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Once established, rockrose will flourish with little or no care. Blooming profusely through spring and summer, it may also bloom sporadically throughout the rest of the year. Distinctly papery flowers range in shades from vivid pinks to whites and creams — usually with a bright yellow center. When not flowering, rockrose creates a mounding texture of soft gray-green leaves. The leaves of some species even emit a scented resin when the hot summer sun beats down on them.
The hybrid Cistus ‘McGuire’s Gold’ (shown) has a typical form and flowers with the exception of vivid bright green leaves.
How to use it. Rockrose, not surprisingly, is very commonly used in rock gardens or where there is a prevalence of gravelly and rocky soil. Dry banks or slopes can be difficult garden spots for both planting and soil stability, and those are areas where rockrose thrives. Plus, its fine texture and informal form contrast well with rocks and gravel as a soft and effective ground cover or low-growing hedge.
Cistus palhinae, zones 8 to 10, shown here in Cape St. Vincent, Portugal, serves as great inspiration for designing with the plant. Scattered throughout the landscape, the plants tie the space together, softly accenting and highlighting the terrain. Without dominating the garden, rockrose provides an enjoyable and unique outdoor experience throughout all seasons.
Planting notes. Rockrose is native to the Mediterranean, preferring similar climates and conditions. Faring well in regions with dry, hot summers, most plants are hardy to 15 degrees Fahrenheit. This plant requires no additional watering and needs minimal maintenance once established, so be sure soil is especially well drained if you do irrigate.
While this plant does not live long, it's a quick grower. Stems may become woody with age, and the plant should be replaced when they become sparse. Periodically cut back old stems in order to promote new growth and to keep the plant looking clean.
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Redtwig Dogwood | Toyon
Great design trees:
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Manzanita | Persian Ironwood | Smoke Tree | Texas Mountain Laurel | Tree Aloe
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Plumbago | Red Kangaroo Paw | Sally Holmes Rose | Slipper Plant | Snake Flower
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