How to Take Care of Rock Rose Plants


Cistus and Halimium, both of which belong to the family Cistaceae, are the genera that are most closely associated with rock roses. These spring and summer-blooming shrubs are hardy in plant hardiness zones 6 through 11 as designated by the United States Department of Agriculture. They may vary in size from low-growing groundcovers to huge bushes. These low-maintenance shrubs are native to the Mediterranean region, and because of their ability to withstand salt spray, dryness, and poor soils, they are well suited for tough settings where other ground covers and shrubs would struggle.

About Rock Roses

According to San Marcos Growers, the popular term “rock rose” refers to three different genera that are members of the family Cistaceae. This set of three features sunroses, also known as Helianthemum species, which can survive in USDA zones 5 through 7. All of the rock roses are evergreen and, in the spring or summer, they produce an abundance of spectacular blossoms.

According to Pacific Horticulture, the roughly 20 species of Cistus and their hybrids may be divided into two categories: those with white blooms and those with pink blooms. Hybrids make up a significant portion of the commercially available rock roses. In USDA zones 7 through 10, the white rock rose, also known as Cistus x hybridus or Cistus corbariensis, can reach a height of up to 3 feet and a width of up to 5 feet. On the other hand, the rose-purple-flowering orchid rock rose, also known as Cistus x purpureus, can grow to a height of up to 4 feet and a width of between 4 and 6 feet in USDA zones 8 through 11.

In USDA zones 7 through 10, the woolly rock rose, also known as Halimium lasianthum, is one of the most well-known species of the genus Halimium. It grows to a height of 3 feet and a width of 5 feet, and it has vivid yellow flowers and woolly silver-green leaves. In addition, ‘Sandling’ has a maroon splotch located close to the centres of its flowers. The yellow rock rose (Halimium calycinum) only grows to a height of 18 inches and a width of 2 feet, while the white-flowering hybrid ‘Ingwersenii’ (Halimium umbellatum x Cistus inflatus) can reach a height of 2 feet and a width of 4 feet. Both of these roses feature numerous yellow flowers that are 1 inch wide. Both can thrive in USDA plant hardiness zones 8 through 11.

Rock Roses: Drought Tolerant Shrubs

Once they have become established in the landscape, rock roses are able to withstand extended periods of drought and flourish in soils that are alkaline to neutral, sandy to rocky, and have good drainage. You could plant rock roses along the fence line to attract bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds to the garden; you could also use them as a screen or hedge along the property line; or you could use them as a ground cover on dry, sunny hillsides. The species and cultivar you choose will determine how you use rock roses.

When planting rock rose, choose a spot that receives full light and has good drainage. You should try to avoid amending the soil unless it is a heavy clay. If this is the case, you might think about creating raised beds or planting on mounds, berms, or slopes instead. Dig the planting hole so that it is just a little bit deeper and between one and a half and two times as broad as the root ball. Loosen the dirt surrounding the planting hole to make it easier for the roots of the shrub to penetrate the ground as it gets established in the garden. Rock roses will stretch out to fill the space between other plants, so be sure to place them at the appropriate distance apart according to their mature width.

Rock Rose Care

Even though rock roses can survive periods of drought, they still need a lot of water when they are initially planted. After the soil has dried out to a depth of two to four inches, give them one to two inches of water each week. As new growth forms, gradually cut down on how much you water. In the second year of development, water sparingly and only when it is absolutely necessary. Avoid overwatering.

In general, rock roses do not need fertiliser unless the soil is really poor; in the spring, pour a few shovelfuls of compost over the root balls. If the soil is exceedingly poor, rock roses may need additional fertiliser. According to Great Plant Picks, excessive amounts of water and fertiliser cause plants to develop quickly but produce stems that are weak and floppy.

During the winter, rock roses may be protected from the elements by covering them with a loose mulch such as straw. Before you sterilise your pruning tools by immersing the blades in Lysol in the late winter, ensure your protection by donning safety goggles, gloves, and long sleeves. Remove frost damaged foliage. After the blooms have died off, cut back the new growth for that season by up to two-thirds. However, do not cut into the growth from the previous year since this might kill or severely harm the shrub.