The Q&A Archives: Cistus Ladanifer

Question: I don't know anything about this shrub except that I saw it in an heirloom herb book and think it's beautiful. I've purchased seed from England. Now what? I suspect that it's not hardy in Minnesota. I can move it into a root cellar in the winter or a shed. Any info I come by will be most helpful.

Answer: Cistus is also known as Rock Rose, and it's native to Europe. Most grow 3'-6' high and form irregular mounds. Grow in full sun and well-drained, reasonably dry soil. Most are hardy to about 10F. You may be able to plant yours in a pot and move the pot to a protected spot during the winter months.

Seeds will germinate in 7-30 days when sown on the surface of moistened seed starting mix and kept at 70F-75F. Cover the trays or pots with plastic wrap to help hold in moisture, and don't cover the seeds with soil or they won't germinate. As soon as seedlings sprout remove the plastic wrap to allow air to circulate around them (to prevent the fungal disease damping-off).

If successful, you'll produce plants that are covered with blooms all summer long. Good luck with your cistus!

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