4-leaf clover - from bought luck

4-leaf clover - from bought luck

the essentials in brief

  • According to studies, only one leaf out of 5,000 has four leaves
  • Numerous myths surround the four-leaf clover and have made it a popular lucky charm
  • The lucky clover, which comes from Mexico, is often given away as a lucky charm on New Year's Eve, but it perishes quickly in a warm room because it needs to be light and cool in winter

Symbol of luck

The four-leaf clover has a special meaning in Christian symbolism. Here it embodies the cross and the four gospels. The fact that the leaf is associated with luck is not only due to its rarity. The symbolism probably goes back to the strong and vital growth of the plants. To this day, the superstition has persisted, so that the four-leaf clover is a popular template for tattoos, sayings and drawings.

also read

  • The clover as a houseplant
  • How to water your lucky clover properly
  • Plum blossom: a white miracle full of happiness

Myths about the 4-leaf clover:

  • Eva took a sheet of paper with her when she was expelled from Paradise
  • Celtic druids use them as a means against evil spirits
  • English writer John Melton is probably the first to mention the shamrock as a symbol of good luck

Why are some sheets of paper in four parts?

So far it is not clear whether the phenomenon is a genetic or environmental cause. Researchers at the University of Georgia have discovered a rare gene that transforms the three-leaf clover into a four-leaf clover. They suspect that leaf development is strongly influenced by environmental factors. Different triggers may be responsible for the mutation. It could also be that the interaction of several genes is responsible for the malformation.

How rare are four-leaf clovers?

The chances of finding a four-leaf clover are extremely slim. So far there are no scientific studies on the frequency. Collectors report different quotas. Two Bernese shamrock enthusiasts carried out a study themselves in 2017. They searched 35 locations in six different European countries. According to their findings, there is one four-leafed leaf for every 5,000 three-leaf clover. They have thus doubled the find rate, which was previously estimated at 1: 10,000. During their recordings, the two also found plants with six to eight-part leaves.

Instructions for searching

If you want to find a four leaf clover, you need to look in the right locations. In principle, you can find the little lucky charms everywhere. Once you have found a leaf, the chances are you will find other malformed leaves nearby.


Find the right clover

Most of the four-leaf clover are found on the white clover (Trifolium repens). From a botanical point of view, the supposed four leaves represent only one leaf, which is divided into four. In addition to the typical three leaflets, another is formed which is much smaller than the other three leaflets.

Not to be confused with:

  • Lucky clover (Oxalis tetraphylla)
  • Four-leaf clover (Marsilea quadrifolia)

Find locations

The white clover is widespread throughout Germany and prefers to grow in meadows and pastures. Since the species is extremely kick-resistant, it often occurs on roadsides and on sports facilities. The plant grows on nutrient-rich and moist soil that is slightly calcareous and loamy. White clover also grows on sandy soils. Although the lucky leaves are mutations, the plants do not necessarily have to grow near busy roads or power plants. Four-leaf clover can also occur in rural areas.

4-leaf clover

Four-leaf clover can appear anywhere. For the trained eye, they are hard to miss.


Klee as an all-rounder

Meadows that are full of clover are considered fresh and fertile. This is due to a very specific property of the plant. It lives in a symbiosis with nodule bacteria that bind nitrogen from the air and make it available to plants. In this way, clover increases soil fertility and animal visitors also appreciate it. Because of its high protein content, clover is a popular fodder for sheep and cattle. In the long calyxes, nectar is produced, which attracts long-nosed insects. Often, clover is grown to produce clover honey.

Search the area

White clover is preferred in the company of other individuals and rarely grows alone. As a result, the plants form extensive carpets that are difficult to examine. So there is no point in looking at every single clover leaf. Focus on a delimited area the size of an A3 sheet:

  1. Trace the area with your eyes in lines
  2. Pay attention to blade symmetry
  3. Take a closer look if you notice a leaf with three symmetrical and one smaller leaflet
  4. Keep looking in the vicinity


Place the collected sheet between newspaper and press it with a heavy book. Change the newspaper daily so that the sheet does not rot. When it's completely dry, you can frame it or immortalize it in homemade pendants.

Get clear synthetic resin from the hardware store or use tree resin that you have collected yourself. Place the leaf in a flexible plastic lid and pour the liquid resin over it. After drying, the tag can be removed from the lid by slightly bending it. You can then drill a small hole and thread a string for hanging it.


You can also pour liquid and colorless candle wax over the sheet.

Plant and care for lucky clover

The trade has recognized that the four-leaf clover is selling well. Therefore, species with four-membered leaves have established themselves as symbols of good luck in nurseries and hardware stores. There are also varieties of white clover that develop the lucky leaves:

  • Trifolium repens 'Purpurascens Quadrifolium' with purple leaves
  • Trifolium repens 'Quadrifolium' with green leaves
  • Trifolium repens 'Good Luck' with three- to five-part leaflets that develop a dark center

The typical clover, which you can buy in every supermarket on New Year's Eve, is a species from the sorrel family. The four-leaved wood sorrel originally comes from Mexico. Overgrown stocks appear again and again in Europe.

Lucky clover has claims

4-leaf clover

The plant is given away in small pots as a lucky charm on New Year's Eve. It doesn't last very long on the windowsill because it prefers cool temperatures between ten and 15 degrees Celsius and lots of light. You don't get hot air well. The substrate should be humus and well permeable to water. Mix heavy soil with sand to improve structure. In summer, the clover can be planted in the bed. A protected place in partial shade offers ideal conditions. The onions are placed about two inches deep in the ground.


If you want to grow the lucky clover yourself, you can dig up and divide the rhizomes in the fall.

Care and overwinter

If you note that the lucky clover is native to Mexico, it is not very difficult to care for. The plant has a main growing season followed by a winter break. The clover draws the energy from the leaves and stores it in small nodules. These are overwintered dry and frost-free. If it is watered all year round, the plant will not be absorbed and will continue to grow.

Fertilizeevery three weeks between April and Augusthigh nutrient consumption in the growth phase
To cutnot at allneeds leaves for nutrient production
to watereconomicalprefers moderately moist soils
RepotPut in loamy soil in MarchRoots need space

Plant description

4-leaf clover

Oxalis tetraphylla grows as a perennial bulb plant and reaches heights of 20 centimeters. The stem axis grows completely underground. Only the leaves stick out of the substrate from April and unfold in daylight. They always align themselves with the sunlight and fold up as soon as the sun goes down. Lucky clover reproduces via subterranean runners where nodules are formed. In this way it can grow a lot.

  • Leaves light green with a purple center, slightly hairy
  • one to three flowers are on a long stem
  • The flowering period extends from April to June
  • Lucky clover flowers pink

frequently asked Questions

What is the probability of finding a four-leaf clover?

The literature does not agree on how frequently the malformed leaves appear. Different information is circulating. But two hobby researchers from Switzerland looked at growing locations all over Europe and counted four-leaf clovers. They have come to the conclusion that 5,000 three-leaf clover is followed by a four-leaf clover.

How many leaves can a shamrock have?

In 2009 the Japanese Shigeo Obara discovered a shamrock that had 56 small individual leaves. With that he set a record and was included in the Guinness Book of Records. It is possible that shamrocks are pinnate five to eight parts. However, the likelihood of such malformations being found decreases as the number of leaflets increases.

Where can I find four-leaf clovers?

In principle, you can find lucky charms wherever clover grows. The mutations are often discovered in white clover. Pay attention to nutrient-rich and not too dry locations such as meadows and pastures. The larger the clover carpets, the more chances you have of a find.

Is the lucky clover a special breed?

The lucky clover is a type of wood sorrel that is native to Mexico. It naturally forms four-pinnate leaves, the center of which glows dark purple. Since the four-leaf clover established itself as a symbol of luck, the trade has specialized in the sale of this plant seasonally. You can find lucky clover in supermarkets and garden centers, especially on New Year's Eve.