Rosa multiflora reproduces by seeds and by rooting at the tips of its drooping canes (Albaugh et al. 1977). Flowering begins in May, and the fruits develop in mid to late summer. The rose hips do not split apart to release the seed, but dry gradually to form a leathery capsule too dense to be wind-carried. The fruits are highly sought after by birds, especially the Cedar waxwing and American Robin (Scott 1965, Albaugh 1977, Barbour and Meade 1980). Birds are responsible for spreading the seeds, and as Schery (1977) noted, rose seedlings are often found under bird perch sites. Wyman (1940) observed better germination of seeds after scarification by passing through the digestive tract of birds. Uneaten rose hips remain on the plant until the following spring (Fawcett 1980) and the seeds remain viable for a number of years (Wyman 1949).
The seeds germinate readily following deposition in the soil. Steavenson (1946) recommended cold stratification from Feb. 1 to April to people planting multiflora rose. Seedlings appear within 60 days at soil temperatures above freezing (Steavenson 1946). Seedlings are generally inconspicuous the first one or two years due to their low growth habit (Schery 1977).