Candy Oh Rose Bush Plant Profile

Ideal Shrub for Non-Green Thumbs

Candy Oh! Vivid Red rose flowers, in closeup.
David Beaulieu

Candy Oh roses fall into the "landscape rose" category, a term virtually synonymous with low-maintenance. The bush blooms all summer long and into fall without much care from you. Deadheading is not necessary for reblooming. The old flowers drop off and disappear, keeping the plant attractive naturally.

  • Botanical Name: Rosa 'Zlemartincipar'
  • Common Name: Candy Oh rose
  • Plant Type: Broadleaf, deciduous shrub used as a flowering bush in landscaping
  • Mature Size: 3 to 4 feet tall, with a similar width
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun
  • Soil Type: Average fertility, well-drained, and kept evenly moist
  • Soil pH: Mildly acidic
  • Bloom Time: June to September
  • Flower Color: Pinkish-red
  • Hardiness Zones: 4 to 9
  • Native Area: Most members of this widespread genus are indigenous to the Northern Hemisphere; Candy Oh is a hybrid.

How to Grow Candy Oh Roses

Candy Oh plants are easy rose bushes to grow. If you live in a region where their cold-hardiness is borderline, apply mulch for winter protection. Mulch is also helpful in keeping the roots cool during the summer.

Pruning is not required, but you can prune if you wish to keep them within bounds or to shape them. As vigorous as they are, these landscape roses are not fussy as to when they are pruned, but many growers choose to do the job in late winter or early spring since these are shrubs that bloom on new growth. Wear gloves as protection against the bush's thorns when pruning. Some growers simply prune them whenever their thorns make it uncomfortable for them to access and care for surrounding plants. 

Watering at the base of the plant is preferred over watering from above; the latter moistens the foliage, which can invite diseases such as powdery mildew. It is also best to water in the morning so that the area has all day to dry out (rather than providing the wet conditions overnight that fungus craves).​

These roses are considered resistant to many diseases, but they are not immune to them. Such diseases include mildews, rust, and leaf spot. Make sure there is enough space between the bushes and other plants to promote good air circulation, thereby decreasing susceptibility to such diseases.

You might have to spray neem oil on these shrubs to kill aphids. But the health of Candy Oh roses does not seem to suffer from aphid infestations as much as some plants do. Other pests that can attack landscape roses include:

  • Beetles
  • Borers
  • Scale
  • Thrips
  • Midges
  • Leafhoppers
  • Spider mites

Candy Oh roses are deer-resistant shrubs but are also plants that attract butterflies, so you get the best of both worlds in the matter of wildlife.

Light

Grow this landscape rose where it will receive full sunshine.

Soil

Install it where the ground is well-drained.

Water

Some growers report that Candy Oh requires quite a bit of water, but most in the North do not find this to be the case. Those who live in the South will, however, need to irrigate regularly.

Fertilizer

Amend the soil with compost.

Features of Candy Oh Roses

The single, pinkish-red flowers are only about 1 inch in diameter, but they occur in showy clusters. The flowers look best when they first open because they display a prominent yellow center at that time; later, this yellow color fades. Some growers describe the flowers as mildly fragrant, but many grow this bush strictly for its looks and low-maintenance, not the smell of its blooms.

Candy Oh roses have an upright growth habit. The growth is dense. Leaf color is a medium green.

Candy Oh rose is the ideal low-maintenance plant, because it is:

  • Vigorous
  • Cold-hardy
  • Disease-resistant
  • Pest-resistant

Uses for Landscape Roses

Do not use these landscape roses as single specimen plants. They are much more effective massed together and used:

Confusion Over, Origin of the Name

Candy Oh rose is a plant of many names, so homeowners shopping for it at a garden center or researching it online could easily become confused. 'Zlemartincipar' is the cultivar name. Problem is, you are much more likely to encounter the plant under some combination of the following names:

  • Oso Happy, which is the name of a series (of which Candy Oh is just one part)
  • Candy Oh! (yes, technically, the exclamation point is part of the name, but it is commonly dropped)
  • Vivid Red

Together, "Candy Oh!" and "Vivid Red" make up the trademark name. The explanation of this trademark name comes courtesy of Tim Wood, product development manager at Spring Meadow Nursery and Proven Winners. The "Vivid Red" part is clear enough, referring to floral color. As for "Candy Oh!," it seems to be an amalgam of two things. To Wood's eye, the color of the flowers is similar to "a red car paint color called Candy Apple Red." Meanwhile "Candy-O" is the name of a song sung by the American rock band, The Cars.

The origins of plant names are not always apparent—and the origin of the cultivar name, 'Zlemartincipar,' is particularly obscure. We owe the explanation of its origin to none other than the breeder of Rosa 'Zlemartincipar,' David Charles Zlesak. The middle and last parts of the name honor Dr. Martin Cipar, a potato breeder for Frito Lay. The first three letters refer to the breeder's own name, Zlesak.