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Cultivation (in U.K.)
N.B. All advice on this page refers to cultivation in the U.K. and similar temperate climates. Cistaceae behave very differently in their native Mediterranean-type climates and require significantly different treatment when cultivated there.
Situation: (see page on hardiness): Sunny, well-drained; a south-facing slope or raised bed is ideal but not essential.
Soil: any well-drained: most kinds are indifferent to soil pH in our climate. Will thrive in poor, stony or sandy, dry soils; good for gravelled beds and part-paved areas
Planting time: from May to September
Site preparation: Add no organic material or fertiliser of any kind. Incorporate generous amount of gritty sand to improve drainage. Water the planting hole well. Ensure that this water drains away rapidly. Otherwise find a better-drained spot.
Planting: Soak the rootball briefly. Do not tease out the roots from the rootball. The roots are very brittle and all the active feeding roots are usually concentrated around the outside of the rootball. Do not plant deeply. Leave the root-ball slightly exposed or plant on a slight mound. Do not feed.
Mulching: Add no organic mulch. Coarse gravel is acceptable.
Pruning: Most sorts cannot be pruned in the accepted sense and will not sprout from old wood. Pinching back after flowering will keep plants compact. Cistus populifolius, C. inflatus and most of their hybrids will tolerate light pruning.
Page last updated 15/11/02
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