These Mediterranean natives are carefree shrubs that grow well in limy soils and perform beautifully in dry-summer areas such as Southwest Texas, bloom- ing profusely for a month or more in spring or early summer. They need no fertilizer and very little water; if they will be watered, be sure to provide excellent drainage. Periodically prune out a few of the old stems to keep plants looking neat; tip-pinch young plants to make them bushy.
C. ladanifer. CRIMSON-SPOT ROCKROSE. Compact growth to 35 ft. high with equal spread. Fragrant leaves to 4 in. long are dark green above, lighter beneath; 3-in.-wide flowers are white with a dark crimson spot at each petal base. Selections include 'Blanche', to 812 ft. high, 68 ft. wide, with 4-in. white flowers; and 'Frank Birch', to 68 ft. tall and wide, also with pure white, 4-in. blossoms. C. l. petiolatus 'Bennett's White' grows 46 ft. high and wide; 34-in. flowers have wavy, crepe papertextured petals around a large cluster of yellow stamens. C. l. sulcatus latifolius is a lower grower (to 2 ft.) but has larger blooms (34 in. across). Hybrids include 'Maculatus' (C. x aguilarii 'Maculatus'), to 6 ft. tall, 45 ft. wide, with blooms prominently spotted in maroon.
C. laurifolius. LAUREL ROCKROSE. Stiff, erect growth to 46 ft. high and wide. Dark green, 5-in. leaves with pale undersides. White, 2- to 212-in. flowers, in long-stalked clusters of three or more. Good hedge or background shrub for dry areas.
C. xpurpureus. ORCHID ROCKROSE. Compact grower to 4 ft. tall and wide. Leaves 12 in. long, dark green above, gray and hairy beneath. Reddish purple, 3-in. flowers with red spot at base of each petal.
C. xskanbergii. Low, broad bush to 3 ft. tall and 8 ft. wide. Gray-green, 2-in. leaves; pure pink, 1-in. flowers in great profusion.