Growing Guide
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Sun Rose

Herbaceous Perennial Flower

Also known as Rock Rose
Helianthemum nummularium
Cistaceae Family
Synonym: Helianthemum chamaecistus, Helianthemum variabile, Helianthemum vulgare

With showy flowers in shades of orange, pink, yellow and white, this low subshrub requires excellent drainage, and is only marginally hardy in Zone 5. Works best in rock gardens and well-drained borders.

Site Characteristics
  • full sun
May tolerate part shade, particularly in hot weather.

Soil conditions:

  • tolerates droughty soil
  • requires well-drained soil
Prefers sandy or rocky soil, with neutral to alkaline pH. Excellent drainage a must to overwinter plants.

Hardiness zones:

  • 5 to 8
Requires excellent drainage and winter protection to survive in Zone 5.

Special locations:

  • rock gardens
  • xeriscapes
Plant Traits

Lifecycle: perennial

Ease-of-care: moderately difficult

Height: 0.5 to 1 feet

Spread: 1 to 3 feet

Bloom time:

  • late spring
  • early summer

Flower color:

  • orange
  • yellow
  • white
  • pink

Flowers have yellow centers.

Foliage color:

  • dark green
  • gray-green
  • other

Gray green, dark green, or gray.

Foliage texture: medium

Shape: spreading mass

Shape in flower: same as above

Special Considerations
Special characteristics:
  • non-aggressive
  • non-invasive
  • not native to North America - Native to the Mediterranean.
  • evergreen - Evergreen or semi-evergreen subshrub.
Growing Information
How to plant:

Propagate by cuttings, division or separation - Make softwood cuttings in spring.

Divide in spring. Division needed only every 4 to 5 years.

Maintenance and care:
Cut back after flowering to encourage growth. If plants get leggy, cut back to 6 inches or less every 2 to 3 years. Complete any pruning by late summer to allow plants to harden off before winter.

Mulch after hard fall frost.

Do not allow the soil to become soggy at any time (especially winter).

Divide every 4 or 5 years in spring.

More growing information: How to Grow Perennials

Varieties differ primarily in height and flower and foliage color. Cultivars may be crosses of H. nummularium, H. apenninum, and H. croceum.

‘Buttercup’ grows 1 foot tall and has golden blooms.

‘Fire Dragon’ grows 1 foot tall and has reddish-orange blossoms on plants with gray foliage.

‘Henfield Brilliant’ grows 1 foot tall and has orange-red blooms.

‘Jubilee’ has double gold-yellow flowers.

‘Traspberry Ripple’ has pink and white striped blooms.

‘St. Mary’s' has very dark green foliage and white blooms.

‘Wisley Pink’ grows 1 foot tall and has pastel pink blooms and gray foliage.