Plant Family / Cistus - Rock Roses
Cistus are evergreen shrubs with profuse, 5-petalled, bowl-shaped, papery flowers in shades of white, pink or purple, each lasting a single day, over a long period in summer. The foliage may be coated with a perfumed resin (Cistus ladanifer) or covered with gray wool. There are many species and hybrids of Cistus, but all need protection from cold winds and heavy frost. Deer resistant, drought and salt tolerant, these carefree Mediterranean natives require very little irrigation and are perfect as groundcovers for erosion control, useful in rock gardens and excellent for adding sparkling color to seaside locations. They are among the most ornamental of all Mediterranean flowers.
Considered by some the most beautiful, Cistus ladanifer (Crimson-Spot Rockrose) is definitely one of the showiest Cistus species. In spring, this dense, evergreen shrub is covered with a profusion of large, up to 4 in. wide (10 cm), solitary papery white flowers blotched with crimson spots at the base of each petal.
One of the showiest Rock Roses, Cistus purpureus (Purple-Flowered Rock Rose) is a small, bushy evergreen shrub with large, yellow-centered, purplish-pink flowers. Tolerates temperatures down to around 15°F (-9°C). Excellent for adding sparkling color to seaside gardens as it can survive with salt spray, wind and sandy soil.
Cistus salviifolius 'Prostratus' (Sageleaf Rockrose) is a low spreading evergreen shrub with profuse snow-white flowers, 1.5 in. across (3.5 cm), adorned with golden-yellow stamens at their heart and a yellow spot at the base of their petals.
Excellent for adding sparkling color to dry gardens, Cistus x pulverulentus 'Sunset' (Magenta Rock Rose) is a low spreading, evergreen shrub with eye-catching clusters of yellow-centered, rich cerise flowers, 2 in. across (5 cm). Although each flower lasts only for a day, this vigorous shrub provides a succession of flowers for weeks until the end of summer.
Cistus × hybridus Little Miss Sunshine (Rockrose) is a low-growing evergreen shrub with masses of large, pure white saucer-shaped flowers, adorned with bright golden-yellow stamens at their heart. Although each flower lasts only for a day, this vigorous shrub provides a succession of flowers for weeks from early summer to fall.
Cistus x skanbergii (Dwarf Pink Rockrose) is a compact, bushy evergreen shrub with masses of clear pale pink, saucer-shaped flowers, 1 in. across (3 cm), adorned with bright golden-yellow stamens at their heart. While smaller than most Rockroses, the blossoms are so abundant that they literally cover the shrub from late spring to mid-summer.