Trifolium rubens ‘Red Feather’

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Robert Pavlis

This is a clover, but not just any clover. It is the most ornamental of all Clovers and definitely worth adding to your garden. Best of all, your friends will never guess what it is.

Red Feather is easy to grow and does not spread by runners. It has huge, purple-red flower heads that are silver when in bud and are borne on long stems. The plant makes a nice clump and looks good all summer. The flowers are peculiar in that each stem has two flowers, one larger than the other. The large one opens while the smaller one is still developing. Just as the large one is finished flowering, the second one opens. The result is a longer bloom time.

Trifolium rubens; photo by Robert Pavlis
Trifolium rubens; photo by Robert Pavlis

It is great for attracting hummingbirds, butterflies and bees, and it’s a good cut flower. You should deadhead it unless you want some seedlings.

The name for this plant is a bit confusing. It is listed as T. rubens, T. rubens ‘Red Feather’ and as T. rubens with a common name of Red Feather Clover. Jelitto Seeds considers the term Red Feather to be a marketing name. I have tried the so-called named variety and the straight species. Both look the same to me but the species might seed around a bit more. I suspect that the cultivar ‘Red Feather’ does not actually exist. In any event, this is a must have plant.

Microbe Science for Gardeners Book, by Robert Pavlis
Trifolium rubens; photo by Robert Pavlis
Trifolium rubens; photo by Robert Pavlis

Trifolium rubens ‘Red Feather’

(try-FOH-lee-um ROO-benz)

Life Cycle: perennial

Height: 60 cm (2 ft)

Bloom Time: mid summer

Natural Range: Central and south Europe

Habitat: Grows in grassy places next to forests and forest glades

Synonyms: none

Cultivation of Trifolium rubens:

Light: full sun or part shade

Soil: normal, well draining to sandy soil, pH: 6 – 7.5

Water: draught tolerant

USDA Hardiness Zone: 3 – 8

Propagation: division in spring, comes true from seed and blooms first year after germination

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Robert Pavlis

I have been gardening my whole life and have a science background. Besides writing and speaking about gardening, I own and operate a 6 acre private garden called Aspen Grove Gardens which now has over 3,000 perennials, grasses, shrubs and trees. Yes--I am a plantaholic!

1 thought on “Trifolium rubens ‘Red Feather’”

  1. Does it die badly though? I think I grew it once and disliked so much brown fluff after the first wonderful display. Thank you for your favourite plant descriptions. This is the sort of information we all long for but find hard to distinguish when so much is marketing. I appreciate the personal opinions based on real experience.

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