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Purple-flowered rock rose (Cistus x purpureus)

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Question from Brian mc


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I live in central scotland and I planted this shrub last spring(2009).I have to say that the plant took to the area really well and is now almost full size. However, from december to january we experienced freak snow showers which covered the ground for four weeks exactly. I know you have recommended this plant as an h3 - frost tender shrub but the snow we had was completely out of the norm. More to the point - the leaves on both shrubs have gone from a really vibrant green to a poor looking brown. do you think i have los this shrub or is it likely to recover. Also, how to define h3 frost tender.

all the best


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  • Replies: 1
  • Posted: Mon. 8th February 2010 17:34

Cistus x purpureus

Reply from Katy Elton

Hi Brian,

Very sorry to hear about your Cistus x purpureus. It's difficult to say at this stage whether the plant will have been permanently damaged or not. All you can do at present is wait til spring and prune back the worst of the frost damage to a healthy new bud (being careful not to prune back too hard, if this is possible), hoping that you will get some fresh new shoots appearing.

If the plant does recover, then it would definitely be advisable to protect it next winter with a double layer of horticultural fleece. In addition to this it's also worth trying a thick layer of mulch around the base of the plant. This give the soil added protection from frost, allowing the plant to take in water even in freezing temperatures.

The H3 hardiness rating means a plant is tender in frost, and will need frost protection - especially if grown in a northern garden such as yours. Don't worry too much, as all gardeners will tell you - most of gardening is learned from previous mistakes! Hopefully your cistus will go on to make a good recovery and thrive again this year. If not, you might find trying a hardier variety works for you - suggestions include Cistus laurifolius, Cistus 'Grayswood Pink', Cistus x platycephalus or Cistus x oblongifolius.

Good luck! Let us know how you get on.


  • Posted: Tue. 9th February 2010 18:19