Planting Miniclover as a New Lawn Alternative

green cloverMiniclover could be the answer to questions on what works as a good bluegrass lawn alternative.

It’s worth a try.

The idea occurred to me when sent a small sample of Miniclover seeds (Trifolium repens) to members of the Garden Writers Association.

Miniclover is a perennial small-leaf clover that grows low to the ground.

Clover has few, if any, fertilizer needs, it uses less water than turfgrass, and there’s no required mowing.

If it grows thick enough there’s no need for pulling or killing weeds.

I asked Outsidepride for more free Miniclover seed to use for renovating a small backyard that needed help.

This yard, in southeastern Colorado, was in desperate need of something. A combination of drought, insect pests and neglect had turned the lush lawn into a weedy patch filled with my most-hated garden foe — crabgrass.

Together with another volunteer, we replanted the bare yard with Miniclover seed to see if it will live up to its claim as a sustainable, low-maintenance lawn alternative. Some of the benefits of planting clover as a lawn include:

  • Grows in sun and partial shade
  • Improves soil by fixing nitrogen
  • Thrives in a variety of conditions
  • Sends deep roots for drought-tolerance
  • Grows quickly
  • Is sustainable and environmentally-friendly
  • Withstands foot traffic

Here’s the step-by-step process we used to plant about one pound of Miniclover seeds. I plan to use the remaining clover seeds to fill in some of the bare spots in my own blue-grass lawn to see how well it performs when mixed into a traditional lawn.

It took a few hours to get the soil prepped and the seeds planted. I’m hoping the work pays off with a new kind of lawn. Please check back to see the results of this alternative lawn experiment!

(A special Thank You goes to for providing two pounds of Miniclover seed for this garden test.)

bare back yard

The first step to planting Miniclover was to make sure all the weeds were gone. Some of the weed eradication started at the beginning of the season to make sure the yard would be ready for planting. The clover seeds should germinate quickly, but they would have a more difficult time sprouting if they had to compete with weeds until they fill in.

Garden soil added

The second step was to improve the soil. Because I didn’t want to dig up the ground and expose the weed seeds that are hiding below the surface, a thick layer of garden soil was carted in and spread over the entire bare soil surface.

Spreading seeds

After the garden soil was tamped down, the tiny clover seeds were spread over the entire surface with a handheld broadcast spreader. Because the seed is a bright pink color, it was easy to see how well it covered the soil.

Watering seed

The last step was to lightly cover the seed instead of planting too deeply. Then the sprinklers were set and seeds watered in. It’s important the seeds are kept consistently moist and not allowed to dry out between waterings. The seed should germinate in about 5-7 days. I’m counting on Miniclover to be semi-aggressive and fill in quickly this summer.


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I have a lot of clover in my backyard, not because I planted it, it just seemed to spread, and I tend to take less care of the back lawn than my front. In any event, I have noticed a lot more bee activity since the clover took over and although I do not have any scientific proof for this connection, it just seems logical to me. What are your thoughts?

Hi Mike–I agree! I have small patches of clover as well and the bees love those white flowers.

Lawns used to naturally have clover and a lot of bees. I guess clover lost favor over time because more people started to prefer “perfect” lawns and clover was considered a weed.

I’d rather have an organic, sustainable lawn that attracts the birds and the bees. Sounds like you do, too!

Thanks for checking in,

Thanks for the blog! I’m going to plant my clover seeds this weekend and hope that it grows. I have bare dirt with some weeds in my yard. I live in zone 6a in the mountains with really acidic soil. I hope you will post some after pictures!
They also make shade tolerant clovers which I bought and hope it grows under my giant pine trees!

Thanks for stopping by, Kim. I’ll be interested to hear about your clover-growing results, too–especially if the plants do well under your pine trees. I’m always getting questions on what to plant in that kind of shade, so being able to recommend clover would be great.

I hope I’ll have some good pictures to post 🙂


We.are 2planning to do the same with our front yard and want to ask how your miniclover is progressing? Has it grown to provide full cover yet? Thanks!

Hi Leanne:

Thanks for checking back about the miniclover experiment–I wish I had a better report for you.

The weather proved to be an insurmountable challenge. First, it rained almost every day in May and there was a Mother’s Day snowstorm and freeze. That prevented us from planting early as we had planned.

Once we were able to plant, the seeds germinated quickly and started to grow. But then the weather alternated between drenching rainstorms and pounding hail. Those little seedlings didn’t have a chance. Some were washed away by the rains and others turned into mush. The seedlings that were somewhat protected seemed to do okay, but the weather suddenly got hot and fried those.

I had better luck with the miniclover I planted to fill in thin and bare spots in my front lawn. Those seeds sprouted quickly and are filling in nicely. They’re under some tree cover so that’s protected them from the driving rains we’ve had. Because the leaves are so small, it paid to seed really thickly–those are the spots that are doing the best. And those little clovers are so cute.

Please let me know how your planting goes. I’d be interested to hear all about it.

Thanks again,

Will the clover grow well in Texas? Like Houston area?

Thanks for your question about growing mini-clover. My advice is to either get in touch with the folks at or contact your county’s Extension office.

I’m sure both resources would be able to address your region-specific questions.

If you do plant a mini-clover lawn, it would be great to hear about your experience.


Hello Jodi!

I am considering of growing the MiniClover for my lawn and it seems like you did not have to add any fertilizer when you grow yours? Is that true?

If you did use a fertilizer, which type did you used? And the types of soil that you used as well?

Hope to hear from you soon.


I planted mini clover in my backyard… It was just dirt & weeds. After 2 weeks of digging up the yard I planted seeds!!!! I’m hoping to attract bees since I also put n a raised veg/ herb beds. Plus I’m hate the dust from the back yard. It’s growing in 🙂
I have grass in the front yard & want to add mini clover to it but I’m not sure if it’s ok???? I don’t know what kind of grass it is. I dug up patches of crab grass & now I have Spotted front yard!!! Lol! Do you think I can just add mini clover seed to the bald patches?
Thxs Donna

Hi Donna:

Sorry for the delay in responding to your good question–I hope it’s not too late to answer it. This season I added mini-clover seeds to several thin spots in my front lawn (blue grass) and they filled in just fine. I simply seeded the thin patches and kept them moist to help them sprout. Then I’ve kept up with a regular lawn-watering schedule.

Thanks for getting in touch,

Hi Donna:

Sorry about the delay in responding to your good questions–I hope I’m not too late to answer it. I had good luck this season seeding several thin spots in my blue grass front lawn and the seeds filled in nicely. I just sprinkled seeds in the thin areas and kept them moist until they sprouted. Then I kept up with a regular lawn-watering schedule.

Thanks again,

My microclover lawn was beautiful when planted 3 years ago. But now, two years later, there are a ton of grassy-looking weeds, and I pull them when I see them (they pull out easily) but they are multiplying. Every thing was killed off, as directed, before planting. I will greatly appreciate advice. Thanks so much.

This is a great site. My mini clover germinated quickly and I am wondering iif I should cover the seedlings (some are densely packed 🙁 )with top soil which has fertilizer in it. I have only about 2-3 weeks before frost is possible.
I live in central PA – Zone 5.
Thanks. Great site by the way – Very helpful.

Hi Rody…I appreciate your nice comments! Thank you.

I’m not an expert with clover growing, but I don’t think it’s a good idea to cover the seedlings with soil. That might smother them.

If you want to get in touch with the experts, contact <> to see what they might suggest. My thinking is that clover is a resilient plant and will be setting down roots in the next few weeks. A little frost might not do much harm.

Thanks for getting in touch,

Hi Jody, you have a lovely blog, I found you while looking for miniclover reviews. I love how thorough (in both words and photographs) your post was on starting miniclover. I’d love to see an update post on how clover took to your yard.
I’m considering it for my back yard and I’m curious how your groundcover experiment fared after the clover sprouted. Did you have to water it as often as grass? and does it ever make flowers like larger clover? Part of my desire for clover over grass in my yard is how the pollinators seem to love the flowers. So I worry that because the miniclover stays so small, does it ever get a chance to grow flowers if you don’t mow it?

Thanks! Keep up the great blogging 🙂


I was wondering if you have photos of how this turned out and how you are liking it after time passed? My husband and I are getting a house in Colorado with a small yard (the house is on a less than 1/10 acre lot)…. Debating what to do with the backyard. We are adamant about not wanting a traditional lawn, but my husband still wants green space. Would you recommend miniclover or any other ground cover? We don’t want to mow for sure, something under 6″, somewhat hardy to foot traffic…. and I would prefer water-wise plants if possible!


Thanks for getting in touch. Based on my experience, the clover seems to work best when it’s overseeded into an existing lawn to fill in bare spots. It did well over the summer, but I was surprised that some of it didn’t show up again this spring, and some actually moved around to other parts of the yard. There are other groundcovers that might work better, like thyme. And there are some tougher grasses out there, too. Check the offerings at High Country Gardens online and Plant Select.


Hi Emilia:

The clover in my lawn was overseeded into bare spots so it filled those in. It wasn’t an entire lawn of clover, so I can’t answer about the watering or if it would require less water if it was an entire lawn. The leaves stay small, and it seems like they did flower–but they also got mowed.

If you want to give it a try, go for it. All gardening is a big experiment and it just might work for you.


We have used outside prides mini clover for several years. We live in SC and have acidic soil. We over seeded our centipede and St Augustine. Originally did it because chinch bugs don’t like clover. In the summer those grasses are more dominant but rest of the year the clover is more dominant. It helped our yard immensely. We had the best looking yard ever.

We are in the middle of a pool project and have a slope that will need planted so we plan to plant the mini clover and then will plant an ornamental grass on the slope along with the clover in the spring.

Hi Cheryl,

Thanks for sharing your experience with planting mini clover. It’s good to hear how well it has worked and continues to work in your lawn. I wonder how much influence being in your SC hardiness zone + acidic soil affects the results. That’s good info for other gardeners!


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