Cistus or rock rose are shrubby summer flowering plants found in countries bordering the Mediterranean and the Canary Islands. They have masses of papery petaled flowers with yellow centres and occasionally basal blotches. Each flower only lasts a day but there are so many the plant will appear to be fully covered in flowers for weeks.

What is a Cistus?

There are many types of Cistus ranging from small leaved ground hugging forms barely 0.5m tall to large leaved forms which can make 2m tall. The tissue paper like flowers range in colour from pure whites through pale pinks to deepest pink, some with maroon basal blotches. Flowering is through the summer and once established plants are drought tolerant.

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Where to plant Cistus?

The smaller sized Cistus can be successfully grown in patio pots and will add a touch of Mediterranean feel to your patio particularly if mixed with other plants like rosemary and lavender. This Mediterranean theme can be used in the garden border where mixing similar sized plants such as hebe will also work well. Cistus like a sunny spot with well drained soil, even stone or chalky soil. Avoid planting where the plants will suffer from cold winds over winter.

How to care for this Cistus?

Cistus are easy to grow. Water young plants regularly until established. A very light trim after flowering can help keep plants in shape but avoid heavy pruning as the plants will not benefit from this. Reduce plant size in several stages if plants have become too big for the chosen spot.