Everything You Need to Know About Clover Flower Meaning, Symbolism, History, Cultural Significance, and How to Grow at Home

The clover flower, otherwise known as trefoil, has over 300 species of plants in the family Fabaceae, genus Trifolium. The name comes from ‘tres’ meaning three, and ‘folium’ meaning leaf. While they originated in Europe, they are widespread today across much of the Northern Hemisphere. Here we’ll take you through everything you need to know about Clover Flowers including their history, origins, meaning & symbolism, and how to grow and care for these beauties at home.

Contents: 


Clover Flowers – The Essentials

Clover Flowers - The Essentials

Clover flowers are annual, biennial, or short-lived perennials that have alternate compound leaves and small but fragrant flowers that bloom over spring and summer in most areas. They are similar in appearance to Birds-Foot Trefoil Flowers. They are a symbol of luck.

The genus was divided in 1984 by Zohary and Heller into eight sections: Lotoidea, Paramesus, Mistyllus, Vesicanridula, Chronosemium, Trifolium, Trichoecephalum, and Involucrarium

Today a new molecular study across the genus has talks of a new classification system where there are two subgenera: Chronosemium and Trifolium. This data, along with other studies, shows the struggle of classification of clover species. As of now, the Trifolium genus has 245 species that are recognized.


About the Clover Flower

About the Clover Flower

Popular Types of Clover Flower

Popular clover types include Trifolium repens, the white clover perennial that is great in meadows; Trifolium fragiferum, the strawberry clover with its rose-purple flowers; Trifolium pratense, red clover that is used medicinally; and Trifolium campestre, hop trefoil that is mostly found in roadside ditches and pastures. There are over 265 types of Trifolium.

Clover is any Trifolium having trifoliolate leaves, dense head flowers, and members of the legume family. ‘Clover’ was first used prior to the 12th century and comes from Old English clāfre.

Where do Clover Flowers Grow Natively?

Species within the genus Trifolium are native to a wide variety of temperate and substropical regions spanning Europe and the Americas.


Uses and Benefits of Clover Flowers

Uses and Benefits of Clover Flowers

In medicine, there have been more uses for red clovers historically. Traditional medicine used red clover for hot flashes, skin disorders, arthritis stiffness and pain, osteoporosis, and hair issues. Today, medical research has found 40-80 milligrams of red clover may indeed be useful for menopause hot flashes.

The white clover has historical use as a blood cleansing agent and for blood purification. Tea would be made to use for eyewashes, and for colds and fever. A white clover leaf tincture was a traditional remedy for gout.

White clover has been called survival food because while edible, it is an acquired taste. You must find white and fresh clover, which is high in protein, vitamin C, beta carotene, biotin, inositol, and bioflavonoids. Word of warning for those adventurous to free roam food like clover, many are allergic to it, and clover flowers grown in warm climates can have trace amounts of cyanide.

White clover is a widely used livestock feed, there are some toxins that should be stated. Rhizoctonia legumincola is a fungus that hits white and red clover, releasing the toxin slaframine. This can cause drooling and other sickness symptoms in horses.

Alsike clover with its dark pink base and light pink tips can cause other livestock conditions such as big liver syndrome and photosensitization. Horses may have colic, oral lesions, and sunburns that slough off after being crusty.

Bees Love Clovers Too!

Bees Love Clovers Too!

Clover is the main nectar source for honeybees and is crucial to keeping the species alive.


Clover Flower Meaning & Symbolism

Clover Flower Meaning & Symbolism

The meaning and symbolism of clover flowers are closely associated with good fortune and luck, whether they are four-leaved or not. They are a sign of protection and male energy and can be a charm against hexes and negativity.

An Irish Charm

Celtic Priests and Druids carried the shamrock, a three-leaf clover, to see when evil spirits approached. Four-leaved clovers were Celtic charms to ward off bad luck and offered protection to the carrier.

Traditionally, the shamrock clover is an Irish cultural symbol, appearing on the Erin Go Bragh flag and used by St. Patrick for a visual representation of Ireland’s identity. You’ll see the flower emblazoned on Irish uniforms and on the national airline, Aer Lingus as well. 

Adam & Eve

Clover legend holds that Eve herself clutched a four-leaf clover as she and Adam fled the Garden of Eden. Three leaf clovers have been said to be the sign of the Holy Trinity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, where four-leaf clovers add God’s Grace.

In Art & Literature

A beautiful poem if we may:

Four Leaf Clover by Ella Higginson, “I know a place where the sun is like gold, and the cherry blooms burst with snow, and down underneath is the loveliest nook, where the four-leaf clovers grow. One leaf is for hope, and one is for faith, and one is for love, you know, and God put another in for luck—If you search, you will find where they grow. But you must have hope, and you must have faith, You must love and be strong—and so— If you work, if you wait, you will find the place where the four-leaf clovers grow”.


Suitable Gifting Occasions for Clover Flowers

Suitable Gifting Occasions for Clover Flowers

In arrangements, red clovers mean hope and industry while white clovers mean the giver is thinking of the recipient. Clovers are typically not in cut flower arrangements but can be given as a potted plant gift for any occasion. Many times, they are given as a symbol of luck no matter what color of the flower.


How to Grow and Care for Clover at Home

How to Grow and Care for Clover at Home

Growing clover flowers at home is great for ground cover due to their fast growth and ability to balance nitrogen in the soil. White clover is the Trifolium that is most widely used for ground cover and lawn maintenance, which is hardy in the USDA hardiness zones of 3 through 10.

How to Plant Clover Flowers

To grow, plant in full sun or partial shade with a minimum of four hours of sun exposure. The pH in the soil should be between 6-7; lime may be needed to get to this pH in some areas. The soil needs to be well-drained and clover should not be planted wherever water collects. Containers must have a drain.

How Much Water do Clover Flowers Need?

Water to keep soil moist for the fastest growth, with 30 inches of rain a year to be necessary while 45 inches a year is ideal growing conditions.

Leave Room for Growth!

Leave Room for Growth!

As a ground cover, clover needs plenty of room for growth. Average clover species will grow around six inches tall and spread about 18 inches for a single plant, however, plants may have tendrils that take root.

Considerations For Growing Clover Flowers Indoors

Considerations For Growing Clover Flowers Indoors

If you’re growing clover flowers indoors make sure to aim for the sunniest spot of the house near a window. Without enough sunlight, the stems will be weak and stretched and the leaves will be smaller than normal. 

Containers need to be kept with moist, well-draining potting soil and have suitable drainage. All-purpose fertilizer should be used during the flower’s growing season, which is spring and summer. Clover will produce sprouts and tendrils that you may curl into the container or cut and reroot them by placing them over potting soil and watering.


Wrap Up

Critical for honeybees, a source of natural hot flash medicinal therapy, a ground cover, and a graze for cattle, clover has many uses in society. The symbol of luck and the pride of the Irish, clover has secured its place in history as well as found its path in the future. Using clover as an umbrella term for so many species of Trifolium, there are many slight differences between each – from color variances to slight growth pattern changes. Whichever is your favorite, clovers are around for the long haul, so pick your favorite and have them in the house to ward off evil and to give your home a touch of Irish luck.


Clover Flowers FAQ

The clover flower, otherwise known as trefoil, has over 300 species of plants in the family Fabaceae, genus Trifolium. The name comes from ‘tres’ meaning three, and ‘folium’ meaning leaf. 

Traditional medicines used red clover for hot flashes, skin disorders, arthritis stiffness and pain, osteoporosis, and hair issues. White clovers are often used in livestock feed and many clover species are excellent plants for pollinating bees.

The meaning and symbolism of clover flowers are closely associated with good fortune and luck, whether they are four-leaved or not. They are a sign of protection and male energy and can be a charm against hexes and negativity.

White clover is the Trifolium that is most widely used for ground cover and lawn maintenance, which is hardy in the USDA hardiness zones of 3 through 10.

Where possible aim to plant clover seeds in full sun or partial shade with a minimum of four hours of sun exposure.


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