Cistus (Rock Rose/Sun Rose)
Common name: Rock rose/Sun rose
Cistus are free-flowering shrubs with short-lived blooms, lasting for just one day.
However, such is the profusion of buds, plants look little different the following morning! They come from southern Europe, particularly the Mediterranean region, so they require a warm sunny spot in well-drained. They are not successful in shade or where soil conditions are heavy.
Cistus albidus has been grown in our gardens for over 300 years; it is short-lived, and is not reliably hardy in severe winters. The lovely light pinkare a redeeming feature however, blooming from late spring to midsummer Cistus x cyprius is one of the hardiest species and grows to 160cm (60in) with a rather lax growth habit. The large white flowers have a distinctive maroon-crimson blotch in the centre. Another old stager is
Cistus laurifolius (AGM), noted for its upright habit and profusion of pure white blooms. One of the most spectacular is Cistus x purpureus (AGM). It has been around for a great many years. The masses of large, rich pink flowers with maroon blotches, on neat 120cm (48in) high bushes, are most eye-catching.
Soil type Full sun and well-drained, even fairly poor soils, are all that is required.
Planting This is best done in spring. Choose sturdy young plants, as older specimens are more difficult to establish. Select a spot where they are not subjected to cold winds.
Maintenance Pruning is not required. Any unwanted shoots can be cut back lightly in spring. These plants do not respond well to being cut back hard, so there is a danger of some loss if you do this.
Propagation Root semi-ripe cuttings in summer
Pests and diseases Generally trouble free. Frost can cause damage, resulting in die-back. Cut out any affected shoots in the spring.