San Marcos GrowersSan Marcos Growers
New User?
Wholesale Login
Enter Password
Home Products Purchase Gardens About Us Resources Contact Us
 Web Site Search
Plant Database
Search by Plant Name
  General Plant Info
Search for any word
  Advanced Search >>
Search by size, origins,
color, cultural needs, etc.
Site Map
Retail Locator
Plant Listings


 Weather Station

Products > Cistus x purpureus
Cistus x purpureus - Orchid Rockrose

[2nd Image]
Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Shrub
Family: Cistaceae (Rock-roses)
Origin: Europe, Southern (Europe)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: Purple
Bloomtime: Spring
Parentage: (C.ladanifer x C.incanus creticus)
Height: 4-6 feet
Width: 4-6 feet
Exposure: Full Sun
Seaside: Yes
Summer Dry: Yes
Deer Tolerant: Yes
Irrigation (H2O Info): Low Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 15-20 F
Cistus x purpureus (Orchid Rockrose) - A tough evergreen shrub that forms a 4 to 6 foot tall mound that is usually slightly wider than tall - plants near beach tend to be shorter and even wider. It has narrow wavy-edged leaves up to 2" long that are dark green above and grey-green below with a nice resinous scent. In the spring, and sometimes well into the summer appear the 3 inch wide dark magenta-purple flowers with a red spot at the base of each of the petals and with dark yellow stamens in the middle. Plant in full sun in a well-drained soil and irrigate only occasionally if at all - this is a drought tolerant plant. This is the best rockrose for seaside conditions as it can survive with salt spray, wind and sandy soil. It is also one of the hardiest of rockroses, tolerating temperatures down to around 15 degrees F. In cold tolerance tests conducted by Oregon State University, Cistus x purpureus showed little or no damage during the trial that ran from 2006 to 2009 where the coldest temperature recorded was 17 F. This plant is a hybrid between Cistus ladanifer and C. creticus. It is an old garden hybrid that was listed in 1819 in Syndenham Edward's Garden Register of exotic plants cultivated in British Gardens (V.5:408) with the remark that it was universally known at the time as Cistus creticus "from which however it has been well distinguished by the industrious and sagacious Chevalier de Lamarck in his excellent Encyclopaedia Botanique." Liberty Hyde Bailey called it "one of the most beautiful rock roses" in his 1928 The Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture. It trims back well and is useful as a low screening plant, mixed with other mediterranean-climate plants or as a bank planting, where stems often layer and root. The name Cistus is from the Greek word 'kistos' which was the name originally used to describe the plant in ancient Greece.  The information on this page is based on research conducted in our nursery library and from online sources as well as from observations made of this plant as it grows in our nursery, in the nursery's garden and in other gardens that we have visited. We have also incorporated comments received from others and always appreciate getting feedback of any kind from those who have some additional information, particularly if this information is contrary to what we have written or includes additional cultural tips that would aid others in growing  Cistus x purpureus.