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Crimson clover

CollareddoveCollareddove SE WalesPosts: 87
I know not a UK native, but I sowed some crimson clover in my wildflower area last year because much favoured by honey bees (although my bees showed no interest), also because I love the folour.  I left the plants to set seed but disappointed that they have not seeded again this year.  Is this because UK conditions are not suitable for Mediterranian plants?  However, I am wondering if they could have cross pollinated with my native red clover?  It seems to me that this year's red clover is a bit different: it stands more upright and more of the leaves are zonal than I remember.  But the colour is still red, not crimson.

Posts

  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 47,198
    There's a red clover that grows all over the place here, and it's definitely not very Mediterranean in this area   ;)
    In fact - where I see it regularly is in a pretty boggy, wet site up near a local duckpond. It grows all around there among the reeds etc.  Very upright - around 18 inches to 2 feet tall.
    I don't have any photos though, so I don't know if it's the same one as you're describing.  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


  • CollareddoveCollareddove SE WalesPosts: 87
    Interesting @fairygirl.  This is the one I mean, it's usually sown as a green manure so dug in before setting seed. Trifolium incarnatum - Wikipedia
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 47,198
    Ah - not the same one then. 
    Chilterns sells the seed you mention, so it must be viable. Maybe the timing wasn't right for yours.
    I often can't gather seed from plants because by the time they get to that stage, they tend to get destroyed by weather. Perhaps they got too wet in your location too and weren't suitable?
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


  • CollareddoveCollareddove SE WalesPosts: 87
    I think you may well be right re conditions for germination @Fairygirl. Reading around the subject, the plants are annuals, occasionally living for two years.  I suspect my soil is too clay-y for it to thrive, so maybe too heavy for seeds to germinate.  I may try once more this year in a different part of the garden.
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 47,198
    Perhaps it's worth sowing in trays or pots @Collareddove , and then planting out in clumps when the conditions are more suitable? I do that with some stuff, because the direct sowing doesn't always work very well - for the reasons you mention. 
    Yesterday I walked round that route I mentioned  - the red clover is all starting to flower. I'm now wondering if I should try and collect some seed for little areas in the garden!
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


  • thevictorianthevictorian Posts: 583
    I've grown crimson clover for the first time this year and have grown it in plugs to be planted out. I've grown red clover for a few years and it has never seeded anywhere for me but it does often appear much nicer in the second year which has me thinking yours might just be natural variation, rather than a cross. We are on a very sandy soil but still very little, except weedy perennials, self seed much.
    I'm going to try some more crimson clover before the autumn so I have plants to overwinter outside to see how they do.
  • CollareddoveCollareddove SE WalesPosts: 87
    Growing in plugs is a good idea, but I've missed the boat this year I fear.  From what I have read, Crimson Clover is not hardy in UK, so I 'm wondering how planting out to over-winter outside will work?
  • Slow-wormSlow-worm Posts: 562
    Collareddove bees apparently don't go for non-native flowers.
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 47,198
    I can't see how that's true @Slow-worm. I have loads of non native plants and there are bees on those. Tulips for example, aren't native, but are a great source of early food. Wild rocket is one of the most popular plants for them in my garden  :)

    Maybe you'd need to experiment @Collareddove - some grown on and planted out, and some potted and brought undercover to see what happens.  
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


  • CollareddoveCollareddove SE WalesPosts: 87
    I planted Crmson Clover @Slow-worm specifically for my honey bees as they are particularly keen on the flowers; honey bees tongues can't reach the nectar in normal red clover, but bumble bees can.  White clover is a favourite of hoth honey and bumbles.
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