Watering, exposure and pruning

The Cistus plant does not require a lot of water and fears stagnation: it has delicate roots which, just as they do not like repeated explanting, also badly tolerate the accumulation of water. It is therefore advisable to water the Cistus only in particularly hot periods and only when the soil is dry. In winter, the watering of the plant should be reduced, if not completely suspended. The Cistus loves sunny places and is not afraid of the wind: only the «Ladanifer» variety (less «rustic» than the other species), located in warm regions, requires a shady position. The pruning operation must exclusively concern any dead or severely damaged parts, from bad weather or parasites; however, a slight topping of young plants allows a better thickening of the vegetative part.

Multiplication and cultivation

The multiplication of the Cistus occurs by sowing or by «cutting». The seeds should be placed in boxes, at the end of winter, or directly on the ground, towards the middle of spring. The Cistus propagates quickly, therefore it is advisable to reserve adequate space for it so that it is not suffocated by other plants, its «neighbors» in the garden. The cuttings, on the other hand, are taken in spring and rooted in a compost made up of sand and peat. The choice of the cutting must fall on the mature branches but with no more than one year of life. Before planting on the culture «compost», the cuttings can be treated with «rooting hormones». Once planted, the plant should no longer be moved because its roots suffer from explant. If grown in pots, Cistus requires a bottom of «expanded clay»,

Soil and fertilization

The suitable growing medium for Cistus is soft, moderately fertile and well drained. Water stagnation can be avoided by adding river sand to the too compact and clayey soils. This plant also tolerates calcareous soils well but not excessively chalky, because there is the risk of damaging the root system with chlorosis. The «Salvifolius» variety, on the other hand, requires an acidic soil. In the case of frost, the Cistus must be repaired with a sheet of non-woven fabric and with a «mulch», placed at the base of the plant. The Cistus does not require particular fertilization interventions, except at the end of the winter period, when it could be useful to help the plant by sprinkling its base with «ternary» fertilizer in slow-release granules.

Cistus: Diseases and Remedies

The main problem of the Cistus is the delicacy of its roots which, in the presence of water stagnation, can rot due to asphyxiation. In addition to not exceeding with irrigation water, it is necessary to periodically test the drainage capacity of the growing medium and the correct ventilation of the area where the plant is planted. The Cistus can undergo parasitic attacks by aphids and scale insects, which can be eradicated with specific phytosanitary products but also with biological remedies. In order not to have to administer an excessive amount of pesticide to the plant, it is good to proceed with the manual removal of aphids and scale insects, using a damp cloth to pass over the leaves, stems and buds. Parts damaged by such «unwanted guests» should be promptly pruned.

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