Cistus or Rock Roses are found in the wild in Turkey, the Canary Islands, Southern Europe and Northern Africa where they grow in stony or rocky environments.
They are a group of around 20 species, all evergreen, and members of the Cistaceae family. All Cistus feature leaves that grow in pairs on opposite sides of a twig. The flowers are deep pink or white and have 5 petals. In generally the flowers only last for one day and open from the end of spring through to the end of the summer.
White flowered varieties include: Cistus laurifolius, Cistus salviifolius, Cistus monspeliensis (which is only found in Karaburun near Izmir).
A pink flowered variety is found in this country along the southern coast, where it can be seen in the pine forests. This is Cistus creticus, common Turkish name ‘Laden’ which is often found in Muğla growing alongside the white flowering Cistus salviifolius.
Cistus laurifolius grows near the coast sometimes in deep shade and can withstand the hardest frosts. As well as being found near to the Mediterranean, it is widespread throughout the Aegean region, in Thrace and even into central Anatolia where it can be found in the mountains around Kızılcahamam and Afyon. The lowest temperature recorded in Afyon is -270C, which this plant survives, an indication of its hardiness. At such low temperatures the leaves may turn brown but the plant does not die.
It can grow to a height of 1.5 – 2m. A flower stem will produce between 3 – 8 flowers and the white flowers have yellow centres.
It isn’t very fussy about soil types, although it does prefer light soil. It can withstand drought. It will grow in full sun or under trees. Propagation is from seed sown in the spring, or from cuttings or root division during the summer. It should not be pruned hard, indeed too much pruning can kill the plant.
Cistus creticus – Laden: is a true Mediterranean plant. It is a bit smaller than Cistus Laurifolius only reaching a height of about 1 metre. Each flower stem produces 3 – 5 pinkish-purple flowers again with yellow centres. From Crete to the eastern Mediterranean it is found near to the shoreline. In terms of propagation and care it is exactly like the other cestuses.
In landscaping terms the rock roses come into their own, when you are creating a natural, Mediterranean plant garden. They can be planted in small or large groups in the open or beneath trees. They can also be used in large rock gardens, and look good planted in a single row to edge a path. Cistus laurifolius is particularly effective when planted in dark, shady locations.
The Palm Centre, Koycegeiz
For a wide range of special plants visit the areas best nursery, The Palm Centre at Köyceğiz.
It is open daily between 1st June – 31st October but you can visit at any other time by appointment.
Access to plant sales is free but a fee is payable to look around the extensive nursery.
Just ring or email (English is spoken):
E-mail: : email@example.com
Tel : +90 252 262 28 92
Fax : +90 252 262 51 61