Close this search box.

Orchid rockrose

Cistus x purpureus


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 orchid rockrose include Allen Chickering sage, Baja fairy duster, 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.


This colorful rockrose cultivar grows into a medium to large size mounding shrub, 3-5 ft. tall and 5-8 ft. wide. Long leaves are dark green green on top and pale green below. Large flowers grow 2-3 in. in diameter during spring and are deep orchid-purple with a distinctive crimson-purple spot at the base of each petal.

Orchid 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.

Plant Type: Shrub
Foliage Character: Evergreen
Habit: Upright, Mounding
Growth Rate: Moderate
Foliage Color: Dark green
Flower Color: Magenta
Flower Season: Summer, Spring
Soil Adaptations: Well-draining soil, Rocky soil, Clay
Exposure Adaptations: Wind, Heat, Drought, Coastal salt air, Aridity, All day sun
Function: Foliage accent plant, Flowering accent plant, Commercial spaces, Borders, Banks, Background plant, Slopes, Rock gardens, Hedge, Residential spaces, Raised planters, Parks and open space, Grouped, Foundations
Height: 3 ft. – 4 ft.
Width: 5 ft. – 8 ft.

Set your preferred view

Choose between a list or map view of all signs found in our waterwise garden and park.

Welcome to the Waterwise Garden Digital Tour

This is a digital registry created to offer further information on the physical signs in our waterwise garden and park premises.

Would you like a few tips on how to use this tool?

Move around

Travel to different sections of our garden and park premises by using the horizontal scrollbar at the top.

Locate your sign​

Using the map view, you can preview what each specific sign is about by tapping on the plus icon.

Refer back to these tips

You can view these tips at any time by tapping the Help link in the top left.