Cistus common name is Rock or Sun Rose and the ideal conditions for this shrub are hinted at in the name. Cistus are native to Mediterranean regions and they like dry and sunny conditions. In addition, Cistus are described as H4 hardy, which is good down to - 15 so ** hardy in most parts of the country their Mediterranean roots means they are only effectively hardy when grown in well drained, sunny conditions.
Cistus have lovely blooms in whites and pinks as the images above show, almost papery in appearance. Cistus are a smaller shrub which makes them useful for the front of a border. Illustrated C. x Creticus left image, which grows up to 1m (**), and re C. x cyprius up to 1.5 m (**) and a view of the shrub overall in the right image. All Cistus are not fully hardy and need dry warm sunny conditions to thrive. In milder parts of the country and during a less severe winter, Cistus may survive from one season to the next. Cistus have five petals to the flower which lasts a day. Whilst the downside is that they are not fully hardy, they are deer resistant, tolerant of salt-laden winds and drought resistant. They prefer Alkaline soil but will survive on acid soil providing the other conditions are good. Most grow to around 1m and are generally hardy to H3/H4 but most important is good drainage otherwise Cistus will not survive a winter well.
If you have the right growing conditions Cistus are a lovely shrub especially mixed in with Mediterranean plants, such as Rosemary, Artemisia, Santolina, lavender Sage including Russian Sage which would also be a good drought resistant combination.
In less than ideal growing conditions, where the soil is wetter, and conditions colder, Cistus can be a short-lived shrub
Cistus creticus, above left, as the name suggests is native to Crete and is known as the Cretan Rock rose. It is just one of the many beautiful wild flowers in Crete and I have been lucky enough to see it growing shown here on Pinterest.
It is always exciting to see plants you know growing wild and Crete has many wild flowers to enjoy, (which makes it a great holiday destination information on the Pinterest pages)