Go to any online store and type in “best fertilizer for clover” and the results can be overwhelming. There are so many different options on the market, thus it can difficult to find the one that best fits your needs.
For that reason, in this post, we are going to discuss how to identify a good fertilizer for clover and we will also look at our top 4 picks that will make your plant flourish.
What is the best fertilizer for clover?
The quick answer is that because clover produces its own nitrogen a low nitrogen fertilizer is needed. A fertilizer with a nutrient ratio of 0-20-20 is preferred.
Here is a quick preview of our top 4 picks
How to choose the right fertilizer for your needs
A quick internet search for growing clover brings up numerous pages and websites talking about using white clover as an alternative for grass in lawns.
As environmental consciousness increases homeowners are looking for ways to limit pesticide use, decrease water consumption, or reduce the amount of time and labor it takes to maintain a lawn.
With this, there is a corresponding increase in the use of white clover in landscapes because of its ability to out-compete many broadleaf weeds, its drought tolerance, and its low growing stature that requires less maintenance from the homeowner.
White clover (Trifolium) also known as Dutch clover, or Dutch white clover is the variety most often used in lawns. While there are many benefits to introducing clover into a lawn, it’s best to seed it into established grass, keeping the clover at less than 10 – 20% of the total population.
Mixing it into an established lawn will add benefits while minimizing the disadvantages.
White clover is incredibly drought tolerant; it remains green all summer long with little to no water.
However, in large areas, it competes heavily with itself and isn’t as drought tolerant as small patches. On average white clover grows to be 2 – 8” tall drastically reducing the need to mow. Many homeowners will mow it midsummer to remove the old blooms and tidy up its appearance.
One of the main drawbacks to using white clover in a lawn is that it cannot withstand heavy foot traffic. This is okay in areas that are shady or don’t see much activity.
For lawns that are a common play area for sports or house, the activities of small children, the mix of clover and traditional grass is a much better option for the homeowner.
One of the big benefits of seeding clover into your lawn is a reduced fertilizer need.
Clover is a legume, a type of plant that essentially makes its own nitrogen fertilizer using bacteria. These bacteria pull nitrogen from the air and turn it into a usable form, storing it in the plant roots. After clover “fixes” its own nitrogen it will share with the surrounding grass.
Even though the clover is self-sufficient in terms of nitrogen it still needs phosphorus and potassium for proper growth. There are fifteen essential nutrients that all plants need for basic plant functions and growth: nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, sulfur, magnesium, sodium, boron, chlorine, manganese, iron, zinc, copper, molybdenum and nickel.
Nitrogen’s main responsibility in the plant is regulating vegetative growth.
Phosphorus is imperative for strong root growth and early plant development and potassium helps strengthen the lawn’s defenses against pests and diseases.
As the lawn grows, it removes nutrients from the soil that needs to be put back in the form of fertilizers.
The best options for clover…
Fertilizer options for a mixed clover/grass lawn are somewhat limited because of this need for a low-nitrogen fertilizer due to clover’s nitrogen-fixing abilities. Most lawn specific fertilizers contain a high amount of nitrogen to keep the grass-green and lush.
Most of the low nitrogen/high phosphorus products are geared towards flowering plants to encourage blooms and come in a liquid form.
In order to use these products for wide-scale application to a lawn, they will need to be mixed in water and applied with a hose-end sprayer.
My Top 4 Picks
- Nutrient Ratio: 0-10-10
- Easy to spread
- Easy to use
- Liquid Plant Food
The first plant food that we want to take a closer look at is Liquinox 0-10-10 Bloom .
As you can see it contains 10% phosphorus (as phosphoric acid) and 10% potassium (as muriate of potash), Liquinox Bloom is a no-nitrogen fertilizer specifically formulated for flowering and fruiting plants.
It works well as a fertilizer for clover lawns because of its lack of nitrogen in the 0-10-10 formulation.
Application Tips: Dilute one tablespoon of Liquinox 0-10-10 Bloom per one gallon of water for fertilizing, using caution to avoid getting the concentrated product on the skin or in the eyes because of the strong acids used as ingredients.
- Liquid Plant Food
- Low in nitrogen
The next on our list is Fox Farm Big Bloom Liquid Concentrate. This plant food is ideal for plants needing an organic source of phosphorus and potassium without added nitrogen fertilizer.
Its special formula with a nutrient ratio of 0-0.5-0.7 incorporates earthworm casings, bat guano, and other high-end ingredients such as kelp and rock phosphate.
Fox Farm Big Bloom contains a full range of nutrients that are slowly available to clover for optimum use by the plant. Its special formulation ensures it is safe enough to use every time you water.
Lastly, let’s see what Jobe’s Organics Bone Meal has to offer.
Bone Meal is an excellent source of phosphorus and calcium for plants. Certified organic means no synthetic chemicals in the formulation.
With a fertilizer analysis of 2-14-0 plants will receive the phosphorus amounts they need for strong, healthy root systems while nitrogen is applied at a much lesser rate to minimize burning of the clover due to over fertilization.
Apply Jobe’s Organics Bone Meal in spring and then again in fall. A granulated “prilled” form reduces the dust kicked up during application making it perfect for use in all types of fertilizer spreaders.
- High potassium
- Nutrient Ratio: 0-0-60
Many people believe that with a good dose of potassium in the late fall, it will make the clover stronger. In addition, potassium works in plants to promote vigor and disease resistance.
For that reason, we are going to look at Epsoma Potash. Espoma Potash is an organic, high potassium fertilizer source (0-0-60) that will help to strengthen a clover stand without adding extra nitrogen that could burn the roots/plants.
Application Tips: Potash is a granular product, and should be applied using a drop or broadcast spreader at rates of 1 pound per 100 square feet of lawn.
As environmental consciousness increases, homeowners are constantly looking for ways to reduce their environmental footprint. This has led to an increase in white clover being used in lawns instead of the traditional grass.
Clover can add many benefits when introduced into a lawn: reducing water consumption due to its drought tolerance, decreasing herbicide need because of its ability to out-compete broadleaf weeds, and reducing nitrogen requirements as it is a nitrogen-fixing plant.
However it can still benefit from applications of low-nitrogen plant food to ensure optimum growth. Look for fertilizers high in phosphorus and potassium – or pick one nutrient if there is a specific problem – to prevent the possibility of over fertilizing nitrogen and causing damage to the clover and lawn.
What do you use? Please tell us what you have found to be the best fertilizer for clover in the comment section below.