Trifolium Species, Crimson Clover, Italian Clover

Trifolium incarnatum

Family: Fabaceae (fab-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Trifolium (try-FOH-lee-um) (Info)
Species: incarnatum (in-kar-NAH-tum) (Info)
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Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun


Grown for foliage


Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us


12-18 in. (30-45 cm)


18-24 in. (45-60 cm)


Not Applicable

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us



Bloom Color:


Bloom Characteristics:

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Late Spring/Early Summer

Mid Summer

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall

Direct sow as soon as the ground can be worked

Seed Collecting:

Bag seedheads to capture ripening seed

Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Gaylesville, Alabama

Barling, Arkansas

Heber Springs, Arkansas

Canoga Park, California

Menifee, California

San Diego, California

San Leandro, California

Stockton, California

Aurora, Colorado

Panama City Beach, Florida

Pensacola, Florida

Roopville, Georgia

Newburgh, Indiana

Cadiz, Kentucky

Jeanerette, Louisiana

Metairie, Louisiana

Roseland, Louisiana

Ossineke, Michigan

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Florence, Mississippi

Mathiston, Mississippi

Saucier, Mississippi

Wilmington, North Carolina

Bowling Green, Ohio

Hulbert, Oklahoma

Portland, Oregon

Salem, Oregon

Mc Keesport, Pennsylvania

Campobello, South Carolina

Columbia, South Carolina

Joelton, Tennessee

Murfreesboro, Tennessee

Arlington, Texas

Austin, Texas

Killeen, Texas

Grand Mound, Washington

Rochester, Washington

Vashon, Washington

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Gardeners' Notes:


On Sep 2, 2013, Mayim from Colesville, MD wrote:

While I understand the negative comments about it being invasive, that's only true if it's allowed to go to seed. As a standing annual winter cover crop over a cultivated garden it's great for nitrogen fixing and adding organic matter. I also used it to suppress much more difficult to control invasive weeds in a meadow I was establishing. As long as it's cut before seeds set, there's no issue with it invading and at least in my meadow cover, the bees loved it!


On Jul 10, 2013, firsttwelve from South Bend, IN (Zone 5a) wrote:

This exotic, invasive plant can be found in the wild in 43 states. It was introduced in the US for forage and cover crop. Please do not encourage it's presence as it crowds out our native species of plants AND animals, including insects. One comment claimed "thousands upon thousands of crimson blossoms saturate the garden". This scares me. Sounds invasive. And "it's plenty cheap". Yes, for good reason. It is a weed. And "it reseeds itself readily". Difficult to eradicate. We have MANY species of native legumes that provide proper and healthy nectar and seed for wildlife while replenishing the soil with nitrogen. Please consider growing some of our beautiful, beneficial species. Crimson Clover is from Europe: let it stay there. It is damaging to our ecosystems and hurting our bees and butte... read more


On May 17, 2007, frostweed from Josephine, Arlington, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

Crimson Clover, Italian Clover, Trifolium incarnatum is a Naturalized plant in Texas.


On Nov 20, 2006, Farmerdill from Augusta, GA (Zone 8a) wrote:

Used mainly as a cover or green manure crop for which it is excellent.


On Dec 12, 2003, nobis77 from Joelton, TN wrote:

Crimson clover has so many good things going for it, I consider it to be absolutely indispensible. I'm always surprised more isn't said about it, so here goes:
I plant it in the fall as I clean up the vegetable garden for the winter. It's growing season can almost perfectly match the veggie gardener's off season.
C'clover fixes between 70-150 lbs/acre of Nitrogen from the air, and while decomposing it releases this and all the other nutrients it's kept in play over the winter to your crops. Rather than the land lying fallow and nutrients slipping away, in the spring you have a soil absolutely teeming with life- especially earthworms. I was dumbfounded to see how many it drew my first spring (6-10 per spadeful, it was almost creepy to see so many wriggling things), but th... read more


On Oct 18, 2001, Baa wrote:

An annual trefoil from South and Western Europe which is widely naturalized.

Has typically trifoliate (each leaf is 3 lobed), wedge shaped, slightly toothed, lightly downy, mid green leaves. Bear oblong to cylindrical flower heads where tiny red flowers are clustered. The flowers may very rarely be white.

Flowers in the main May-July but can go on well into August.

Likes a moist, well drained, neutral soil in full sun.

Being a legume, it is used as a cover crop for some organic systems and is ploughed or dug in just before flowering.