Caring for a Clover Plant
The clover plant is an ideal substitute for grass when it comes to ground cover. It spreads rapidly, and when growing conditions are good, clover will easily provide a natural carpet. The lush evergreen plant makes an excellent alternative to grass for a lawn. More than 300 varieties of clover exist but the 3 main varieties are White Clover, Red Clover and Yellow Blossom. It is best to plant clover in the spring or summer. This will allow the plant to establish itself well before harsh winter weather manifests. Below is a guide to caring for your clover.
Clover requires little watering once it becomes well-established. However, in the early growing phase, frequent watering is necessary. This will help the roots establish themselves better. Keep the soils moist but not wet. Water twice a week. It is important that the plant receives at least 2 inches of water on a weekly basis. If rainfall is reliable in your area, a once weekly supplemental watering will suffice.
If your clover plant does not get adequate water, it is likely to result in retarded growth. Lack of water is detrimental to the nitrogen fixing bacteria which cannot survive without water. However, once well established, the plant can do without supplemental watering. Clover is a hardy plant that remains green through the seasons with minimal watering needs.
Clover does not require fertilizing. The plant produces much nitrogen so no chemical fertilizers are necessary. The plant roots have nitrogen fixing bacteria nodules which establish nitrogen in the ground. This enhances the fertile properties of the soil making supplemental fertilizing unnecessary. However, the plant will benefit from addition of organic manure or compost during propagation. Mix the manure into the soil when planting to enrich the soil. This will support the early growing phase. Manure will also enable the root system to develop more securely. Once the plant is well-established, you need not give manure. It is best to allow the plant to rely on its own nitrogen capacity.
The white, red and yellow clover plants do not require mulching as the plant is a living mulch in itself. Clover is the top-rated living mulch for gardeners. The dense root system gives the soil excellent protection against erosion. It also deters weeds from growing, retains soil moisture and helps maintain soil temperatures within a balanced range.
The white variety of clover is low-growing and requires little mowing. Trim an inch or two when necessary to encourage new growth. This will also help maintain it in good health. The yellow and red varieties grow much higher but mowing can be done according to need. However, if you mow frequently, it will help encourage deeper roots to develop.
It is best to maintain it at a height of about 3 inches. This will make it more comfortable for foot traffic. It also looks more attractive when kept at a shorter height. The clover blossoms attract bees, so occasional mowing will help to limit the presence of bees.