PO Box 567
Lilydale, Vic 3140
Phone (03) 9735 3831
Cistus are closely related to the genus Halimium, indeed there is even an intergeneric hybrid called Halmiocistus. They are evergreen shrubs native to the countries that ring the Mediterranean. They are generally found in stony, arid scrublands and sandy soil types, particularly in disturbed sites. In hot dry conditions they may drop their leaves but in cultivation this is uncommon. They are tough plants that flower freely and will tolerate extended dry periods. The flowers have showy five petals that are like ruffled crepe and usually fall within a few hours of opening. The plants flower repeatedly with the old petals forming an attractive carpet on the ground beneath.
There are 20 species with numerous hybrids and cultivars. ‘Bennets White’ is a stunning large shrub growing to 1.5m high and wide. It produces masses of huge pure white flowers each up to 10cm across in mid spring to mid summer. Like all members of the Cistaceae family it requires full sun, good drainage and a light prune after flowering. They do not like a hard prune or transplanting. Feed with Osmocote slow release after flowering.
Plant with Escalonia bifida and Lavandula ‘Snowball’ for an all white, drought tolerant garden or as a background plant to a mass planting of assorted Penstemon and Salvia for a coloful spring summer floral display. ‘Bennet’s White’ is just one in the Sunlover TM collection of Cistus and related plants.