(Rock Rose)The genus Cistus contains roughly 50 species (if you include the many natural and man-made hybrids) native to the Middle East, Mediterranean and North Africa. Not only is cistus popular as a garden plant, but the leaves and stems of a few species (including Cistus ladanifer) are the source of a perfume ingredient called labdanum that has been used since the time of the ancient Egyptians. The common name, rock rose, derives from its native rocky coastal habitat and rose-like flowers. The charming rock rose flowers are usually white or pink/purple and often have distinctive maroon spots surrounding a central yellow eye. The flowers attract butterflies but each one only lasts a day. Cistus plants produce large numbers of flowers and are full of color for 2 to 3 months in the late spring or summer.
Cistus species are evergreen and eventually reach shrub-like proportions of 3' tall x 5' wide, making them popular hedge plants. As its native habitat implies, Cistus is quite heat- and drought-tolerant. It also tolerates frequent pruning, poor soils, and salt spray. We have trialed cistus for years and have begun to produce those which have fared well in our hot, humid climate. When you're ready to buy cistus for your perennial garden, we hope you'll check out our online list of cistus for sale.