Cistus (Rock Rose) – Popular Shrubs for the Garden
The cistus are the Rock Roses, plants from the Mediterranean region and, like so many others from that area, they prefer sunny places and dry, well-drained soils. They are beautiful shrubs, but even the hardiest of them are only on the border-line of hardiness, except in sheltered and warm gardens. In less well-favoured places some will survive for several years, but it is a wise precaution to take late summer cuttings and root them in bottom heat, overwintering them until they can be planted out in late spring.
One of the hardiest is the hybrid Cistus ‘Silver Pink’, a name which aptly describes the colour of its 3 inch wide . This grows to 2 feet, or a little more. Cistus X purpureus is another hybrid, with beautiful purplish-crimson flowers, with a dark blotch at the base of each petal. This grows up to 6 feet high with a proportionate spread. The hardiest species is Cistus laurifolius, which again may reach to 6 feet, and has clusters of white flowers with yellow blotches at the bases of the petals.
In mild places it is worth trying other species and hybrids of these charming shrubs. Their individual flowers are usually over by noon on the day they open, but so many are borne in succession during June and July that the plants are never out of flower.