped double blooms in rose pink. Introduced in 1857, ‘Duchesse de Brabant’ is an Earth-KindⓇ rose rigorously tested for improved landscape performance and requiring little irrigation and no spray for pests and diseases.

‘Souvenir de la Malmaison’ Rose

Soft pink petals of the 'Souvenir de la Malmaison' rose contrast beautifully with the lush, deep green foliage.
Heavy rain can cause this plant’s flowers to droop.
botanical-name botanical name Rosa ‘Souvenir de la Malmaison’
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 4-5’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 5-9

A gorgeous Bourbon rose introduced in 1843, ‘Souvenir de la Malmaison’ boasts large, cupped blooms and high fragrance. Flowers in the prettiest shade of soft ballet pink hold more than 70 petals and open flat and quartered. Blooms recur from spring through fall.

‘Souvenir’ remains a favorite old garden rose, an award winner prized by rosarians as perhaps the best of the Bourbons. Large, leathery foliage makes a handsome backdrop, and showy rose hips emerge in the fall. Look for the climbing variety to make a pretty vertical element.

‘Souvenir de la Malmaison’ is a vigorous, nearly thornless, hardy, and disease-resistant rose. Once established, it tolerates heat and periods of drought. ‘Souvenir’s’ only price to bear is that with such large blooms, heavy rain may impact the flowers, causing them to droop or fall. 

‘Invincibelle Sublime’ Hydrangea 

Lush clusters of 'Invincibelle Sublime' hydrangeas surrounded by leaves, creating a dense foliage arrangement.
This benefits from morning sun and afternoon shade in hot climates.
botanical-name botanical name Hydrangea arborescens ‘SMNHRL’ PP34,418
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 3.5-5’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3-9

‘Invincibelle Sublime’ is a cultivar of the native North American smooth hydrangea H. arborescens. Unique in the landscape, it has very dark, lush foliage and rich, mossy green, cream, and lime flowers. Each little ivory-lime floret has a delicate pink center. 

Smooth hydrangeas are cold-hardy and sun-tolerant. They set buds on new wood, making them reliable bloomers even after cold winters. As hydrangeas do, they’ll appreciate the morning sun and afternoon shade in hot growing areas.

‘Invincibelle Sublime’ has sturdy stems for an upright form. The large mophead blooms repeat flower into fall.

Swamp Rose and ‘Snow Queen’ Hydrangea

Swamp roses and oakleaf hydrangea are both native species. They make a terrific pair for a showy and naturalized aesthetic. Use these two to blur the garden from stylized to loose and natural. These selections do well in wild garden edges with room to grow and bloom.

Swamp rose and oakleaf hydrangea bloom in early summer. Oakleaf hydrangea flowers transition to dusky pink and green in late summer. Cultivars of swamp rose, like ‘Repeating Swamp Rose,’ have recurring blooms; oakleaf hydrangea cultivars, like ‘Snow Queen,’ feature improved form and robust flowering.

Swamp Rose

a rosa palustris, growing wild, with pink blooms
The swamp rose thrives in shady, moist environments like rain gardens.
botanical-name botanical name Rosa palustris
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 3-6’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 4-9

The native swamp rose features fragrant, single blooms in early summer. The flowers are a sweet light pink with yellow centers. Foliage is an attractive dark green and turns vibrant red in fall. Clusters of round, crimson hips persist into winter.

Like hydrangeas, swamp roses tolerate canopy cover and partial shade. They’re well suited to hot and humid environments. Swamp roses grow in moist soils and tolerate sites that experience occasional water, such as ponds, lakes, marshes, and rain gardens. 

Swamp roses grow vigorously and bloom profusely. They’re excellent for naturalized garden areas and wilder garden zones. The flowers, hips, and canes of swamp roses provide pollen, forage, and shelter for butterflies, other pollinators, birds, and small mammals.

‘Snow Queen’ Hydrangea

Sunlit 'Snow Queen' hydrangea cluster, showcasing intricate white blooms up close, bathed in golden sunlight.
Its foliage turns vibrant red and burgundy in autumn.
botanical-name botanical name Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Flemygea’
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 4-6’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 5-9

‘Snow Queen’ is a cultivar of the North American oakleaf hydrangea. It has long pyramidal blooms—some reaching one foot long—of pure white flowers that take on pink and purple tones as the season progresses. The flowers emerge in spring and last into early summer.

‘Snow Queen’ resembles the straight H. quercifolia species but with a tidier, rounded, upright habit, more prominent blooms, and sturdier stems. Deeply lobed foliage turns vibrant red and burgundy in the fall. Oakleaf hydrangeas have exfoliating bark in coppery brown that adds winter interest.

Oakleaf hydrangeas are carefree growers with a naturalized appeal. Native to the southeastern U.S., they tolerate hot summer conditions. They thrive in moist, well-drained soils with mulch, compost, or leaves to aid in retaining moisture and regulating soil temperatures.

Look for the ‘GatsbyⓇ’ series when pairing oakleaf hydrangea with roses. ‘Gatsby’ oakleaf hydrangeas boast huge double blooms in white or pink on large shrubs. Dwarf varieties like ‘Pee Wee’ and ‘Munchkin’ bring low-growing cuteness to the summer display.

‘Cramoisi Supérieur’ Rose and ‘Incrediball’ Hydrangea

We must include a bold red among our rose selections, and ‘Cramoisi Supérieur’ is an old garden favorite with rich red flowers. ‘Cramoisi Supérieur’ grows vigorously and performs well in partial shade.

‘Incrediball’ hydrangea is a smooth hydrangea with enormous round flower clusters in bright white, poised for a stunning contrast in color and texture to the velvety red roses of ‘Cramoisi’.

The vigorous red rose may grow slightly taller at maturity than the ‘Incrediball’ hydrangea. Intersperse the pairing for an opulent display of bright blooms. In white, ‘Incrediball’ complements an array of colorful blooms; it’s hard to pin it down to one rose!

‘Cramoisi Supérieur’ Rose

A close-up of a vibrant red 'Cramoisi Supérieur' rose, set against a softly blurred backdrop of additional blossoms and verdant leaves.
This historic rose is prized in gardens for its velvety blooms.
botanical-name botanical name Rosa ‘Cramoisi Supérieur’
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 4-6’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 6-10

This old China rose has violet-crimson flowers, cupped and fully double, with a silvery sheen on the reverse. Flowers repeat from spring through frost on thick, shrubby stock.

Cultivation of ‘Cramoisi Supérieur’ began in Belgium in the 1800s and was introduced in France in 1834. In modern gardens, growers celebrate its velvety blooms, high fragrance, and hardy form. 

This historic rose is disease-resistant and tolerates heat and drought conditions. It thrives in southern climates, even in high humidity. For best vigor, it grows in part shade with at least four hours of sun.

‘IncrediballⓇ’ Hydrangea

A close-up of 'Incrediball' hydrangea blooms; their petals pristine white, illuminated by the golden rays of sunlight.
Grow ‘Incrediball’ hydrangeas in six hours of daily sunlight.
botanical-name botanical name Hydrangea arborescens ‘Incrediball’
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 4-5’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3-8

‘IncrediballⓇ’ is a smooth hydrangea with showstopping globe blooms in white and chartreuse. With age, the blooms transition from bright white to soft green. ‘Incrediball’ is a cultivar of the native species and an improved variety over the classic ‘Annabelle’ smooth hydrangea. It features strong stems to hold the hefty blooms aloft. 

The giant blooms appear in midsummer and persist through frost. The rose companion will start the flower display, while ‘Incrediball’ develops to steal the show.

For the most vigorous stems and flowering, grow ‘Incrediball’ hydrangeas in at least six hours of sunlight daily. In warm climates, allow more shade. Morning sun with afternoon shade or dappled light is ideal. ‘Incrediball’ are low-maintenance growers.

Final Thoughts:

The list could go on and on as we delight in pairing hydrangeas and roses based on their aesthetic qualities and winnow down the list based on similar growing requirements. 

A note about growing roses and hydrangeas: since both are deciduous specimens, consider balancing the arrangement with interspersed evergreens or a boxwood border. A mixed planting adds multi-season interest and contrasting texture to the flowering arrangement.

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