How to Grow Red Clover (Trifolium pratense)

Last Updated on June 12, 2023 by Real Men Sow

Red clover (Trifolium pratense) is a perennial that can be found in many countries. It is widely cultivated and used as a forage plant. Red clover is a perennial that prefers grasslands and moist meadows. It can grow up to 50 cm in height and produces spikes of purple-red color.

It is a legume, and was used as a cover crop for white clover. Red clover can also be used as a medicinal herb. Its flowers are the source of the drug. They contain volatile oils that consist of flavonoids, derivatives coumarin, and cyanogenic glycosides.

Propagation and Planting Red Clover (Trifolium pratense)

Red clover seeds can be sown in well-prepared soil to get a high yield. The seeds are planted in spring or summer depending on the climate. Each plant is spaced 30-40 cm apart. Proper growth is possible with a wider spacing of plants.

Requirements for Growing Red Clover (Trifolium pratense)


Although red clover can also be grown in soil that is not rich in nutrients, it should still be fertile and have a pH of at least 6.5.


Red clover can be grown in partially shaded areas.


You will also need to fertilize your garden with phosphorus or potassium in the spring and fall. Apply 80-120kg of phosphorus to the seed before sowing. Potassium is applied in two dosages: 50-70 kg in spring and in early spring.

Pests and Diseases of Red Clover (Trifolium pratense)

Threatening fungal, bacterial, and viral infections can cause significant yield losses to red clover plantations. Brown spot and powdery mildew are two common diseases that affect red clover. Fungal infections can also cause damage to the leaves, causing them to wilt and turn yellow.

Harvesting Red Clover (Trifolium pratense)

Red clover can be used as a forage with alfalfa because of their similar development rates and timing. It has a longer shelf life than alfalfa and is therefore more tender and palatable. It can therefore be harvested for a longer time and not need to be grazed as often in paddock rotation.

Red clover, if harvested as hay, requires between 60 and 70 days to grow before it is ready for development. The next harvests usually take between 30-40 days. It is best to harvest red clover hay before the flowers bloom, just like alfalfa. Red clover hay should be harvested before half the flowers open up to bloom. You can get a higher yield but a lower quality crop if you wait longer.

Real Men Sow
Real Men Sow

Hello, I’m Pete and I’m currently based in the west of Scotland, in a small place called Rosneath, where I’m exploring my garden adventures. I personally started gardening around 6 years ago and initially, I started out by growing my favorite fruits and berries, such as strawberries, Raspberries & Gooseberries. Since then I’ve added a lot of vegetables and working closely with my neighbor, it’s been a lot of fun.