Cistus, commonly called Rockrose, is native to the Mediterranean region, which is similar in climate to the coastal sage scrub and coastal chaparral of California. The genus consists of a large group of evergreen shrubs that respond to winter rains with intense spring blooms of tissue-paper-like flowers ranging in color from white to pink to purple. Some species have contrasting dark spots at the base of the petals that add interest to the flowers. Rockroses vary in size and shape, from low-growing, spreading shrubs to tall upright species. Generally, they fare best in coastal regions where humidity and cooler summer temperatures relieve the harshness of the hot, dry summer. Some varieties can tolerate low desert conditions, though it is advisable to place them in microclimates that give some protection from aridity and extreme heat.

REQUIREMENTS: Cistus prefer well-drained soil with low to moderate amounts of water and will tolerate poor soils, cold ocean winds and desert heat.