How to Plant Red Clover


Red clover (Trifolium pratense) is a biennial legume, growing to about 18 inches in height before it dies at the end of its second year. It makes a great cover crop that you can feed to livestock, and it's also medicinal for many human ailments. Red clover is hardy and will thrive in areas without good drainage. It does prefer a soil pH of 5.5 or higher. Different varieties are available as seed, but experienced growers recommend medium red clover instead of a mammoth variety.

Step 1

Weed your planting area thoroughly in early spring or late summer.

Step 2

Dig in plenty of compost or well-rotted manure.

Step 3

Scatter your red clover seeds all over the planting area.

Step 4

Cover the entire area where you have scattered seeds with ½ inch of soil or less.

Step 5

Apply a high-phosphate fertilizer having an N-P-K ratio of 10-30-10 at the same time you plant the seeds.

Step 6

Water the area well and keep the soil moist until the red clover is about 1 inch tall. After that time, water it thoroughly at least once each week.

Tips and Warnings

  • This plant attracts honeybees, a beneficial insect that can also be bothersome in home gardens.

Things You'll Need

  • Red clover seeds
  • Well-weeded planting area
  • Compost or composted manure
  • High-phosphate fertilizer


  • University of Missouri Extension
  • University of Minnesota Extension
  • University of Kentucky
Keywords: red clover, Trifolium pratense, seeds starting

About this Author

Barbara Fahs lives on Hawaii island, where she has created Hiā€˜iaka's Healing Herb Garden. Barbara wrote "Super Simple Guide to Creating Hawaiian Gardens," and has been a professional writer since 1984. She contributes to Big Island Weekly, Ke Ola magazine, and She earned her B.A. at UCSB and her M.A. from San Jose State University.