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Plant Profile: White Rock Rose (Cistus x hybridus aka C. corbariensis)

White rock rose is a dense evergreen shrub native to southern Europe resulting from a  natural cross between C. salviifolius and C. populifolius.  It is a member of the Cistaceae, a small plant family of about 200 species in 9 genera, only one of which, Cistus, being well known.  Plants grow 2-4′ high and if given plenty of room may spread to 12″ wide.  The oval dark gray-green leaves are 2″ long, downy, and crinkly,  and have wavy margins.  They are fragrant on wrm days.    In late spring to early summer, red buds at the tips of the downy branches open to 1.5″ wide flowers with 5 white petals tinged with yellow at the base surrounding a center of yellow stamens.  Plants are fire resistant, and tolerant of drought, salt, heat and poor soil, so are a good choice for xeriscapes, borders, groundcovers, as well as seaside, rock and Mediterranean gardens.  The genus name, Cistus, is the ancient Greek name for the plant.  Type:Flowering evergreen shrub

Outstanding Feature: Flowers

Form: Mounding

Growth Rate: Rapid

Bloom: Five petaled white flowers 1.5″ across with yellow center, in late spring to early summer

Size: 2-4′ H x 4-5′ W

Light: Full sun

Soil: Lean to average, dry, medium moist, well-drained

Hardiness: Zones 8-10

Care: Does not take to hard pruning so leggy plants should be replaced when needed; pinch back after flowering to encourage bushiness.

Pests and Diseases: None of significance

Propagation: Softwood or semi-ripe cuttings