Cistus plants are easy to care for shrubs belonging to the Cistaceae family and are commonly referred to as Rockrose.

These plants are often used for groundcover; however, some varieties grow in a mounding habit or even stand erect and are used as low hedges or specimen plants.

There are about twenty species of Rockroses, and they come from a variety of Mediterranean settings including the Caucasus mountains, the Mediterranean basin, and the Canary Islands.

Rockroses genus name, Cistus, comes from the Greek word kistos, which means “evergreen shrub.“

Rockrose is so-called because the blooms resemble old-fashioned, single peddled roses and they prefer growing in rocky settings.

Cistus Plant Care

Size & Growth

There are quite a few varieties of Cistus plants.

Some are dwarf varieties growing only about a foot high, and some are full-grown shrubs reaching a height of 7’ feet.

Plants may grow in a flat, spreading, groundcover manner. Alternately, they may grow in large mounds several feet high.

Some even grow upright as small bushes or trees.

Leaves grow in an opposing manner and range in color from mid-green to dark green. Some may even have a grayish hue.

The leaves are aromatic like several other Mediterranean herbs (e.g., lavender or rosemary).

On warm days, it’s pleasant to walk along the path lined with Rockroses and enjoy the leaves‘ aroma.

In some species, the aromatic substance produced by the leaves also gives them an attractive shiny appearance.

Plants may even be rather sticky when the substance is produced in abundance.

Flowering & Fragrance

The plant is an evergreen producing a great number of rose-like blooms throughout the spring and summer months.

Flowers come in colors ranging from pure white to pink to lavender.

Rockrose ’s fragrant, wild rose-like blossoms usually open in the morning hours and last only a few hours at a time.

When the sun rises again, new blooms will take their place.

The blooming season lasts for two or three weeks during the spring and summer.

A few species bloom off and on throughout the spring and summer months.

Some species of Rockrose sport an attractive brownish or reddish spot at the base of each petal.

Light & Temperature

This hardy plant likes lots of sun and will not thrive (or even survive) in the shade.

For wildscaping, plant Rockroses in the full sun in areas where they may receive no natural water in the summertime.

Some of the best locations are dry banks or west or south-facing walls.

The most important considerations when choosing a location are well-draining soil and bright sun.

Rockrose is winter hardy in USDA hardiness zones 6 through 10.

Watering & Feeding

It takes about a year for Rockrose to establish itself. During this time, you should water weekly.

Provide deep watering to encourage the development of deep roots.

In the plants’ second year, reduce watering to one thorough watering every third week.

Be sure to soak the soil completely and drench the entire root ball. Be careful not to overwater as this may encourage excessive growth, as well as fungal diseases.

Limit feeding Rockrose to once per year. Use a slow-release, general-purpose fertilizer intended for flowering plants. Granulated fertilizer works best.

Sprinkle it on the ground underneath the plant and rake it into the top of the soil to a depth of about an inch.

After fertilizing, provide a thorough watering to help the fertilizer soak into the soil.

Soil & Transplanting

The plant does well in poor soil and tolerates very dry conditions. Gravelly, well-draining soil is preferred.

When planting, be sure to cut through circling roots using sharp shears or a knife.

Massage the roots to encourage them to spread rather than remaining confined to the planting hole.

Plant Rockrose during the autumn months, early enough to allow them to establish roots before winter arrives.

When you do this, you may not need to irrigate as much (or even at all) when spring and summer arrives.

Grooming & Maintenance

At the end of the season, pinch the entire plant back a bit to encourage more growth in the coming season.

Early in the springtime, examine your plants carefully and remove any stems damaged during the winter.

Avoid severe pruning as this is damaging to Rockrose plants.

These plants bloom on woody growth, so avoid cutting it back before the winter months.

When plants become old and excessively woody, they may stop blooming.

When this happens, you need to remove those plants and replant young plants.

Alternately, leave the older plants in place and just continue to enjoy the scent of the leaves.

And then start a new Cistus patch in another location.

More on Cistus Varieties to consider:

  • Cistus purpureus
  • Cistus Ladanifer

How To Propagate Rockrose

Propagate this plant with wood cuttings.

  • During the summer months, trim new growth shoots 3” – 4” inches long.
  • Dip the cutting into rooting hormone and poke it into clean potting medium in a small pot.
  • Place the cutting in a warm, still, sunny area.
  • Water it once a week during the summer, autumn and winter months.

It should be ready for planting in its permanent location come springtime.

Rockrose Pest or Diseases

If overwatered or kept in a low light area, Rockrose may suffer from aphids.

Is The Roserose Considered Toxic, Poisonous or Invasive?

Rockrose is considered safe.

In areas where the plant is winter hardy, some species (especially Cistus ladanifer or Gum Rockrose) may be considered invasive, according to this Invasive Weed Field Guide from the US Parks Service.

Suggested Cistus Plant Uses

Rockrose is a good choice for a seaside garden as it can tolerate salt spray and cold, windy conditions.

Rockroses are a good choice for adding a ground cover to dry, gravelly banks.

As the name implies, they make an excellent addition to any rock garden.

Rockrose makes a good addition to a perennial type herb garden featuring aromatic herbs such as lavender and rosemary.

Rockroses are a natural choice for xeriscaping.

Use them as a groundcover underneath drought-resistant shrubs.

If you live in an area where Manzanita trees grow naturally, Rockrose makes a nice understory.

Rose (Rock)

Pavonia lasiopetala

Rock rose (Pavonia lasiopetala) is a tough little native beauty that usually gets about 2 feet tall, but can get much taller. And it spreads nicely, filling out to around 3 feet wide.

Pavonia is covered with pink blooms from spring to fall, even during the brutal 100 degree stretches that we see so often these days. The on-going flowers feed bees, butterflies, and other beneficial insects.

The flowers are very simple, with 5 large petals and a distinct central column formed by the fused pistil and yellow stamens. The rock rose flower might remind you of the larger flowers of a hibiscus, and for good reason. They’re both in the same plant family: the Malvaceae, better known as the mallow family.

Rock rose is native to rocky, disturbed soils, hence its name, so be sure that it gets plenty of drainage in your garden. And it is a prolific reseeder, a strategy that ensures its continued existence through tough times. If planted in flower beds that you prefer to remain nice and tidy, you’ll be spending a fair amount of time pulling errant rock rose seedlings. So you may want to put this plant in a more natural, free-form area of the garden.

Pavonia thrives in the sun, but can be perfectly happy in part shade. And with just a little bit of supplemental irrigation, maybe once a week or so, during the driest of times, it keeps right on growing through our awful heat. It does tend to wilt during the day, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it needs water. You’ll notice that it’s right back to its cheery self the next morning, without any irrigation at all.

Rock rose is also prone to powdery mildew, but just ignore it. The plant certainly does.

Prune it now and then to restore its shape and promote new growth. You can do a harder prune in late winter. If you want to move its offspring that seed nearby, do so in the cooler months.

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  • Native Plants

Cistus – Solid as a Rock Rose

Cistus, includes over 20 species of mostly compact, evergreen branching and spreading shrubs native to the Mediterranean. Very well known shrubbery and garden plants in the Mediterranean’s warmer regions where they have grown since antiquity.
While some consider them course and unattractive Cistus are famous for their ability to flower profusely in poor, sandy, rocky ground, very dry spots, and when exposed to hot or chilling dry winds and coastal extremes. Their leaves are rather simple and olive or medium green and usually hairy, sometimes sticky. Flowers are large and simple five petaled nearly round blooms mostly in shades of mauve, pink, purple, occasionally yellow or salmon orange and classic white.
Many flowers feature a dark purple, red-purple or pink spot near the central base of each petal. The simple petal structure surrounded by many yellow stamens is reminiscent of a simple Rugosa, Beach or Coastal Rose which are also native species to the same coastal rocky regions of the Mediterranean, thus their common name: Rock Rose.

Once established, the Rock Rose is extremely drought resistant and somewhat cold hardy. They are excellent in baking hot locations and will withstand rather extreme coastal conditions, even salt spray and battering coast winds. But they are intolerant of cold, slushy wintry weather and often collapse when cold, wet, wintry weather combined with low light conditions persist. Limited cold, dry and sunny Winters that are more suggestive of their Mediterranean heritage will suit them well.
Their climate range extends through the entire Mediterranean and similar climatic regions around the world. They are excellent in rather arid climates with some artificial watering and will tolerate several degrees of frost and limited freezing provided the ground remains rather dry and sunny.
Cistus will perform well in rich soils, but avoid wet spots and close, humid environments or humid tropical heat. Nor do they like acid soils. Give them very open and limy land. Enriched land with Dolomite lime is often all they need. They do much better in very well drained soil and sometimes even very arid and poor land. In such positions they produce an active and spreading root system that sustains them through droughty periods.
This makes them excellent plants for coastal and slope erosion control. Yet the same plant grown in enriched and permanently moist garden soil will often thrive but put down very few roots. This makes them easily knocked out by roaming animals, misplaced Gardeners feet and strong winds.
While Cistus will survive some limited shading, their growing position must remain airy and dry or they soon succumb to leaf blight and root rot plus flowering is more limited and of lesser quality. The Rock Rose is one of those shrubs that thrive in full, strong year-round sunlight. Anything less produces somewhat inferior results. It is possibly for this reason that they sometimes receive an unfavourable reputation.
For when planted in an over-grown shrubbery border, or shrub and tree garden where they ultimately become crowed or overshadowed, they eventually thin out, weaken and produce less than spectacular flowering. This shrub stands out in the exposed and open situations that many other shrubs cannot tolerate.
Cistus is easily transplanted from containers anytime from Late Autumn through Spring. Mid Spring is an excellent time to plant Cistus for a handsome, bold show of colour starting almost immediately this Spring and continuing into Summer. But plan carefully where they are to grow, for Cistus is notoriously difficult to shift and transplant once it becomes established in the garden. Yet it is remarkably easy to transplant from established containers provided there is little or any major root disturbance.
When planting Cistus make sure the root ball sits at about the same level in the ground as it was in the pot. Avoid planting the root ball too deeply; or letting the root ball sink into the ground creating a depression that would collect excessive water around the plant. Planting on a small mound or sloping site guarantees the perfect drainage they need.

Once planted, firm the soil around the root ball and water in thoroughly to ensure there are no air pockets around the root ball that might dry the roots out or become a convenient home for rodents. Because these are sun-loving plants for exposed places, check regularly to ensure that the newly-planted Cistus does not dry out until its roots take hold and become established in their new location. Once all signs of wilting stop, the Rock Rose will need little if any maintenance.
Because the shrubs are relatively dense, low and spreading (usually 2-4ft/60-120cm; a few varieties 5-8ft/150cm-2.6m) they need little more than corrective pruning to remove diseased or misshapened growth. To keep them in a bushier condition, lightly shape and trim the shrubs by cutting off a few inches/centimetres of growth immediately after flowering. This shrub resents severe pruning. Branches should never be cut back beyond the last leaf or that bare stem will usually die.
To maintain compact growth on an established larger shrub species simply prune out a few canes right to the base each year, usually in Spring, allowing them to sprout dense new growth from the shrubbery crown. This new growth will soon fill out the shrub in preparation for flowering the following Spring and Summer.
Cistus make an excellent low border, foundation or hedge planting. The taller species make wonderful coastal windbreaks. Low species are excellent in the rockery, as a mass planting on banks, or cliffs and as a hardy container plant for half barrels, landscape planters and larger tubs.
Because of their preference for drier locations, Cistus seldom lasts for very long in smaller containers that must be frequently watered. Choose a larger container that always remain more evenly moist. Wherever there is the need for something colourful, evergreen, hardy and low maintenance there this little that will compare to the durability and rock-solid performance of the Rock Rose!

Rockrose Care: How To Grow Rockrose Plants In The Garden

If you’re looking for a tough shrub that thrives on neglect, try rockrose plants (Cistus). This fast-growing evergreen shrub stands up to heat, strong winds, salt spray and drought without complaint, and once established it needs very little care.

What is Rockrose?

Native to the Mediterranean, rockrose plants have soft green foliage that varies in shape depending on the species. Large, fragrant flowers bloom for about a month in late spring and early summer. Each blossom lasts only a day, and may be pink, rose, yellow or white, depending on the species.

Use rockrose shrubs in dry areas as a xeriscaping plant or in coastal areas where they tolerate sandy soil, salt spray and strong winds. These 3- to 5-foot shrubs make an attractive, informal hedgerow. Rockrose plants are particularly useful for erosion control on dry banks.

Rockrose Information

There are about 20 species of rockrose that grow in the Mediterranean, but only a few are in cultivation in North America. Here are some great choices:

  • Purple Rockrose (Cistus x purpureus) grows 4 feet tall with a spread of up to 5 feet and a compact, rounded shape. The large flowers are deep rose or purple. The shrub is attractive enough to use as a specimen, and it also looks great in groups. This species is sometimes called orchid rockrose.
  • Sun Rose (Cistus albidus) grows 3 feet tall and wide with a dense, bushy habit. The dark lilac-pink flowers have yellow centers. Older plants may become leggy and it’s best to replace them rather than try to prune them into shape.
  • White Rockrose (Cistus corbariensis) has cheery white flowers, usually with yellow centers and sometimes with brown spots near the base of the petals. It grows 4 to 5 feet tall and wide.

Rockrose Care

Nothing could be easier than growing rockrose. Plant the shrubs in a location with full sun and deep soil where they can put down spreading roots. They grow in almost any type of soil as long as it drains freely, including poor soils where other shrubs struggle to take hold. Rockrose plants are hardy in USDA plant hardiness zones 8 through 11.

Water rockrose plants regularly during their first growing season. Once established, they never need watering or fertilization.

They resent heavy pruning, so it’s best to limit routine trimming to the minimum necessary to repair winter damage and correct the shape. As the branches age, they become weak and stop bearing flowers. Remove older branches by cutting them away at the base. Prune soon after the flowers fade to preserve the buds that will form next year’s flowers.

Rockroses Stock Photos and Images

(214) Narrow your search: Black & white | Page 1 of 3

  • Orchid Rockroses (Cistus x purpureus), flower, Provence, Southern France, France
  • Rockroses
  • Large white rockroses
  • Rockroses
  • French lavender (Lavandula stoechas), Lavender and Gum Rockroses, Spain, Extremadura
  • Large white rockroses.
  • Rockroses
  • Large white rockroses
  • Rockroses
  • White rockroses
  • Tinktur aus Zistrosen, Zistrosen-Tinktur, Zistrosentinktur, alkoholischer Auszug, Tinkturen, tincture, paint. Graubehaarte Zistrose, Graubehaarte Cist
  • PINK ROCK ROSE (CISTUS PURPUREUS)
  • Cistus ladanifer. Gum rockrose flowers.
  • Räuchern mit getrockneten Zistrosen, Räucherritual, verräuchern, Duftkräuter, Duft, Räucher-Stövchen, Räucherstövchen, Räuchergefäß, Smoking, Smoking
  • PINK ROCK ROSE (CISTUS PURPUREUS)
  • Cistus ladanifer. Gum rockrose flowers.
  • Zistrosen-Tee, Zistrosentee, Tee aus Zistrosen, Heiltee, Kräutertee, Blütentee, Abkochung, herb tea, herbal tea, tea. Graubehaarte Zistrose, Graubehaa
  • Cistus ladanifer. Gum rockrose flower.
  • Summer Garden – with Helianthemums in the foreground SUM067648
  • Tinktur aus Zistrosen, Zistrosen-Tinktur, Zistrosentinktur, alkoholischer Auszug, Tinkturen, tincture, paint. Graubehaarte Zistrose, Graubehaarte Cist
  • Cistus ladanifer. Gum rockrose flower.
  • Many Orchid Pink Rockroses Green Leaves Close up Macro
  • Tinktur aus Zistrosen, Zistrosen-Tinktur, Zistrosentinktur, alkoholischer Auszug, Tinkturen, tincture, paint. Graubehaarte Zistrose, Graubehaarte Cist
  • Cistus ladanifer. Gum rockrose flowers.
  • Many Orchid Pink Rockroses Green Leaves Close up Macro
  • Tinktur aus Zistrosen, Zistrosen-Tinktur, Zistrosentinktur, alkoholischer Auszug, Tinkturen, tincture, paint. Graubehaarte Zistrose, Graubehaarte Cist
  • Cistus creticus flowers.
  • Many Orchid Pink Rockroses Green Leaves Close up Macro
  • Tinktur aus Zistrosen, Zistrosen-Tinktur, Zistrosentinktur, alkoholischer Auszug, Tinkturen, tincture, paint. Graubehaarte Zistrose, Graubehaarte Cist
  • Cistus ladanifer. Gum rockrose flowers.
  • Many Orchid Pink Rockroses Green Leaves Close up Macro.
  • Tinktur aus Zistrosen, Zistrosen-Tinktur, Zistrosentinktur, alkoholischer Auszug, Tinkturen, tincture, paint. Graubehaarte Zistrose, Graubehaarte Cist
  • Cistus creticus flowers.
  • Many Orchid Pink Rockroses Green Leaves Close up Macro.
  • Räuchern mit getrockneten Zistrosen, Räucherritual, verräuchern, Duftkräuter, Duft, Räucher-Stövchen, Räucherstövchen, Räuchergefäß, Smoking, Smoking
  • Cistus ladanifer. Gum rockrose flowers.
  • Many Orchid Pink Rockroses Green Leaves Close up Macro.
  • Räuchern mit getrockneten Zistrosen, Räucherritual, verräuchern, Duftkräuter, Duft, Räucher-Stövchen, Räucherstövchen, Räuchergefäß, Smoking, Smoking
  • Cistus x obtusifolius ‘Thrive’. Sun rockrose flowers.
  • Rockroses growing in a granite mountain. Photo taken in Iruelas Valley Natural Park, Avila, Spain
  • Zistrosen-Tee, Zistrosentee, Tee aus Zistrosen, Heiltee, Kräutertee, Blütentee, Abkochung, herb tea, herbal tea, tea. Graubehaarte Zistrose, Graubehaa
  • Cistus x obtusifolius ‘Thrive’. Sun rockrose flowers.
  • Rockroses, Cistus, Algarve, Portugal
  • Zistrosen-Tee, Zistrosentee, Tee aus Zistrosen, Heiltee, Kräutertee, Blütentee, Abkochung, herb tea, herbal tea, tea. Graubehaarte Zistrose, Graubehaa
  • Cistus purpueus. Newly opened, purple-flowered rock rose.
  • Rockrose
  • Zistrosen-Tee, Zistrosentee, Tee aus Zistrosen, Heiltee, Kräutertee, Blütentee, Abkochung, herb tea, herbal tea, tea. Graubehaarte Zistrose, Graubehaa
  • Cistus purpureus. Purple-flowered rock rose.
  • Rockrose
  • Zistrosen-Tee, Zistrosentee, Tee aus Zistrosen, Heiltee, Kräutertee, Blütentee, Abkochung, herb tea, herbal tea, tea. Graubehaarte Zistrose, Graubehaa
  • Cistus ladanifer. Gum rockrose flower.
  • Rockrose
  • Tinktur aus Zistrosen, Zistrosen-Tinktur, Zistrosentinktur, alkoholischer Auszug, Tinkturen, tincture, paint. Graubehaarte Zistrose, Graubehaarte Cist
  • Cistus ladanifer. Gum rockrose flower.
  • Rockrose
  • Zistrosen-Tee, Zistrosentee, Tee aus Zistrosen, Heiltee, Kräutertee, Blütentee, Abkochung, herb tea, herbal tea, tea. Graubehaarte Zistrose, Graubehaa
  • Cistus ladanifer. Gum rockrose flowers.
  • Rockrose
  • Tinktur aus Zistrosen, Zistrosen-Tinktur, Zistrosentinktur, alkoholischer Auszug, Tinkturen, tincture, paint. Graubehaarte Zistrose, Graubehaarte Cist
  • Red Rockrose
  • Common gum cistus / Gum rockrose (Cistus ladanifer) flowering on maquis covered slopes of the Serra de Monchique, Portugal.
  • Zistrosen-Tee, Zistrosentee, Tee aus Zistrosen, Heiltee, Kräutertee, Blütentee, Abkochung, herb tea, herbal tea, tea. Graubehaarte Zistrose, Graubehaa
  • Red Rockrose
  • Gold-fringed mason (Osmia aurulenta) nectaring on Rock rose (Cistus pulverulentus) in a garden, Kent, UK
  • Räuchern mit getrockneten Zistrosen, Räucherritual, verräuchern, Duftkräuter, Duft, Räucher-Stövchen, Räucherstövchen, Räuchergefäß, Smoking, Smoking
  • Rockrose
  • Close-up of Cistus salviifolius with raindrops
  • Zistrosen-Tee, Zistrosentee, Tee aus Zistrosen, Heiltee, Kräutertee, Blütentee, Abkochung, herb tea, herbal tea, tea. Graubehaarte Zistrose, Graubehaa
  • Sage cistus
  • Single bloom of rock rose (Cistus incanus) against blue and yellow background
  • Zistrosen-Tee, Zistrosentee, Tee aus Zistrosen, Heiltee, Kräutertee, Blütentee, Abkochung, herb tea, herbal tea, tea. Graubehaarte Zistrose, Graubehaa
  • Sage cistus
  • Close-up of a Cistus (incanus) bloom
  • Tinktur aus Zistrosen, Zistrosen-Tinktur, Zistrosentinktur, alkoholischer Auszug, Tinkturen, tincture, paint. Graubehaarte Zistrose, Graubehaarte Cist
  • Rockrose
  • Close-up of a Cistus (incanus) bloom
  • Zistrosen-Tee, Zistrosentee, Tee aus Zistrosen, Heiltee, Kräutertee, Blütentee, Abkochung, herb tea, herbal tea, tea. Graubehaarte Zistrose, Graubehaa
  • Poplar leaved cistus
  • Close-up of a Cistus (incanus) bloom
  • Räuchern mit getrockneten Zistrosen, Räucherritual, verräuchern, Duftkräuter, Duft, Räucher-Stövchen, Räucherstövchen, Räuchergefäß, Smoking, Smoking
  • Poplar leaved cistus
  • close up of a Cistus creticus Pink Rockrose or soft-hairy rockrose (syn Cistus incanus and Cistus villosus L.) Photographed in Israel Carmel mountains
  • Tinktur aus Zistrosen, Zistrosen-Tinktur, Zistrosentinktur, alkoholischer Auszug, Tinkturen, tincture, paint. Graubehaarte Zistrose, Graubehaarte Cist
  • Poplar leaved cistus
  • Cistus creticus Pink Rockrose or soft-hairy rockrose (syn Cistus incanus and Cistus villosus L.) Photographed in Israel Carmel mountains in May
  • Tinktur aus Zistrosen, Zistrosen-Tinktur, Zistrosentinktur, alkoholischer Auszug, Tinkturen, tincture, paint. Graubehaarte Zistrose, Graubehaarte Cist
  • Cistus purpureus. Purple-flowered rock rose.
  • Cistus creticus Pink Rockrose or soft-hairy rockrose (syn Cistus incanus and Cistus villosus L.) Photographed in Israel Carmel mountains in May
  • Tinktur aus Zistrosen, Zistrosen-Tinktur, Zistrosentinktur, alkoholischer Auszug, Tinkturen, tincture, paint. Graubehaarte Zistrose, Graubehaarte Cist
  • White Cistus Flower
  • Zistrosen-Ernte, Kräuterernte, Kräutersammeln, trocknen. Graubehaarte Zistrose, Graubehaarte Cistrose, Kretische Zistrose, Cistrose, Zistrose, Cistus
  • Landscape, Argolis, Peloponnese, Greece
  • Cistus
  • Zistrosen-Ernte, Kräuterernte, Kräutersammeln, trocknen. Graubehaarte Zistrose, Graubehaarte Cistrose, Kretische Zistrose, Cistrose, Zistrose, Cistus
  • Landscape, Argolis, Peloponnese, Greece
  • Cistus
  • Zistrosen-Ernte, Kräuterernte, Kräutersammeln, trocknen. Graubehaarte Zistrose, Graubehaarte Cistrose, Kretische Zistrose, Cistrose, Zistrose, Cistus
  • Landscape, Argolis, Peloponnese, Greece
  • Salbeiblättrige Zistrose, Salbeiblättrige Cistrose, Cistrose, Zistrose, Cistus salviifolius, sage-leaved rock-rose, salvia cistus, Gallipoli rose, roc
  • Cistus

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Cistaceae: Roses That Rock

Rock roses produce a simple, bight pink flower.

Hot, dry summers are a reality for many container plants throughout the world. In these locations, plant maintenance is easier when you choose plants that can tolerate drought and high temperatures. Rock roses are a prolific blooming plant that require very little moisture to thrive. They are attractive bushes that are an easy addition to container arrangements.

Characteristics

There are about twenty different species within the Cistus genus. They produce white, purple, pink and multicolored flowers. They range in habit from mounding to trailing. Some only grow about a foot tall while others reach upwards to four or five feet.

While many of the species are called rock roses, one of the most common Cistus species, albidus, produces a simple, brilliant pink flower from late spring through midsummer. The name rose refers to the resemblance of the flower to old fashioned single roses. Each flower only lasts one day but the plant produces plenty of flowers. Deadheading the flowers will help the plant stay attractive and promote the production of more blooms. This particular type of rock rose is a dense, evergreen shrub that grows between one and three feet tall. The bush has an attractive mounding habit and silvery colored leaves.

Care

To encourage a thick, bushy shrub pinch back the plant while it is young. You can pinch back the plant again each fall. Rock roses live up to their name and prefer dry, slightly acidic, nutrient poor soils. Make sure your soil allows plenty of drainage. You may need to stir some coarse sand or perlite into your potting medium to make sure water runs through quickly. Do not use organic material or compost in your potting medium for rock roses.

This bush requires full sun. They are perfect for open sunny spots that other plants cannot tolerate. They also tolerate drought very well. Take care not to over-water rock roses because they can be extremely susceptible to root rot. Over-watering can also cause the plant to send out new, lanky growth during the summer making the plant appear leggy.

Companion Plants

Place rock roses in their own large container or pair them with other plants that prefer sunny, dry locations. Rock roses work well with other Mediterranean plants such as lavender and rosemary. Salvia and solanum are also colorful, heat loving and drought tolerant plants that will thrive in similar conditions as rock roses.

Climate

The rock rose can survive as a perennial from year to year in a large container. The plant will tolerate temperatures as low as 15 degrees. If you live in a mild climate, you can leave the container outside. Those who use the plant in colder climates will need to store it in a sheltered area if you want to use it multiple years. Rock roses perform the best in places with hot, dry summers. They are well suited to the short, but warm and dry summers of the Pacific Northwest. They will also do well in the temperate, dry climates of southern California.

If you are looking for a plant that will tolerate a dry and sunny spot, rock roses will thrive and produce simple, bright color.

Have you had success growing rock roses in containers? What other container plants do you use in sunny spaces?

Sources

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