A group of hardy shrubs that provide abundant short-lived flowers all summer, with a delicate paper-like texture. They are excellent for an open sunny position, in poor soil.

Family: Cistaceae
Botanical Name: Cistus (sis-tus)
Common Names: rock rose, sun rose

Foliage: Evergreen simple leaves,

Flowers: Five petalled, bowl-shaped or flat open flowers. In shades of white, pink or purple. Long flowering season.

Flowering Period: Spring and early summer.

Soil: Well-drained soil (chalk, clay, sand or loam). Any pH.

Conditions: Full sun. Best grown in a south or west-facing aspect, in a sheltered location.

Habit: Bushy, low growing.

Type: Small shrub.

Origin: Mediterranean regions.

Hardiness: Hardy in mild regions of the UK. Susceptible to frost and wind damage in cold areas.

Planting and Growing Cistus

Plant in the spring but choose your site well as they do not like to be moved once established.

Grow in an open sunny position in any good, well drained, poorly nourished garden soil. Tolerates very poor dry soils with good drought resistance. Ideal for hot, dry slopes.

Provide protection from strong winds and severe frosts.

Taking Care of Cistus

Water thoroughly during dry weather until well established.

Dead-head regularly to prevent self-seeding and encourage further blooms.

Pruning Cistus

After flowering remove any dead or damaged wood and cut out any straggly growth.

Pests and Diseases

Generally pest and disease free. Aphids can be a problem on young growth.

Propagating Cistus

Seed can be sown outdoors in spring, although cultivars will not come true to type.

Take heel or softwood cuttings in summer and overwinter in a cold frame.

Popular Varieties of Cistus Grown in the UK

Cistus x corbariensis is a spreading shrub with white flowers with yellow centres. Height to 4ft (1.2m), spread to 9ft (2.7m).

Cistus x cyprius has large white flowers with a crimson spot at the base of each petal. Height and spread to 8ft (2.4m).

Cistus 'Silver Pink' has clear pink flowers with golden stamens. Height and spread to 4ft (1.2m).

Cistus x skanbergii has clusters of pale pink flowers. Height and spread to 4ft (1.2m).

Cistus villosus has large rose-purple flowers. Height and spread to 4ft (1.2m).