Rockrose

'Elma'
Rockrose


"When Armistead died amid his foes,
Girt by the rebel cheer,
God plucked a soul like a white rose
In June time o' the year."

-Armistead Churchill Gordon
(1855-1931)

   

RockroseA 1949 recipient of the Award of Garden Merit, Cistus laurifolius x palhinhaii 'Elma' (aka C. cyprius var. ellipticus 'Elma') has reddish buds that open to reveal large three-inch pure white flowers with yellow & orange eye.

These big flowers greatly resemble big single white wild roses. They are most numerous mid-May through July.

Slender evergreen foliage is sea-green & shiny, with a wonderful piney odor that floats upon the air when even a mild breeze rustles the leaves.

It's two parents are natives of Mediterranean Europe & North Africa. From C. laurifolius 'Elma' gains a heightened degree of cold-hardiness, strengthening C. palhinhaii which is otherwise more delicate.

The upright & spreading hybrid can grow six feet high & wide, though some never get taller than about three feet tall with four foot spread. Periodic sheering keeps it compact. It does not desire pruning to bloom well, but only for shape & size.

It is cold hardy to zone 7, but will suffer winter damage at temperatures below ten degrees & require a hard pruning at winter's end. At the same time it can also be given a little slow-release fertilizer, baring in mind that rockroses thrive in poor soil & do not require a lot of feeding.

Once established it is, like all rockroses, extremely drought-hardy. It wants full sun in sharply draining soil, its one enemy being too much dampness. Ours is in a low-maintenance garden with rugosa roses &mp lavenders.

   



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