Question: We found "trifolium repens" in the Park Seed catalogue. It was also called 4-leaf clover. Will it grow indoors in pots, or does it need to be outdoors? Also, is it perennial or annual outdoors?
Answer: White Clover, trifolium repens
L. is a low growing perennial herb. The plant grows from the tip by sending our "runners" that take root and new "runners" are formed from each rooting point. The seeds are produced in a white fluffy flower head. For White Clover to prosper, the soil should be well drained, kept moist and grown in full to moderate sun. They should be grown in trays or flower boxes that will allow the tips to make contact with the soil to produce the "runners". If grown indoors, they must be in a sunny location or the stems will stretch and the plant will become "leggy" with small leaves.
Seeds can be sown in small pots or trays using peat pellets, peat pots or any moist, well drained soil mix.
The seeds which are very small should be placed on the moist soil surface or lightly covered with soil. A clear dome or plastic cover should be placed over the pot or tray (supported at least 2" above the surface) and the pot or tray placed in a warm shaded location until the seeds have germinated (this will usually be in about a week). The top of a refrigerator is usually a good place.
Once the seeds have germinated and the first "seed" leaf appears (this will be a single leaf, not a clover leaf), remove the cover and place pot or tray in a sunny location, keep moist and do not allow soil to dry out. When the soil surface "lightens" and starts to dry, it's time to water. Depending on your pot or tray size and location, you may have to water every day or every second or third day. Only water, do not fertilize.
When two or three true clover leaves have formed, you can begin fertilizing with a liquid fertilizer at the recommended dosage for house plants.
Depending on how you started your seeds, you'll want to transplant when roots appear out the bottom of the pot or tray. If you used a peat pellet or peat pot, just place the whole pellet or pot into a larger container with a well drained soil mix. If you started the seeds in a pot or tray with soil mix, be careful not to damage the roots when transplanting. After transplanting continue fertilization as before.
Keep plants well watered (make sure container drains well) and keep in a sunny location. Continue fertilization as before. Try to keep tips in contact with the soil and remove any damaged leaves. "Runners" that extend over the pot or tray edge can be cut off at the soil surface. "Runners" that grow over the edge will eventually wither and die off if they can't root.
Outdoor care is the same as indoor care, except increase the fertilization to the recommended outdoor amount for container plants.
The 'Tri' in Trifolium repens literally means 3 leaves, but an occasional fourth leaf will appear on some stems. Guess that's why 4-leafed clovers are considered a lucky find!
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