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Can Clover Grow in Shade (Explained)

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Last updated on September 23rd, 2022 at 01:33 pm

Sunlight is one of the necessities for plants to carry out photosynthesis and other processes and for its proper growth in general.

Some plants have a lot of shade tolerance, while others have zero.

Therefore, it’s only natural for clover cultivators to want to know where their plant belongs. So, what is the truth?

Can clover grow in the shade? Absolutely. Your clover plant can grow in the shade, slowing the growth rate. The reason is that it is not receiving enough sunlight.

What Type of Clover Grows Best in Shade?

There are different types and species of clover, some are shade tolerant, and some are not. Also, some are drought tolerant while others are not.

Furthermore, there are different types of clover. They include; red clover, white clover, subterranean clover, crimson clover, alsike clover, and many more.

These clover species have different sunlight, food, water, and soil adaptations. Thus, its cultivator may wonder what type of clover will grow best in the shade.

Well, subterranean clover is a variety of clover that grows and adapts well in the shade. It is the most shade-tolerant clover and is referred to as a shade-tolerant leguminous plant.

Some clover species grow poorly in the shade but grow very well when the right amount of sunlight is given.

However, subterranean clover thrives best when certain factors are taken into consideration. These factors include the following:

1. Soil

Your subterranean clover will grow best in sandy, loamy, and clay soil, yielding positive results.

2. PH

This factor is essential as your plant prefers a slightly acidic to neutral PH range of 6.0 and 7.0. It prefers acidic soils to alkaline soils as acidic soil is best for its growth.

3. Habitat

Places that have high amounts of rainfall are necessary for your plant. However, since it can be grown in different soil varieties, places characterized by hot or mild climates can also suffice for its growth.

Subterranean clover adapts perfectly to any soil type and can grow in a shady environment. However, it still requires total exposure to sunlight for its growth.

Furthermore, it prefers well-drained soil, although it can flourish immensely in any soil type available for planting. Interestingly, it is instrumental and beneficial to man and animals.

Below are some of its uses and benefit
1. It fixes nitrogen of about 30kg per tone of DM.
2. It is used in the ruminant production system for animals.
3. You can use them to fight against erosion.
4. The leaves and the flowers are edible.
5. It is disease-resistant.
6. It helps in land revegetation due to its ability to self regenerate.
7. They are used in controlling fires in Mediterranean forests.
8. They can serve as green manure.
9. It is perfect for grazing and can be used for silage and hay for animals like horses.
10. It saves you the stress of planting as it is successful at reseeding itself.

Your subterranean clover is one of the most shade tolerant leguminous plants that thrive in any soil. Therefore, planting and nurturing it in the right conditions will give you the best results.

How Much Sunlight Does Clover Need?

Different species of clover plants usually require a lot of exposure to sunlight every day. As a result, they grow poorly in the shade, and sometimes, they don’t grow at all. That said, only a few species are shade tolerant.

Generally, clover grows moderately in partial shade and has stagnant growth in full shade. Therefore, it needs a high amount of sunlight for proper growth.

That said, an average amount of 6-8 hours of sunlight daily is enough to grow your clover plant.

Like many plants, your clover plant also loves sunlight and needs an adequate supply of it daily. It can also grow in a light shade of up to 4 hours of direct sunlight, but its growth will be slow.

Can White Clover Tolerate Shade?

About 45% of plants tolerate and grow very well under shade. The reason is that they can utilize the soil nutrients fully and do not need complete exposure to sunlight like most plants require.

However, some plants can tolerate shade but cannot grow in the shade, while some can tolerate and grow in the shade.

Your white clover can tolerate shade. However, it does not grow in the shade because it prefers sunlight to shade.

White clover is also drought tolerant. However, it will not tolerate arid conditions. Thus, the plant will not grow in full shade, although it can tolerate a shady environment.

We had earlier established that most clover species do not thrive well in shady environments or conditions; only a few clover species can grow in the shade.

Therefore, to promote the growth of your white clover, you must provide the following conditions.
1. Soil
It grows best in sandy soil with a high water table capacity.
2. Climate
A cool and moist climate is necessary for its growth.
3. Nutrients
The abundant and rich supply of lime, phosphate, and potash increases it’s growing rapidly.
4. Sunlight
It requires 6-8 hours of daily sunlight.
5. Water
Water is essential for its growth. You should supply enough water daily in the early days after planting.

Your white clover is well adapted to clay soil in a humid and irrigated environment.

Furthermore, it grows in well-drained soils but also tolerates temporal waterlogged soils.

In addition, your white clover saves you a lot of money and stress. Below are some of the benefits of growing your white clover;

  • It is cheap and affordable.
  • It doesn’t require herbicides.
  • It is drought tolerant.
  • They attract helpful insects for pollination.
  • They require little to no fertilizer.
  • It fixes nitrogen in the soil.
  • It cures rheumatic aches and arthritis.
  • It treats coughs, colds, and fevers and promotes healthy blood flow and condition.
  • They suppress the growth of unnecessary weeds.
  • It helps to compact the soil.
  • They are used in producing herbal tea, bread, and many more.
  • It is edible and tasty.
  • There are so many benefits of growing your white clover.

    Your white clover can tolerate and thrive in an environment with total exposure to sunlight, but it grows slowly in light shade and does not grow in full shade.


    Many plants require sunlight in high amounts for growth and to carry out specific processes. Your clover, just like these plants, also needs total exposure to sunlight daily.

    They do not grow very well in the shade or in shady environments. That said, only a few species of clover, like subterranean clover, grow and adapt fully in the shade.

    Some species of clover, like white clover, also tolerate shade but do not grow in the shade. Instead, they grow slightly in light shade but need an abundant supply of sunlight.

    There are so many benefits and products that are derived from your clover plant. All these yields a lot of positive results.

    Clover is an exceptional plant that can be grown and nurtured as it adapts to any soil type. Therefore, you should always provide the perfect condition to grow your clover plant.


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