How to Grow Birdsfoot Trefoil From Seeds

Birdsfoot trefoil is the common name for Lotus corniculatus, which is a perennial species of leguminous plant sometimes grown as an ornamental ground cover for its small, yellow flowers and light-green foliage. Although it resembles clover in the shape of its leaves, birdsfoot trefoil is unrelated and differs greatly in the appearance of its flowers. Like most leguminous plants, birdsfoot trefoil grows easily from seeds and will quickly establish itself. However, the seeds must be soaked prior to planting to prompt fast, reliable germination.

Things You'll Need

  • Rotary tiller
  • Bowl
  • Paper towel
  • Compost
  • Lawn sprinkler
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    • 1

      Prepare a bed for the birdsfoot trefoil seeds in spring as soon as daytime soil temperatures reach 60 F. Make several passes over a sunny, well-draining bed with a rotary tiller until the soil becomes very loose and friable.

    • 2

      Soak the birdsfoot trefoil seeds in a bowl full of warm, 100 F water for 24 hours. Drain the seeds on a sheet of paper towel. Sow the seeds immediately after draining them so they do not have the chance to dry out.

    • 3

      Spread the birdsfoot trefoil seeds by hand across the prepared bed. Spread one tbsp. of seed per square foot of space, but don't be too fussy about it since the plants will spread to fill-in empty spots.

    • 4

      Cover the bed in a 1-centimeter-thick layer of compost to hold moisture around the seeds. Use neutral, non-acidic compost to cover the seeds.

    • 5

      Water the birdsfoot trefoil seeds with a lawn sprinkler every other day to maintain constant, even moisture in the bed. Run the sprinkler for 10 to 15 minutes at each watering.

    • 6

      Watch for germination in two to four months. Thin out excessively crowded seedlings to one every one inch. Continue watering the seedlings every other day until they are established, then decrease watering to one inch once a week.

Tips & Warnings

  • Birdsfoot trefoil is hardy to USDA Hardiness Zone 5.

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