Watering of drought-tolerant plants until established

grdnr_wannabeOctober 7, 2009

I am having difficulty knowing how much to water drought-tolerant plants, in particular Pink Rockroses (cistus skanbergii). I planted them in the spring, along with several other drought-tolerant plants. Most of the other plants are fine, but the rockroses are dying, and I cannot determine if I am overwatering or underwatering. I have read that drought-tolerant plants can easily be overwatered. At the same time, I have read that I need to keep them moist until established. I was watering them deeply about once a week in the hot summer, but now that the weather has cooled, should I cut back on the water? They are far from established...they have not grown at all since I planted them, and a lot of the green leaves have yellowed. Help, please.

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they are definititely being underwatered. 2-3 times a week in summer until established. I would still water them 2-3 times a week until your night time temps are consistently below 45 deg. F., weekly after that. What zone are you in?

    Bookmark   October 7, 2009 at 10:59PM
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Thanks for your suggestion. I will water more often. I am in zone 9 (inland valley of Southern California). I also forgot to mention that all the plants, including the rockroses, are surrounded by rocks. I had put down a layer of landscape fabric with river rocks on top, so I believe that helps to keep the soil from drying out. I did recently make sure the rocks weren't right up against the trunks of the plants.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2009 at 10:10AM
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Wannabe, I'm having the exact same problem and I'm in Vista, CA (8 miles inland/San Diego county). I watered deeply once, sometimes twice, from February through May. The bush thrived and generated loads of flowers over a couple of months. The flowers burned out and then the leaves turned brown. They have been 85% brown with no (or very limited) signs of growth for 3 weeks.

I stopped watering them a week ago, thinking I overwatered. Now I'm leaning towards MORE water. What was your experience?

    Bookmark   June 14, 2010 at 11:47AM
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nmgirl(8 S.NM)

What type of soil do you have? Cistus need excellent drainage, they're very happy on dry slopes in their native habitat.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2010 at 10:35AM
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I live on a steep hillside east of downtown San Diego. The soil is rock/boulders and heavy clay. All of my Rock roses do fine as long as I don't over water them and don't clip them back very much (I learned that the hard way). Mine get little to no summer water and then just what water they get in winter naturally. I have probably a half dozen different kinds.


Here is a link that might be useful: My Yard

    Bookmark   August 18, 2010 at 7:31PM
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