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Sunset rockrose

Cistus x pulverulentus ‘Sunset’


Please note:

For most situations, we would not recommend installing this plant in new gardens, landscapes, or plantings in southern California.

Depending on the situation, a few top flowering shrub recommendations to consider instead of Sunset rockrose include Allen Chickering sage, Baja fairy duster, Sunset manzanita, brittle bush, Santa Cruz Island buckwheat, St. Catherine’s lace, and wooly blue curls.

Rockroses have escaped gardens and in some areas aggressively grow in wild areas in parts of southern California where they can outcompete native species. They should not be grown in gardens adjacent or close to wild areas to prevent this from further happening.

This plant profile is included in this site as a reference for two primary reasons:

  1. If you already have this plant in your landscape, this information can be used to know how to care for it.
  2. If you already have this plant in your landscape, you can use this information to learn which of our recommended plants have the same recommended watering needs, making them potential choices for grouping together if you will be adding new plants to the existing area.

In general, instead of this plant, we recommend planting appropriate California native plants whenever possible.

In addition to their beauty, California native plants offer the most additional benefits beyond just low water use, including habitat for the birds, butterflies, and pollinators who evolved here with them. This adds value and beauty in your landscape beyond just a pretty plant, allowing the landscape to actively contribute to the environment instead of just using less water. You can find our top recommended native plant choices on our Plant Finder by selecting “California Native” and learn more about California native plants here.

To learn what exactly California native plants are and how they are different from other low water plants, visit this link.

For visual interest or other reasons, some people may also want to mix in other non-native low-water demanding plant choices even though they do not have the same ecological value as native plants. For that reason, we feature a number of non-native waterwise selections on this site as well. However, we see native plants as the best “go to” for most landscape or garden choices! We encourage people to consider planting at least 50% of their landscape to native plants. See our Garden Designs section or visit our Waterwise Demonstration Garden in Montclair for plenty of inspiration.


Sunset rockrose is a tough plant, which is why it has been planted in many gardens, where it may grow larger than expected and outcompete or smother neighboring plants. Many people do find the flowers attractive, but the rockroses as a group of plants tend to offer little value to our local beneficial wildlife and can aggressively spread in gardens and into adjacent landscapes.

Sunset rockrose is low spreading to mounding shrub, 18-24 in. tall and ranging 3-5 ft. across. Deep rose-magenta flowers with yellow centers cover the plant in spring. Foliage is comprised of pale green leaves that are covered with many small hairs and heavily textured.

Plant Type: Shrub, Ground cover
Foliage Character: Evergreen
Habit: Spreading, Mounding
Growth Rate: Moderate
Foliage Color: Medium green
Flower Color: Magenta
Flower Season: Summer, Spring
Soil Adaptations: Well-draining soil, Rocky soil
Exposure Adaptations: All day sun, Wind, Heat, Drought, Coastal salt air, Aridity
Function: Parks and open space, Grouped, Foliage accent plant, Flowering accent plant, Commercial spaces, Borders, Banks, Slopes, Small spaces, Rock gardens, Residential spaces, Raised planters
Height: 12 in. – 18 in.
Width: 3 ft. – 6 ft.

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