Why Is My Cistus Dying? Possible Causes + Solution - Read Here!

Written By James
Updated March 10, 2023 by James

Why Is My Cistus Dying? Possible Causes + Solution - Read Here!

Why Is My Cistus Dying?

Cistus, aside from being pretty, is an easy-to-maintain flowering ornamental plant.

This beautiful flower shrub is easy to grow, requires little maintenance, and abundantly produces varying flower colours.

Cistus are relatively hardy and reliable even in varying climates and garden conditions.

They will thrive as long as they get plenty of sunlight and well-draining soil. 

When well maintained, they will provide a nice display for about ten years.

Or at least that's how they should be. Like any living thing, cistus plants can have problems, too, no matter how easy to grow and maintain they are. 

Cistus plants are generally pest-free and rarely get diseased, but they can get attacked by fungi.

Cistus Quick facts

  • Cistus are commonly known as rock roses or sun roses
  • Cistus is a bushy, spreading evergreen shrub.
  • They produce white and soft-pink flowers.
  • Rock roses bloom once a year and produce abundant amounts of flowers.
  • They are generally pest-free and rarely get diseased.
  • They are native to southern Europe and Northern Africa
  • They naturally grow alongside plants like lavender, sage
  • They can thrive even in stony, thin, nutrient-poor soil
  • They have short-lived flowers, but they can flower for about ten years
  • Cistus are among some of the most drought-tolerant plants
  • They're ideal for Mediterranean-style gardens
  • They're great for coastal and rock gravel garden

Lists Of Cistus Diseases

 As mentioned above, cistus plants are generally pest-free and rarely get diseased.

However, they are not good in moist soil and can get attacked by fungi that thrive in those conditions. 

Powdery Mildew

Rockroses are very susceptible to powdery mildew.

Mildew is a fungus that grows on plants, and powdery mildew, as the name suggests, is a powdery white growth that covers branches and leaves. 

Rockroses are beautiful flowers, but if they get powdery mildew, they won't be pretty anymore.

Leaves of the infected rockrose become twisted and distorted. The leaves will also turn yellow or brown. These yellow or brown leaves will fall from the plant prematurely.

Mildew spreads quickly and can kill the entire plant and the nearby plants, even when you have potted cistus.

To prevent this, use 1/2 tablespoon of baking soda mixed with 2 to 3 drops of dish soap and 1/2 gallon of water to spay off the mildew. This mixture works by changing the pH balance of the plants and preventing the mildew from forming and spreading.

You can also spray neem oil on the leaves to stop the mildew from growing but only when it's below 90 degrees Fahrenheit, preferably at night, or you'll risk burning the leaves because of the oil. 

Verticillium Wilt

Verticillium wilt is also a fungal disease that can kill your cistus plant. 

It gives the leaves yellow discolouration at the margins and between its veins and will eventually cause the leaves to die and fall off. 

This disease will spread from the leaf to the branch, infecting and killing them off. 

Unfortunately, there is no recommendable chemical control for the prevention and cure of verticillium wilt.

The things you can do to prevent it is to make sure you have weed-free soil and disease-free soil, and a healthy plant. 

To kill any pathogens living in the top few inches of the soil, you can utilize a process called solarization.

To use solarization:

You need to water the soil deeply until it's wet. Then cover the area with clear plastic and bury the edges into the ground.

Leave the plastic in place for four weeks in the hottest part of the summer. When the weather cools down, take the plastic off and water the soil thoroughly.

The plastic traps the sun's rays and heats up the soil; this eliminates the problem of fungal diseases.

Sooty Mold

Sooty mould covers the leaves of plants. Honeydew-secreting pests such as aphids trigger the growth of sooty mould.

The sooty mould itself doesn't harm the plant, but the mold on leaves can interfere with the plant's ability to photosynthesize. 

A thick black and fuzzy growth of sooty mould block out vital sunlight, interfering with the plants' photosynthesis process. 

Sooty mould is removed easily from rock rose by wiping the mould off using a damp paper towel. If you don't treat the honeydew-producing pests, the sooties will return.

Soapy solutions, horticultural oil, and predatory insects are some ways to get rid of garden pests that secrete honeydew.

Botrytis Blight

Botrytis blight is caused by a fungus that thrives under humid conditions. They are also called grey moulds.

Rockroses are beautiful plants that grow in rocky areas. Botrytis blight causes them to rot and die. When infected with grey mould, the cistus buds will rot, flowers will get discolouration, and leaves and shoots will wilt, decay, and fall.

When watering cistus, you should water them at the base of the stem and not above it to prevent leaf mould.

Pruning away dead or dying plant matter is important. Carefully prune any infected part and clean up any debris around the rockrose.

Other Reasons For Dying Cistus Plant

Other than diseases, unsuitable environmental conditions can also be a big problem for your cistus plant.

  • Frost leading to dead or frost-damaged growth
  • Waterlogged soils that cause Phytophthora root rot and poor growth
  • Chlorosis or leaf yellowing due to nutrient deficiency
  • Excessive feeding, watering, and soil enrichment cause legginess. Leggy plants are what we call plants that have stretched-out, brittle, and thin stems.

To avoid these, make sure to create a friendly environment for your cistus plant.

Remember that they thrive as long as they get plenty of sunlight and well-draining soil. 

 Final Words

Overall, the main risk, as well as the key to the solution, is controlling the condition your cistus plant grows in.

Make sure it gets just the right amount of water and sun, has free-draining soil, has no pests, and your favourite cistus plant will thrive. 

Remember to be patient and not be too frustrated with the problems in your plant.

We hope you found the answers you're looking for in this article and hope to see you in another one.

Happy gardening!

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My father, and his father before him, and his father; for the past 3 generations, my family have always been into gardening. The green fingers is a gift passed down to me and I thoroughly enjoy it! I also have worked in the manufacturing department for Bosch and DeWalt so I like to think I know a thing or two about tools and such!
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