Clover, more than a symbol of luck!
by Jessica of “The Bees Waggle”
Clover is a symbol of luck. You will see clovers all over the place, along with green, rainbows and pots of gold in the month of March. Discovering a four leaf clover is truly lucky, as there is only 1 in 10,000 clovers! However, clover is more than just a symbol of Irish luck. Clover brings many nutritional elements to the places it grows.
Bumblebees are frequenters of red clover because their tongues are long enough to reach the nectar in these tubular flowers.
Clover enriches the soil its roots take hold in by fixing nitrogen. It is able to achieve this because it is host to a bacterium, Rhizobium. The relationship between clover and Rhizobium is symbiotic, meaning they are mutual beneficiaries. The bacteria are fed by the plant and the plant is fed by the bacteria. Plants cannot use nitrogen the way it exists in the atmosphere. Rhizobium converts atmospheric nitrogen into a useful form for plants and animals to utilize. Rhizobium takes up residence in the plant’s root system and forms nodules. Clover and other legumes are susceptible to this type of bacterial “infection” and that is why these plants are great fertilizing plants! Turns out not every bacterial infection is a bad thing! As a result of nitrogen fixation, all plants surrounding clover benefit from the enriched soil conditions and thrive. No need for artificial fertilizer with clover in the mix.
Weeds are no match for clover! Clover grows harmoniously with many plants but will crowd out weeds. Wow! Fertilizer and a weed control packed into one plant!!
Clover is also drought resistant and will remain green and beautiful through the heat of summer.
I wouldn’t want to let you down and forget to mention how attractive clover is to bees and many other beneficial insects. As a result of this, clover works as pest control, by attracting many predators of harmful garden pests.
Clover depends on insect assisted pollination. This is just another reason to join this movement to save our bees and all pollinators alike! Clover is easy enough to grow from seed; give it a go this year and watch your garden thrive!