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Cistus (Rockrose)
at Digging Dog

Including Cistus x dansereaui, Cistus x oblongifolius, Cistus x purpureus, Cistus x aguilarii, and Cistus populifolius

Cistus

Cistus

Rockrose

This genus from the Mediterranean region fortunately grows exceptionally well in our mild climate. These evergreens are called Rockroses for their conspicuous single papery blooms, resembling wild rose blossoms. Though these last only a day, they arrive in such profusion, carpeting the ground beneath, that one can count on color for 2 or 3 months.

Fast growing and appreciative of well drained sites, they tolerate drought, poor soil, ocean winds, salt spray and even desert heat. Cistus vary from low spreaders to tall, imposing bushes, and are terrific for informal hedging and screens.

View a slideshow of plant images from this genus


Cistus x aguilarii ‘Maculatus’  full sun
Cistus x aguilarii Maculatus

We favor this upright, robust Cistus for its decorative leaves and large showy flowers. A Cistus ladanifer and Cistus populifolius hybrid backcrossed once again with Cistus ladanifer, ‘Maculatus’s foliage is fastened by reddened petioles, tapers to a point and features margins so evenly rippled that the edges are pulled up. The intriguing slender greenery elevates 3 in. wide, billowy white blossoms whose closely arranged petals flaunt a striking, almost triangular, wine-colored mark at their bases while encircling a bright gilded hub of stamens.

Blooms late April–mid-July.

Size: 6' high x 4'–5' wide; hardy to zone 8.

Cistus x aguilarii ‘Maculatus’ (S-0603)
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Cistus ‘Ann Baker’  full sun  drought tolerant

Olivier Filippi, guardian of the French National Cistus collection, kindly gave us this delightful Eric Sammons hybrid. A robust descendant of Cistus dansereaui ‘Decumbens’, ‘Ann Baker’ is pleasingly attired with delicate, white saucer-shaped flowers, centered by a singular sanguine marking and a small yellow splash on each petal. Slightly undulating and lacking petioles, the handsome, dark green leaves clasp arching, red-tinged stems.

Noteworthy for blooming later than most other Rockroses, ‘Ann Baker’ prolongs the flowering period well into September, and is a welcome addition to the Mediterranean garden alongside Lavender, Rosemary, and other Rockroses.

Blooms May–September.

Size: 2-1/2'–3-1/2' high x 5' wide; hardy to zone 8.

Cistus ‘Ann Baker’ (s-0559)
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Cistus ‘Anne Palmer’  full sun  drought tolerant
Cistus  Anne Palmer

Silvery pink, crepe-paperlike petals float over this evergreen shrub’s ripple-edged gray-green foliage. Equally at home in tough coastal or inland environments, it combines beautifully with Rosmarinus ‘Santa Barbara Blue’ and Lavandula ‘Richard Gray’.

Blooms May–September.

Size: 2-1/2'–3' high x 6' wide; hardy to zone 8.

Cistus ‘Anne Palmer’ (S-0187)
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Cistus creticus f. albus ‘Tania Compton’  full sun

This well-mannered Cistus wins a place in our garden for its neat rounded habit that stays relatively small. Knitting a handsome upright foil, the easily shorn, maroon-tinted stems and small, wavy and textured gray-green leaves parade quantities of 1-½ in. blooms with prominent golden eyes and white parchmentlike petals tinged pale yellow at each base.

Blooms June – July.

Size: 3'–4' high x 3'–4' wide; hardy to zone 8.

Cistus creticus f. albus ‘Tania Compton’ (S-0691)
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Cistus x dansereaui ‘Decumbens’  full sun

An excellent shrubby ground cover, this Cistus displays luminous flowers against a vigorous and glossy, dark green foil of wavy-margined, lance-shaped leaves. Each ornate snowy white petal is elegantly marked with a prominent burgundy blotch at its base.

Blooms May–July.

Size: 2' high x 4' wide; hardy to zone 8.

Cistus x dansereaui ‘Decumbens’ (S-0413)
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Cistus x dansereaui ‘Jenkyn Place’  full sun  drought tolerant

A merlot-colored triangular brush stroke boldly brands each overlapping tissuelike petal, etching a distinctive 5-pointed star with a pronounced golden center. Large blossoms, spanning 3 snowy white in. across, are cupped, rimpled and renown for their long lasting flowery pomp.

Named after a private English garden and parented by Cistus ladnifer and Cistus inflatus, ‘Jenkyn Place’s small vigorous frame blends shapely red-tinged green stems and narrow sticky, pucker-edged deep green leaves that smell spicy and taper toward their tips.

Blooms April – July.

Size: 4'–5' high x 4'–5' wide; hardy to zone 8.

Cistus x dansereaui ‘Jenkyn Place’ (S-0621)
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Cistus ‘Jessamy Beauty’  full sun
Cistus  Jessamy Beauty

Created and named by British Cistus aficionado, Eric Sammons, this Cistus ‘Little Gem’ and Cistus laurifolius cross celebrates not only showy blooms but a low comely mound, which responds well to pruning. The gold-centered, 2-½ in. white papery flowers are engraved with striking, nearly triangular burgundy marks at each petal’s base, while gracing long, matt-finished, dark green slender leaves and somewhat lax, wine-infused stems.

Full of vigor, ‘Jessamy Beauty’ merits her name especially when set against Melianthus ‘Antonow’s Blue’s large blue-tinged foliage.

Blooms June – July.

Size: 3' high x 5' wide; hardy to zone 8.


Cistus ‘Jessamy Beauty’ (S-0690)
Each $9.25
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Cistus ladanifer var. petiolatus ‘Bennett’s White’  full sun
Cistus ladanifer var. petiolatus Bennett’s White

From afar, its easy to mistake this Cistus’ pure white, 5 in. wide flowers for those of a Romneya. Against cinnamon-colored stems and two-toned leathery leaves that are a glistening bright green on top and silver beneath, the frilly, unusually large, gold-centered blooms deliver an awe-inspiring presentation.

Yielding a sticky, sweetly fragrant resin known as Labdanum, the vigorous growing ‘Bennett’s White’ can be planted with Lavandula ‘Ana Luisa’ in a dry Mediterranean garden where its superlative flowers and pleasant aroma will undoubtedly turn quite a few heads.

Blooms April–May.

Size: 4'–5' high x 4' wide; hardy to zone 8.

AVAILABLE LATE NOVEMBER 2014

Cistus ladanifer var. petiolatus ‘Bennett’s White’ (s-0596)
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Cistus ‘Little Gem’  full sun

A refined Eric Sammons hybrid of Cistus inflatus parentage and distant Cistus ladanifer ancestry, this small-statured Cistus presents delicate white flowers. A single dark maroon mark is attractively painted at the base of each petal, enhancing the sunny yellow center. Lining red-tinged stems, the textured linear leaves are slightly reflective and provide a contrasting foil for Helianthemum ‘Cheviot’.

Blooms May–June.

Size: 3' high x 4' wide; hardy to zone 8.

Cistus ‘Little Gem’ (S-0477)
Each $9.25
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Cistus monspeliensis ‘Vicar’s Mead’  full sun

Dotted with soft yellow, one inch wide, paper-thin blooms, this splendid Rockrose celebrates a flower color that is pleasantly unique! Rose-scented, overlapping petals swirl around a sunlit hub, while slender green leaves—long, tapering and ripple-edged—garb its small, well-branched frame. Collected on the Mediterranean island of Majorca by Harold Read, ‘Vicar’s Mead’ makes an airy evergreen companion for Isoplexis canariensis.

Blooms April–May.

Size: 4' high x 3' wide; hardy to zone 8.

Cistus monspeliensis ‘Vicar’s Mead’ (S-0636)
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Cistus x oblongifolius  full sun
Cistus x oblongifolius

With overlapping, sheet white petals drawn together by prominent, golden clusters of stamens, the jubilant-looking, 2 in. wide flowers remind us of sunnyside-up eggs. A Cistus laurifolius and Cistus inflatus progeny, this vigorous, tall growing Cistus hosts long and pointed, dark green leaves that are gray-green below, narrowly shaped and sticky. Its sizable presence, handsome foliage and perky floral display makes it a good neighbor for Rhamnus ‘Variegata’.

Blooms late

Size: 6' high x 4'–5' wide; hardy to zone 8.

Cistus x oblongifolius (S-0604)
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Cistus palhinhaii ‘Red Eye’  full sun

So named because of the ½ in. blood red spot at the base of each good-sized, paper-thin white petal, this dense, striking Cistus comes to us from Ken Montgomery of Boonville, California. Its deep green, glossy linear leaves and young stems are fragrant and sticky to the touch. Bold, deer resistant and adorned with eight-chambered brown seed pods, ‘Red Eye’ deserves to be displayed as a specimen.

Blooms March–May.

Size: 5' high x 5'–6' wide; hardy to zone 8.

Cistus palhinhaii ‘Red Eye’ (S-0024)
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Cistus x pauranthus ‘Natacha’  full sun
Cistus x pauranthus Natacha

With a high-born lineage that includes Cistus parviflorus and Cistus salviifolius, it’s no wonder this seldom offered, easy-to-maintain Cistus is shapely and small statured, unlike so many other Rockroses. ‘Natacha’ displays attractive textured gray-green foliage and delicate pink-tinged, yellow-centered white flowers. Stimulated by pruning, her rounded profile makes a superb companion for more diminutive plants like Ballota pseudodictamnus and Calamagrostis foliosa.

Blooms April – June.

Size: 4' high x 4' wide; hardy to zone 8.

Cistus x pauranthus ‘Natacha’ (S-0745)
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Cistus populifolius  full sun  drought tolerant
Cistus populifolius

The unique, apple green foliage of this hearty species has undulating margins and grows in dense mounds, creating a luxurious backdrop for white flowers embellished with yellow centers. When the plant is budding, red-hued sepals contrast brilliantly with the delicate flowers.

Blooms April – June.

Size: 6' high x 6' wide; hardy to zone 8.

Cistus populifolius (S-0273)
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Cistus x purpureus ‘Alan Fradd’  full sun
Cistus x purpureus Alan Fradd

Achieving the delicacy of parchment, each white overlapping petal features a striking maroon brush mark at its base. The large flowers are drawn together by a predominant yellow eye, while poised amongst wavy, dark green narrow leaves. Upright and sticky, red-flushed stems forge a rounded profile that can be associated with Perovskia abrotanoides and Eryngium ‘Blaukappe’ for an arresting union.

Blooms May–June.

Size: 5'–6' high x 5'–6' wide; hardy to zone 8.

Cistus x purpureus ‘Alan Fradd’ (S-0652)
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Cistus ‘Silver Pink’  full sun

Parented by Cistus laurifolius and Cistus canescens, this compact, mounding Cistus delivers a wild, undomesticated presence to the landscape. A lavish display of silvery pink flowers dressed in tissue-paper delicacy shimmer against green, lance-shaped leaves with gray undersides and undulating margins. Showy gilded stamens upstage the cheerful, white-centered petals.

Plant ‘Silver Pink’ amid Nepeta ‘Snowflake’ and fellow Mediterranean Euphorbia myrsinites for an engaging collage of foliar colors, flowers and textures.

Blooms May–July.

Size: 3' high x 4'–5' wide; hardy to zone 8.

Cistus ‘Silver Pink’ (S-0602)
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Cistus ‘Snow Fire’  full sun
Cistus  Snow Fire

Regarded by Eric Sammons as perhaps the most successful of his unreleased hybrids, this well-bred Cistus claims Cistus populifolius subsp. major and Cistus inflatus as its parents. ‘Snow Fire’ closely resembles ‘Snow White’, except for a slightly smaller, more spreading stance and its decorated blooms, whose blazing marks undoubtedly kindled the “fire” in this cultivar’s name. Dainty white overlapping petals surround a golden eye, and each is brushed by a prominent burgundy-red patch at its base. The bright green, wavy-edged leaves and reddish stems respond quite well to pruning.

Blooms April–August.

Size: 4'–4-1/2' high x 4'–5' wide; hardy to zone 8.

Cistus ‘Snow Fire’ (S-0560)
Each $9.25
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Cistus ‘Snow White’  full sun  drought tolerant
Cistus  Snow White

The name ‘Snow White’ surely refers to the multitude of orange-centered, papery white flowers that embellish this choice mounding Cistus. Perhaps even more noticeable are the large, intricately-winged buds. Deep red in color, and covered with a downy fuzz, they nearly obscure the bright green, undulating foliage for most of the season, adding to its soft, alluring appearance.

Blooms April–August.

Size: 6' high x 8' wide; hardy to zone 8.


Cistus ‘Snow White’ (S-0401)
Each $9.25
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