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x Halimiocistus - Growing Guide

Growing x Halimiocistus

This is a genus of dwarfish evergreen shrubs which are derived from crosses between Cistus and Halimium in Portugal and France where these species overlap in the wild. They are found in hot, dry soil conditions and these are what you need to try to replicate to grow them successfully in UK gardens. The base of a sunny wall is idea or in a well-drained raised bed or in the rockery. These plants prefer sandy or poor soils which are not that fertile and full sun is essential. They will grow less well in partial shade or in soil that has been improved by the addition of compost or fertiliser. Ideal plants for sunny coastal gardens with poor soils.

H. sahucii is a fully hardy low spreading shrub with linear dark green lance shaped leaves. In summer the plant produces a profusion of saucer shaped pure white flowers of about 1in across in cymes which open over a lengthy period. The plant may achieve about 18in in height with a much greater spread.

H. wintonensis was raised at Hillier Nurseries. It is an evergreen shrub of 1½-2ft in height with a spreading habit. The young shoots and grey-green leaves are covered initially with a soft white wool. In late spring and early summer it produces saucer shaped white flowers which are 2in across with yellow stamens and crimson-marron bands. H. wintonensis ‘Merrist Wood Cream’ has creamy yellow flowers with yellow centres and red banding. Both these plants require a very sheltered hot spot and are by no means as tough as H. sahucii despite their considerable beauty.

These are fairly short lived plants which can get a bit scruffy over time with dieback in the centre of the plant. Pruning or trimming makes little difference and is largely unnecessary. However it is sensible to take semi-ripe cuttings in late summer every few years to be able to start these wonderful plants off again. It may be best to keep the young plants in the greenhouse for the first year.

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