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How to Grow Helianthemum nummularium Plants in your Garden

Gardener's HQ Guide to Growing Common Rock Rose

The Helianthemum nummularium plant is an evergreen that is native of Europe. It has a trailing nature. It carries yellow or pink saucer shaped flowers in late spring and the start of summer; these look quite similar to roses, hence their common name of 'rock-rose'.

The plants like an alkaline dry environment and are natively found on chalk downs. Flowers only last for one day but as the plants carry a multitude of flowers it stays in bloom for a couple of months.

Common Rock Rose

Helianthemum photograph by Leonora (Ellie) Enking.

This is a great plant to grow if you want to attract bees to the garden as rock-rose is a rich source of nectar. The leaves also act as food source that attracts butterflies, moths, and beetles to the garden.

These can make great ground cover in south facing gardens exposed to a lot of sun. Space at about 2.5 inches (8 cm) if growing as cover.

Quick Growing and Care Guide

  • Scientific Name: Helianthemum nummularium
  • Common Name (s): Common Rock Rose, Rock-rose, Flower of the sun
  • Growing Zone (USA / UK Hardiness): 5 to 7 / H5

Plant Details

  • Life Cycle / Plant Type: Evergreen shrub
  • Plant Height: 6 to 12 inches (15 to 30 cm)
  • Plant Spread: 24 to 36 inches (60 to 90 cm)
  • Blooms: Late Spring and early summer
  • Flower Details: Yellow, pale pink, deep red. Five petals. Rose like. Saucer shaped. Short-lived.
  • Leaf Foliages: Paired. Lance shaped. Grey-green. Up to 2 inches long (6 to 10 cm)

Growing Conditions

  • Best Light Conditions: Full sun
  • Suitable Soil Types: Sandy, rocky, chalky
  • Suitable Soil pH: Alkaline
  • Soil Soil Moisture: Dry
  • Sowing, planting, and Propagation:
  • Care: Winter mulch in cooler areas. Shear to encourage further growth and to maintain shape following blooming.

Further Information

  • Best used for: Ground cover. South facing garden.
  • Family:
  • Closely Related Species:
  • Miscellaneous: An individual flower only blooms for one day. Blooming period for up to two months. Synonym: Cistus helianthemum. Rich in nectar that attracts bees to the garden.
  • Family: Cistaceae
  • Further Reading and References used: Wikipedia; MBG