Multiflora Roses: A Guide to Growing and Caring for Them

Multiflora roses are a problematic invasive species that can quickly take over native plants, disrupting ecosystems. You may be familiar with this species, which was initially introduced from eastern Asia as rootstock for ornamental roses, for erosion control, and to provide food and cover for wildlife.

Unfortunately, their vigorous growth and ability to form dense thickets can choke out other plants, making them a major issue for landowners and conservationists alike.

Despite these challenges, there are ways to control and remove multiflora roses. In this article, we will explore the various methods of maintenance, as well as alternative options for managing these invasive species. We will also discuss the benefits of multiflora roses and whether or not they are truly invasive.

Multiflora Roses

Multiflora Roses

If you’re looking for a tough and attractive rose variety, Multiflora Roses might be the perfect choice. Here’s what you need to know about them.

History and Origin

Multiflora Roses, or Rosa multiflora, are native to eastern Asia and were introduced to the United States in the 1860s.

They were brought over as rootstock for ornamental roses but were later planted as living fences, erosion control, and to provide food and cover for wildlife.


Multiflora Roses are large, scrambling shrubs or rambling roses that can grow up to 15 feet tall and 20 feet wide. They have long, arching canes that are covered in sharp thorns.

The leaves are pinnately compound and have toothed leaflets. The flowers are small and white with yellow central stamens and are slightly fragrant. They bloom in early summer and are followed by red, oval-shaped hips that contain seeds.

Multiflora Roses are incredibly hardy and can grow in a variety of soil types, from sandy to clay. They are also resistant to many pests and diseases and can tolerate drought and flooding.


If you’re interested in growing Multiflora Roses, here are some tips to get you started:

  • Plant in full sun to partial shade
  • Water deeply and regularly, especially during the first year of growth
  • Fertilize in early spring with a balanced fertilizer
  • Prune in late winter or early spring to promote new growth and remove any dead or diseased wood
  • Use caution when handling the canes, as they are covered in sharp thorns

Multiflora Roses can be propagated from seeds, cuttings, or layering. However, keep in mind that they can be invasive in some areas and may require regular maintenance to keep them under control.

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To keep your Multiflora Roses healthy and thriving, it’s important to maintain them regularly. Here are some tips to help you with the maintenance of your roses:


Consistent watering is essential to keep your Multiflora Roses healthy. It’s recommended that you water your roses once a week, giving them a good soak.

However, be careful not to overwater them as this can lead to root rot. You can also consider using a drip irrigation system to ensure that the water is distributed evenly.


Fertilizing your roses is crucial to keep them healthy and blooming. You can use a balanced fertilizer in the spring and summer months to encourage growth and flowering.

It’s recommended that you use a slow-release fertilizer to avoid over-fertilizing and damaging the roots.


Pruning your Multiflora Roses is important to keep them in shape and promote healthy growth.

It’s recommended that you prune your roses in the late winter or early spring before new growth appears. Cut back any dead or damaged branches and remove any crossing branches to allow for better air circulation.

Pest Control

Multiflora Roses are susceptible to pests and diseases, so it’s important to keep an eye out for any signs of infestation.

You can use insecticidal soap or neem oil to control pests such as aphids and spider mites. If you notice any signs of disease, such as black spots on the leaves, you can use a fungicide to treat the problem.

Winter Care

Multiflora Roses are hardy plants, but they still require some winter care to ensure their survival. You can protect your roses by adding a layer of mulch around the base of the plant to insulate the roots. You can also wrap the plant with burlap to protect it from harsh winter winds.

By following these maintenance tips, you can ensure that your Multiflora Roses remain healthy and beautiful year after year.

Are Multiflora Roses Invasive?

Are Multiflora Roses Invasive?

Multiflora roses are considered invasive in many parts of the world, including the United States. They are able to grow and spread quickly, outcompeting native plants and taking over large areas of land. This can have a negative impact on the local ecosystem, as well as on agriculture and forestry.

Multiflora roses are classified as a noxious weed in many states, meaning that they are considered harmful to the environment and are subject to legal control measures. They are also banned for sale in some areas, as they can be spread unintentionally through the trade of ornamental plants.

One of the reasons that multiflora roses are so invasive is that they are able to reproduce quickly and abundantly. They produce large quantities of seeds, which can be dispersed by birds and other animals. They can also spread through underground runners, allowing them to quickly colonize new areas.

If you’re dealing with multiflora roses on your property, it’s important to take action to control their spread. This may involve using herbicides or physical removal methods, such as cutting or digging up the plants. It’s also important to be aware of the potential for unintentional spread, such as through the disposal of plant waste.

How to Control Multiflora Roses?

If left unchecked, multiflora roses can quickly take over an area. Here are some effective methods for controlling them:


Digging out the multiflora roses is one of the most effective ways to control them. But you need to make sure to get as much of the root system as possible, as this will help prevent them from regrowing. Burning the roots can also help prevent them from spreading.


Another method for controlling multiflora roses is to use chemicals or herbicides. Make sure to follow the instructions carefully and use protective gear when applying them. Herbicides containing glyphosate or triclopyr are effective against multiflora roses.

Prescribed Burns

For larger fields and infestations, prescribed burns have been effective in controlling multiflora roses.

This method involves burning the area to kill the plants and their seeds. However, this method should only be used by professionals and in a controlled setting.


Bulldozing the area is another method for controlling multiflora roses. This involves using heavy machinery to remove the plants and their roots. However, this method can be expensive and may not be practical for smaller areas.


Timing is also important when controlling multiflora roses. The best time to control them is in the spring when they are actively growing. This is when they are most vulnerable to herbicides and other methods of control.

By using a combination of these methods, you can effectively control multiflora roses and prevent them from taking over your land. Always follow instructions carefully and use protective gear when using chemicals or heavy machinery.

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Benefits of Multiflora Roses

Multiflora roses offer a wide range of benefits, making them a valuable addition to any garden. Here are some of the most important benefits of multiflora roses:

Nutritional Benefits

Multiflora roses are not just beautiful to look at, but they also have numerous nutritional benefits. The young leaves of the plant are rich in vitamin C and can be eaten raw or cooked.

The rose hips are also rich in carotene and essential fatty acids, making them a great addition to any diet.

Medicinal Benefits

Multiflora roses have been used for medicinal purposes for centuries. The plant has anti-inflammatory properties and can be used to treat skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, and acne. The rose hips can also be used to boost the immune system and prevent colds and flu.

Environmental Benefits

Multiflora roses have deep roots that help prevent soil erosion. The plant is also a great source of food for wildlife such as birds and deer.

Additionally, the plant’s thorny branches make it an excellent natural barrier for livestock and can be used to create hedges.

Decorative Benefits

Multiflora roses are a popular choice for landscaping due to their beautiful blooms and sweet fragrance. The plant is also easy to care for and can be grown in a variety of soil types and climates.

Culinary Benefits

Multiflora roses can be used to make a variety of culinary creations. The rose hips can be used to make jams, jellies, and syrups. The petals can also be used to make rose water, which is commonly used in Middle Eastern and Indian cuisine.

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Alternative Options for Managing Multiflora Roses

If you have multiflora roses on your property, there are several alternative options for managing them. Mechanical control methods include physically removing the plant or cutting it back to ground level.

However, this method may not effectively eliminate the plant as it can resprout from the root system. Biological control involves using biocontrol agents like the Japanese rose beetle or the rose rosette virus, which can help reduce the population of multiflora roses, but may not produce a widespread reduction.

Chemical control options involve using herbicides such as glyphosate. However, this should only be used as a last resort since it can negatively impact non-target plant and wildlife species.

Additionally, the use of herbicides can lead to the development of herbicide-resistant strains of multiflora roses. It is important to carefully consider the potential environmental impact and consult with a professional before using chemical control options.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can I transplant a multiflora rose?

Transplanting a multiflora rose is not recommended due to its invasive nature and potential harm to natural environments.

Are there any biological control options for managing multiflora roses?

While there are biocontrol agents available, they are generally not effective enough to produce a widespread reduction in the multiflora rose population.

How can I identify a multiflora rose?

Look for canes that are vibrant olive green, round and bear rose prickles, pinnately compound leaves with fringed stipules, showy and fragrant white or pale pink flowers with bright yellow pollen, and small, shiny red hips that persist through winter.


Managing the population of multiflora roses is crucial to safeguard natural environments and conserve native plant and wildlife diversity. As a noxious weed, these roses have the potential to harm natural environments and decrease native plant and wildlife diversity.

When choosing a management strategy, it is important to consider the potential environmental impact and select the most effective and environmentally responsible option.

Transplanting multiflora roses is not recommended. Regardless of whether you opt for mechanical, biological, or chemical control, it is important to follow the instructions carefully and use the chosen method safely and responsibly. By managing these roses appropriately, you can help protect natural environments and preserve native plant and wildlife diversity.

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