Grey-leaved cistus Cistus albidus

👤 Non-toxic to humans
🐾 Non-toxic to pets
🌸 Blooming
🍪 Not edible
‍🌱 Easy-care
white-leaved rock rose


Cistus albidus, commonly known as grey-leaved cistus or white rockrose, presents a characteristic appearance that makes it a beautiful addition to landscapes where it thrives. The most striking feature is its profuse flowers, which are a vivid pink with a yellow center, resembling single roses. These flowers are quite large relative to the plant's overall size and are borne in clusters that can create a compelling display during the blooming season. The foliage of grey-leaved cistus is another notable aspect of its appearance. The leaves are grey-green, dense, and have a slightly hairy or woolly texture, lending the plant a soft, frosted look that contrasts beautifully against the brighter colors of the flowers. This hairy coating on the leaves is an adaptation to survive in dry, sunny environments. The plant generally takes on a shrubby form, with multiple stems branching out from the base. The branches themselves tend to spread outwards, giving the plant a somewhat rounded and bushy silhouette. The stems and branches are woody, providing a sturdy structure for the plant. The contrast between the soft, woolly leaves and the vibrant pink flowers makes grey-leaved cistus particularly eye-catching. It is especially attractive when in full bloom, as the plant seems to be covered in a multitude of fluttering pink butterflies. The visual appeal of grey-leaved cistus makes it a popular choice for rock gardens, wild gardens, and as part of Mediterranean landscape designs. The overall appearance of grey-leaved cistus is a testament to its resilience and adaptability, as it thrives in the tough conditions typical of Mediterranean climates and is well-adapted to cope with both dry conditions and poor soils. Its appealing aesthetic qualities, along with its hardiness, make it a valuable plant for gardeners looking to add a touch of natural beauty to their outdoor spaces.

Plant Info
Common Problems

About this plant

  • memoNames

    • Family


    • Synonyms

      Grey-leaved Cistus, White Rockrose, White Cistus, Albida Rockrose

    • Common names

      Cistus villosus, Cistus villosus var. albidus, Cistus incanus subsp. albidus, Cistus populifolius, Cistus corbariensis, Cistus laurifolius, Cistus liburnicus, Cistus psilosepalus, Helianthemum albidum.

  • infoCharacteristics

    • Life cycle


    • Foliage type


    • Color of leaves


    • Flower color


    • Height

      3-5 feet (0.9-1.5 meters)

    • Spread

      5 feet (1.5 meters)

    • Plant type


    • Hardiness zones


    • Native area



  • money-bagGeneral Benefits

    • Drought Tolerance: Cistus albidus, commonly known as Grey-leaved Cistus, is highly resistant to dry conditions, requiring minimal water once established.
    • Landscape Aesthetic: It boasts attractive, light pink to purple flowers that provide visual interest and enhance garden aesthetics.
    • Low Maintenance: This plant has low maintenance needs, tolerating poor soil and requiring little care once it is established.
    • Erosion Control: Its root system helps to stabilize slopes and prevent soil erosion.
    • Wildlife Attraction: The flowers of the Grey-leaved Cistus attract bees and other pollinators, supporting biodiversity.
    • Fire Resistant: Cistus albidus has fire-retardant properties, making it a beneficial plant in fire-prone areas to create defensible space.

  • medicalMedical Properties

    • Antioxidant activity: Cistus albidus contains polyphenols that exhibit antioxidant properties, which help in protecting the body from oxidative stress.
    • Anti-inflammatory effects: The plant possesses anti-inflammatory compounds, useful in reducing inflammation in various conditions.
    • Antimicrobial action: Extracts from Cistus albidus have been found to have antibacterial and antifungal properties, potentially aiding in the prevention or treatment of infections.

  • windAir-purifying Qualities

    This plant is not specifically known for air purifying qualities.

  • leavesOther Uses

    • Cistus albidus, commonly known as Grey-leaved Cistus, can be used in the production of perfumes due to its aromatic and resinous leaves and stems.
    • The plant provides a valuable habitat and food source for pollinators including bees and butterflies, which are attracted to its flowers.
    • Its dense and bushy growth habit makes Grey-leaved Cistus suitable for use in hedges or for erosion control on slopes and embankments.
    • The resin obtained from Grey-leaved Cistus, also known as labdanum, is used as a flavoring agent in food products.
    • Traditionally, the plant has been used to dye wool and other fabrics a brownish color, utilizing the tannins present in its leaves.
    • Gardeners may use Grey-leaved Cistus as a companion plant to support the growth of other species by providing shelter from wind and excessive sun.
    • The plant's woody stems can be used as fire starters due to their high resin content, which makes them easy to ignite.
    • In landscaping, Cistus albidus is planted for ornamental purposes, with its showy white to pink flowers adding aesthetic value to gardens.
    • Used in the art of bonsai, the Grey-leaved Cistus can be trained into miniature forms for display and contemplation.
    • Cistus albidus leaves have been employed in the production of a natural potpourri due to their fragrance.

Interesting Facts

  • bedFeng Shui

    The Grey-leaved cistus is not used in Feng Shui practice.

  • aquariusZodiac Sign Compitability

    The Grey-leaved cistus is not used in astrology practice.

  • spiralPlant Symbolism

    • Resilience - Cistus albidus, commonly known as grey-leaved cistus, is adapted to dry, poor soils and can survive in harsh Mediterranean climates, symbolizing the ability to endure and thrive in challenging conditions.
    • Beauty in adversity - With its bright, showy flowers that bloom even in infertile lands, the grey-leaved cistus represents finding and celebrating beauty despite hardship.
    • Renewal - This plant is often among the first to reappear after wildfires, representing rebirth and the strength to start anew after destruction.
    • Healing - Due to its use in traditional medicine and its resin's antiseptic properties, the grey-leaved cistus symbolizes healing and protection against ailments.

2500 - 10000 Lux
Not required
Spring to summer
As needed
  • water dropWater

    Grey-leaved cistus plants, including the white-leaved rockrose (Cistus albidus), are drought-tolerant and should be watered sparingly. They typically need watering only once every 1 to 2 weeks during dry periods, receiving about 1 gallon of water per plant for each watering session. This amount may vary depending on soil type and climate, with sandy soils requiring more frequent watering than clay soils. It's crucial to allow the soil to dry out between waterings to prevent root rot. During the winter or in naturally moist climates, additional watering may not be necessary. Always water the plant at the base, avoiding wetting the foliage to minimize the risk of fungal diseases.

  • sunLight

    The white-leaved rockrose thrives best in full sun conditions, requiring at least 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight per day. Planting it in a south-facing location ensures optimal light exposure, contributing to more robust growth and better flowering. While it can tolerate some partial shade, too little sunlight can lead to leggy growth and fewer blooms. Ensure that the chosen spot is sheltered from strong winds, which can damage its delicate flowers.

  • thermometerTemperature

    White-leaved rockrose is well-adapted to warm climates and prefers temperatures within the range of 50 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit. It can survive winter lows down to around 23 degrees Fahrenheit, but temperatures below this may damage the plant. Ideal growth occurs within this temperature range, provided the plant is not exposed to frost, as it may not be frost-hardy in severe cold snaps.

  • scissorsPruning

    Pruning the white-leaved rockrose is important to maintain its shape and encourage bushier growth. Pruning should be done immediately after flowering to avoid cutting off the next season's buds. Typically, a light trimming, removing about a third of the previous year's growth, suffices. Prune every one to two years, or as needed to remove dead or damaged branches, which can also help to prevent disease.

  • broomCleaning

    As needed

  • bambooSoil

    The Gray Rockrose (Cistus albidus) thrives in well-draining soil with a mixture of loam, sand, and peat, providing good aeration and drainage. It prefers a slightly acidic to neutral pH, ranging from 6.0 to 7.5. For optimal growth, amend the soil with organic matter to improve fertility.

  • plantRepotting

    The Gray Rockrose should be repotted every two to three years or when it outgrows its current pot. Repot in spring or early summer to minimize stress on the plant and encourage rapid root establishment in the new container.

  • water dropsHumidity & Misting

    Gray Rockrose prefers a dry to moderate humidity environment, typical of its Mediterranean origin. It doesn't require high humidity and is quite tolerant of dry air conditions.

  • pinSuitable locations

    • Indoor

      Place Gray Rockrose in bright, indirect light and keep in well-draining soil.

    • Outdoor

      Plant in full sun with well-draining soil; tolerate drought once established.

    • Hardiness zone

      8-11 USDA

  • circleLife cycle

    Cistus albidus, commonly known as Grey-leaved Cistus, begins its life cycle with seed germination, which is typically prompted by the warmth and moisture of spring. After germination, the seedling stage involves initial root and shoot development, during which the plant is particularly vulnerable to environmental stresses. As the plant matures into the vegetative stage, it develops a robust root system and woody stems, along with the characteristic grey-green leaves. The reproductive stage follows, with Grey-leaved Cistus producing showy pink or purple flowers in late spring to early summer, attracting pollinators such as bees. Upon successful pollination, the flowers produce seeds encased in capsules that, when mature, open to release the seeds for dispersal. The plant then enters a period of dormancy during the hotter, drier months, conserving energy and resources until the following spring, thereby completing its annual life cycle.

  • sproutPropogation

    • Propogation time

      Spring to summer

    • The most popular method of propagation for the Cistus albidus, commonly known as the Grey-leaved Cistus or White-leaved Rockrose, is by seed. Seed propagation is best carried out in autumn or spring, when the temperature is mild enough to support germination. To do this, seeds should be sown in well-draining soil in a pot or a seedbed. The soil should be kept moist but not waterlogged to prevent the seeds from rotting. Once sown, cover the seeds lightly with soil, as they require some light to germinate effectively. Germination times can be highly variable, and once the seedlings have developed a few true leaves, they can be carefully transplanted to their final location.