Common name: Rock rose

Cistus is an easy to grow hardy evergreen flowering shrub with shiny leathery leaves.

The purple, pink or white flower petals open in the morning, and are shed in the afternoon.

The plants can grow to a height of 1800mm (6ft) or more, and spread to around 1200mm (4ft) and the flowers are up to 50mm (2") across.

These appear in clusters in May and June, and continue to flower for about three months.

Shrub in flower
Close up of flower

Plants do well on most soils, but are at their best on poor, well-drained soils.

Hybrids should be propagated from cuttings, they can also be propagated from seed, but these will not come true to type.


Most cultivars do not need to be pruned in the accepted sense as new growth will not sprout from old wood

Pinching back branch tips after flowering will keep plants compact.


Week 10:

Collect seed from shrub and sow in pots / trays containing proprietary seed compost.

Place pots / trays in a frost free coldframe to germinate.

Prick out the seedlings when large enough to handle and plant individually into 60mm (2½") pots of potting compost.

Week 18:

Plant out in a spot in full sun, but sheltered from easterly winds.

Soak the rootball prior to planting for a short while.

Do not plant deeply, leave the root-ball slightly exposed or plant on a slight mound.

The active feeding roots are usually concentrated around the outside of the rootball, these are quite brittle so do not tease them out as this may check the plants growth.

In the event that drainage has to be improved,add generous amounts of gritty sand to the planting area*.

*Do not add organic material or fertiliser of any kind.

Water the planting hole well after planting and ensure that the water drains away rapidly.

Do not mulch with an organic mulch, however a bed of gravel around the base of the plant is acceptable.

Week 20:

(the following year) Pot up into 100mm (4") pots and grow on in a coldframe till planting out time.

Week 27:

Take heel cuttings

Insert the cuttings in equal parts (by volume) peat and sand and maintain a temperature of 16°C (60°F).

When rooted, place the cuttings singly in 75mm (3") pots of potting compost overwinter in a cold frame.

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