Gardening notes: Wanted! “Candy Oh!” Landscape Rose

Picture: Candy Oh! Vivid red rose flowers, in closeup.

From David Beaulieu’s Guide pages:

Outstanding Features:

Vigorous, cold-hardy, disease-resistant, deer-resistant, flowering perpetually without much help from you, these landscape roses are low-maintenance plants par excellence. They will supply your landscaping with vibrant color throughout much of the growing season.

Plant Taxonomy of Candy Oh! Landscape Roses:

This is a plant of many names, so homeowners shopping for it at a garden center or researching it online could easily become confused. Plant taxonomy labels it Rosa ‘Zlemartincipar’ (for an explanation of this crazy moniker, see below). The latter is thecultivar name. Problem is, you’re much more likely to encounter the plant under some combination of the following names: Oso Happy™ Candy Oh! Vivid Red rose.

Plant Type:

Candy Oh! Vivid Red roses are deciduous floweringshrubs. They are hybrid plants. In terms of rose types, they are considered a “landscape” rose, a term virtually synonymous with low-maintenance. I would go further: Candy Oh! landscape roses could serve as the poster child for low-maintenance in theRosa genus.

Characteristics of Candy Oh! Landscape Roses:

This landscape rose bears single pinkish-red flowers. The individual flowers are only about 1 inch in diameter, but they occur in showy clusters. The bush blooms in late spring in my zone-5 garden.

It continues to bloom throughout the summer and into fall. The flowers look best when they first open, because they display a prominent yellow center at that time; later, this yellow color fades (see picture). Some growers describe the flowers as mildly fragrant; I wouldn’t even go that far. This is a rose grown for its looks and low-maintenance, not its smell.

Candy Oh! Vivid Red roses have an upright growth habit and reach 3-4 feet tall, with a similar width. The growth is dense. Leaf color is an average green.


Planting Zones:

Candy Oh! Vivid Red roses are listed for planting zones 4-9. If you live in a region where their cold-hardiness is borderline, apply mulch for winter protection. In zone 5 I have never mulched them for winter and they survive just fine.

Sun and Soil Requirements:

Grow this landscape rose where it will receive full sunshine and where the ground is well-drained. Amend the soil with compost. The shrub prefers a soil pH that is mildly acidic.

Uses for Landscape Roses:

I would not use these landscape roses as singlespecimen plants. In my opinion, they are much more effective massed together and used:



Landscape Roses and Wildlife:

Candy Oh! Vivid Red 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.

Care for Landscape Roses:

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 most growers choose to do the job in early spring. Wear gloves as protection against the bush’s thorns.

Deadheading is not necessary for reblooming. The old flowers drop off and disappear.

Some growers report that Candy Oh! Vivid Red roses require quite a bit of water. I have not found this to be the case, but those who live to the south of me (I’m in New England, U.S.) may need to irrigate more regularly. As with roses generally speaking, watering at the base of the plant is preferred over watering from above; the latter moistens the foliage, which can invite disease.

Candy Oh! Vivid Red roses are considered resistant to, but not immune from many diseases, including mildews, rust and leaf spot. Make sure there’s enough space between these bushes and other plants to promote good air circulation, thereby increasing your chances of avoiding such diseases.

I’ve had to spray neem oil on these landscape shrubs to wipe out aphids. But the health of my Candy Oh! Vivid Red roses didn’t seem to suffer from the aphid infestations as much as some plants do.

Origin of the Name:

The origins of plant names are not always apparent. I owe the following explanation to none other than the breeder of Rosa ‘Zlemartincipar,’ David Charles Zlesak, who posted on the subject of the plant’s naming in a forum on Without his post, I would have been clueless:

First of all, the trademark name (i.e., “Candy Oh! Vivid Red”) comes courtesy of colleague, Tim Wood. The “Vivid Red” part is clear enough. As for the other part, it seems to be an amalgam of two things. To Wood’s eye, the color of the flowers are reminiscent “of 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.

Now for the derivation of that monstrosity of a cultivar name, ‘Zlemartincipar.’ According to Zlesak, the name was created “to honor the late Dr. Martin Cipar who was the potato breeder for Frito Lay and the father in law of my MS advisor”. The first three letters refer to the breeder’s own name, Zlesak.


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