The Ultimate Guide to Planting and Growing Medium Red Clover

medium red clover flowers


  • Medium Red Clover (Trifolium pratense) is a biennial or short-lived perennial legume known for its nitrogen-fixing ability, soil improvement, and forage quality.
  • This versatile plant can be grown as a cover crop, forage, or wildlife attractant.
  • This guide will provide detailed planting and growing instructions, taking into account variations in growing locations and conditions.

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Planting Instructions

Choose the right time

  • For cooler climates (zones 4-6): Plant in early spring or late summer.
  • For warmer climates (zones 7-9): Plant in fall or winter.
  • Optimal soil temperature for germination is between 60°F and 75°F (15°C - 24°C).

Select a suitable location

  • Medium Red Clover prefers full sun but can tolerate partial shade.
  • Plant in well-draining soil with a pH between 6.0-7.0 for optimal growth.

Prepare the soil

  • Remove weeds and grasses from the planting area.
  • Till the soil to a depth of 4-6 inches (10-15 cm) and incorporate a balanced fertilizer, such as 10-10-10.

Sow the seeds

  • Broadcast the seeds evenly, using a rate of 10-20 lbs per acre (11-22 grams per 100 square feet) for new plantings.
  • Lightly rake the seeds into the soil, ensuring they are no deeper than 1/4 inch (6 mm).

Water and maintain

  • Keep the soil consistently moist, but not saturated, until germination occurs (usually within 7-14 days).
  • Reduce watering frequency as the plants establish.

Growing Instructions

Mowing and maintenance

  • For cover crops: Mow or till under before the plants reach full bloom to maximize nitrogen fixation and biomass production.
  • For forage: Allow Medium Red Clover to grow to a height of 8-10 inches (20-25 cm) before grazing or cutting for hay.


  • Medium Red Clover is a nitrogen-fixing plant, reducing the need for additional nitrogen fertilizers.
  • However, annual soil tests and applications of phosphorus and potassium may be necessary to maintain healthy growth.

Pest and disease management

  • Monitor for pests such as aphids, root-knot nematodes, and clover root curculio.
  • Practice crop rotation and introduce beneficial insects to manage pests and reduce disease pressure.


  • Established plants are moderately drought-tolerant but will benefit from supplemental irrigation during extended dry periods.

By following these detailed planting and growing instructions, you can successfully cultivate Medium Red Clover in various growing zones, providing valuable benefits to your garden, farm, or landscape.