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Heather Michaels

Good afternoon everyone,

Your advice and assistance please.

My OH found two of these plants in their pots dumped at the recycling yard about a week ago and bought them home for me.

They aren't dead (yet) but they don't look fully alive either.

I pinched out and cut off anything dead or dying straight off and they looked much better just for that. I've positioned the pots in full sun, as the tag says and as it says they like dry soil haven't watered them so far (although its rained on them a bit!).

I've noticed however that in the last week, both plants have just as many dead or dying leaves as they had when I first saw them. What am I doing wrong? I'm sure they must need some moisture from time to time as I don't see how they can grow without it, but how much?

Both plants have lots and lots of flower buds in spite of all the dead looking leaves. Pics below. Apologies if they are rubbish pics, its blowing up a gale outside and the flippin things refused to hold still! 




Cistus like very well drained conditions and full sun heather, if they get too wet they suffer in exactly that way. You can take softwood cuttings right now and they root quite easily in a well drained potting medium. They can go leggy and aren't long lived so I take cuttings every year about now. They aren't in really bad shape, so I'd just increase the drainage and exposure to the sun, they'll recover.


I love a rescue story! I think they are looking well considering what they have gone through. The new growth looks healthy. Dave has given you good advice. I would let them flower, take your cuttings and then ( after flowering) cut the plant back (to prevent it becoming leggy) When you cut back make sure you can see new buds or growth beneath your secateurs as if you cut too far back into the old wood the plant will not recover. You could do one half of the plant and then a couple of weeks later when you can see new growth occurring, cut the other half back. I usually do mine in late summer in order for the new growth to toughen up before the first frosts.

Salino might be the plants are pot bound.... I would repot if they were mine... giving a soaking first.... otherwise they look quite good actually...

Cistus simply resent being moved.  They are short lived too.  I would take cuttings if possible.  For me, they are plants that should never be watered



...not watered.....? they're in pots I think...all pots need watering...when established in the ground then irrigation is not necessary....

..I like Alan Fradd very much... I found when I grew it, it had quite a long flowering season, longer than most...with sporadic flowers into late summer...


I'd pot them on and if they're totally pot bound, which is likely fif they've been thrown out, I'd take my gardening dinner fork and tease out the roots a bit. Then I'd give them a bigger pot and some gritty compost, a good watering and leave them alone til they dried out before they got more water.



I have a Cistus 'Snowfire' which I bought as a tiny thing three years ago.  I was thrilled when it put on so much growth last year.   However, I did the thing which everyone has warned against - ie moving it.   It was in a position where all the stems were leaning in one direction towards the sun so I had thought last week that I'd dig it up and move it to a better position.  BIG mistake! 

Here's the result.  I had taken one cutting before I moved it and it is sitting in water only looking well at the moment.  But my poor original plant.  Here's a photo.  It's errors like this that bring me up short everytime I do something as stupid as this.  Ah well!


Ah!  In pots yes to watering but it's not a plant I have ever grown in a pot.  Always grown this in sunniest, driest spot without any watering.  It gets leggy v quickly and looks better grown hard.  

I would get them into the ground if you can

Heather Michaels

Thanks for the advice everyone. I have very heavy clay soil, which after this weekend's rain is now absolutely sodden and will take an age to dry out but in light of the advice one the ground is dried out I'll ground plant them, providing I can find somewhere sunny enough (not so much space for any more planting, its pretty full) so the advantage was to leave in the pots where I could move them if they weren't getting enough sun, my garden is also not the sunniest in the world. They haven't got any worse in the last few days so I guess that's good but I will try to take some cuttings as one of them is already leggy. One question though, if I take cuttings, do I have to keep them indoors or under cover at all. I really don't have anywhere indoors I can leave them and I don't have a greenhouse or anything outside (unfortunately). 

Hiya Heather, 

That heavy clay soil of yours is a problem.  Not being the "sunniest in the world" is another.  

Cistus simply wont grow there.  If they survive the summer....if its dry amd hot....the autumn will kill it.  So, prob best to leave them in their pots.  Cuttings are easy.....I would take them in June or July in mpc mixed with perlite.  They will be fine outdoors. I would be inclined to grow these as annuals.  Cuttimgs taken soon will perform next summer. 

Heather Michaels

Hi Verdun, thanks. OK pots it is! We're not totally shaded,  we do get sun in the garden but the back gets the sun in the morning and the front in the afternoon up until the height of summer when the sun is at its highest, then we get a good blast all over the garden. I have mostly things that will cope with a mix of sun and shade. The problem is the trees. There are just so many of them! I'm in the perverse situation of having more sun in the garden during the autumn and winter than in the spring and summer!  I thought I'd give these ago though as I couldn't stand to know they'd been abandoned. I'll see how they go. 

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