Rockrose – a beautiful drought tolerant perennial from Mediterranean

Apr 23, 2016
Beautiful blossom

I planted a rockrose in our garden, in the San Francisco Bay area, about 2 years ago.  Since then, it just remained a quiet small shrub.  All leaves.  No blossom.  Never thought anything about it until a morning in March, after a full day of heavy rain and a pretty heavy rainy season brought by El Nino. Voila!  flowers!  So it does blossom, after all! Look at those dark pink dots on the pink patals – making the flowers look like small smiling faces! The rockrose stood proudly with its smiling faces for about a week, then I packed my stuff and left for a trip in Europe.  Before I left the house, I waived it a silent goodbye:  so long, my rockrose!

Same smiling face in Barcelona

The first week in Europe was like a wind whirl, then I landed at Barcelona.  There were so much to see, so much to do.  The day before I left, I went to this big park with other people.   As everyone was just rushing to the entrance, I saw this on the slope along the road: Rockrose Rockroses!  So glad I can see you here half the globe away!  The blossom, the leaves….you are truly sisters!  The only difference is this variety does not have the dark pink dots on their petals, nevertheless they smile the same bright smiles in the spring sun. 

A perennial from Mediterrarean

This is what I found on Wikipedia when I searched for the word “rockrose”: “The Cistaceae are a small family of plants (rock-rose or rock rose family) known for their beautiful shrubs, which are profusely covered by flowers at the time of blossom. This family consists of about 170-200 species in eight genera, distributed primarily in the temperate areas of Europe and the Mediterranean basin, but also found in North America; a limited number of species are found in South America. Most Cistaceae /are subshrubs and low shrubs, and some are herbaceous. They prefer dry and sunny habitats. Cistaceae grow well on poor soils, and many of them are cultivated in gardens.” No wonder I see rockrose in Barcelona…they come form here!

Plant a rockrose in your garden

Rockrose is a great perennial to have in a water efficient garden.  Beautiful blossom, multiple species and blossom colors to choose from – purple, yellow, white, pink, etc., and needs very little or no water once established.  Rockrose qualifies for landscape rebate programs, such as Santa Clara Water District Landscape Rebate Program. Rockroses needs full sun, and can grow in almost any soil type.  Water regularly until it establishes, then just leave it there.  It will serve up pretty blossom when the time arrives, just like the ones at my garden. Visit for more info about the water efficient plants and gardens.

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