Happiest in full sun, Cistus prefers free-draining soil and will perform well in poor, stony ground. Avoid planting in heavy, wet or overly fertile soils or where they sit in frost pockets or strong winds, as these can damage these shallow-rooted plants. Perfect ground cover, it will tolerate chalky soil and salty air. Best planted in Spring when the warm soil helps the roots establish swiftly, however if planting in Summer, water regularly to keep the soil moist but not waterlogged. Young plants respond well to pruning but do not like to be pruned once established so this should generally be limited to the removal of any dead or frost-damaged growth in Spring.
As a rough guide when planting Cistus as ground cover – 4 plants per square metre is adequate with a little patience, 6 will give better coverage, and 9-12 will make a weed supressing carpet very quickly.
How to grow Cistus
Position: Sunny and sheltered
Foliage: Evergreen, leaves persist all year
Soil and site: Dry, stony or chalky, free draining
Flowering time: Mid-Summer
Growth rate: Moderate
Ultimate height and spread: Between 50cm and 200cm, with a spread similar to their ultimate height depending on variety
Hardiness: Fully hardy
Aftercare: Water well until established, avoiding soil becoming waterlogged. Minimal maintenance is required after they are well established and rooted beyond the removal of any dead branches.