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A picture of a Crimson Clover

Crimson Clover

Trifolium incarnatum

Also known as

Red Clover, Italian Clover, Napoleans, Scarlet Clover, German Clover, French Clover, Carnation Clover, Incarnate Clover

Trifolium incarnatum 050606 by Bernd Haynold (CC BY 2.5)

Full Sun
Moderate care
Moderate watering
Frost Hardy


RHS hardiness


Minimum temperature

Expected size








3 years to reach maturity


  • spring
  • summer
  • autumn
  • winter

More images of Crimson Clover

Some red flowers on a Trifolium incarnatum Crimson Clover plant
A photo of Crimson Clover

Crimson Clover Overview

Trifolium incarnatum is known by the common names Crimson Clover or Italian clover amongst others. It is a herbaceous perennial from the Fabaceae family. Crimson Clover typically grows to between 20-50cm tall and it doesn't tend to branch much, producing hairy leaves in arrangements of three, termed trifoliate. Flowers are bright red in colour and produced in rounded clusters, these measure approximately 1.5cm across. This hardy plant is grown as a forage crop, extensively for pasturage, green manure and hay. It's great for livestock and enriching soil by fixing nitrogen, frequently used in crop rotation. Originating from much of Europe, Trifolium incarnatum has naturalised in many other locations, including Australia and parts of both North and South America. Italian Clover has many other uses, including extensive use in folk medicine, it is also great for pollinators, providing ample nectar.

Common problems with Crimson Clover

Generally pest and disease free.

How to harvest Crimson Clover

Pick flowers as required and collect seed as soon as it is ripe.

How to propagate Crimson Clover


Sow in situ from March onwards, they should germinate in a few weeks.


Division in spring.

Special features of Crimson Clover

Attracts bees

Attractive flowers

Attracts useful insects

Ground cover

Crop rotation

Other uses of Crimson Clover

Some species are useful in rock gardens or on banks, others in agriculture as they fix nitrogen in the soil. Attracts butterflies