How to Germinate Red Clover


The red clover plant, also known as Trifolium pratense L., is a member of the legume family that germinates readily and quickly in the majority of environments. Red clover is widely used as a cover crop and natural fertiliser to give nitrogen to the soil throughout the winter. Because this plant can survive in shady settings and thrives under a wide range of growth conditions, it is an excellent choice for planting in a garden with other types of vegetation. Planting red clover between rows of corn can prevent erosion in your garden and provide natural fertiliser to the corn plants that are located nearby.

Red Clover Seed Treatment

In order to use red clover as a natural way of fertilisation, you will first need to inoculate the seeds with rhizobium. This may be done at the same time as planting the seeds. Red clover relies on a natural mechanism that involves bacteria in order to transport nitrogen from the air into the soil. This bacterium is an essential component of that process. Rhizobium is available from numerous seed vendors.

Best Times for Planting Red Clover

Red clover, which has the ability to fix nitrogen, should be seeded in the autumn so that it may help prepare the soil for the crop that will be grown the following year. You should plant your autumn crop of red clover in late summer or early October, at least six weeks before the first frost, according to the recommendation of the University of Missouri Extension. This gives your red clover the time it needs to germinate and get off to a good start in terms of its development. When compared to seedlings of the same kind of clover grown in the winter or spring, fall planting of red clover often results in a greater overall yield throughout the course of the plant’s lifespan.

Over-Seeding Red Clover

You may use a broadcast spreader to sprinkle red clover across the surface of your garden and in the spaces between your garden rows in gardens that already have crops growing there. It is important to have your other garden plants established first so that they are not in direct competition with the clover. Raked the areas in between your rows, and then planted one ounce of red clover seed in each of those spots at a rate of one ounce every 226 square feet.

Before you overseed your garden with clover, you should first apply a fertiliser that is strong in nitrogen between your current garden rows. This will encourage the development of the clover when it germinates.

Sowing Red Clover Seeds

When sown at a depth of between 1/8 and 1/4 of an inch, red clover seeds have a high chance of successfully germinating in bare ground. It’s possible that seeds that are placed more than a half inch deep won’t sprout. You may construct shallow rows in your garden using a roto-tiller or a hoe. The rows should be no more than half an inch deep.

If you want to develop a thick blanket of red clover, space your rows about an inch apart from one another. You should sow one ounce of seed into each row, and there should be one row for every 453 square feet of land. A layer of earth that is no more than a quarter of an inch thick should be placed over the seeds.

Considerations and Care

Heirloom Organics asserts that cultivating red clover needs very little upkeep and that the plants thrive without the use of fertiliser. If the weather in your region is forecasted to be abnormally dry for an extended period of time, make sure to water your seeds enough so as to completely saturate the surrounding soil. It is possible to cultivate red clover in almost any kind of soil, but it does best in loamy, well-drained soils with a pH level that is higher than 6. If you have sandy or rocky soil in your garden and are having difficulties establishing your clover, you may want to think about adding a layer of topsoil to the area.