Welcome to Helianthemums.co.uk, a website by Andrew Roberts dedicated to my collection and propagation of the smallish shrubs commonly known as rock roses. Rock roses are a familiar group of plants mainly represented in cultivation by a single species, Helianthemum nummularium that has numerous cultivars. There are roughly 100 species of Helianthemums originally from North America, Europe, West Asia and North Africa. The name Helianthemum is from the Greek helios suggesting sun and anthemon meaning flower. They belong to the family Cistaceae.
Cistacease (the rock rose family) is a small family of plants seen as beautiful shrubs, which are profusely covered by flowers at the time of blossom. All prefer dry and sunny habitats grow well on poor soils and many of them are commonly cultivated in our gardens.
Winter hardy varieties of Helianthemums are sometimes known as Frostworts, Frostweeds, or Frostplants because their silver foliage makes them look frosted and they retain their good looks even during the winter months.
Commonly described as a spreading semi-evergreen shrub up-to 30cm (12inches) in height, the leaves originally existed green above and grey underneath. Clusters of bright yellow, saucer shaped flowers would cover the plant in mid-summer. In the centre of the flower is a tight cluster of orange stamens, which are sensitive to touch and spread outwards to reveal the tall stigma in the middle. The plant is common on chalk down land and occasionally on other meadow land, hardy to -20 degrees F.
Over many years, the original Helianthemum nummularium has been cultivated to develop many garden cultivars with flowers ranging from white through yellow to deep red. Further progress in breeding has resulted in the addition of both semi-double and double flowers in many colours. There are now over 200 established named garden cultivars, over 100 of these named cultivars are currently held in my collection.
I have been collecting and propagating Helianthemum cultivars here in Hartley, Kent - south east of the United Kingdom for over 10 years. Back in 1997, my first cultivar was H. ‘Chocolate Blotch’ but since then expansion of the collection has been continuous as and when I manage to source new suppliers.
Please browse through the site to discover my full collection, propagation techniques and the background into the cultivation of this genus. Should you be looking to start your own mini collection, a small selection of propagated cultivars can be found for purchase in my Mail Order shop.