Skip to main content
A picture of a Hairy Vetch

Hairy Vetch

Vicia villosa

Also known as

Fodder Vetch, Winter Vetch, Woolypod Vetch, Woolly Vetch, Vetch

Hairy Vetch, Vicia villosa by Dawn Endico (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Full Sun
Easy care
Moderate watering


RHS hardiness


Minimum temperature

Expected size









  • spring
  • summer
  • autumn
  • winter

This plant has no fragrance

More images of Hairy Vetch

A photo of Hairy Vetch
A photo of Hairy Vetch
A photo of Hairy Vetch
A photo of Hairy Vetch
A photo of Hairy Vetch

Hairy Vetch Overview

Vetch is part of the legume family that can utilise the unusable Nitrogen in the air and combine it with the help of Rhizobium bacteria to plantfood. It is therefore often sown as a covercrop with the ability to enrich the soil for the following crop.

Common problems with Hairy Vetch

Generally problem free

    Hairy Vetch Companion Plants

    Organic gardeners often plant hairy vetch (a nitrogen-fixing legume) as a companion plant to tomatoes, as an alternative to rotating crops in small growing areas. When it is time to plant tomatoes in the spring, the hairy vetch is cut to the ground and the tomato seedlings are planted in holes dug through the matted residue and stubble. The vetch vegetation provides both nitrogen and an instant mulch that preserves moisture and keeps weeds from sprouting. Any plants with high nitrogen needs will benefit from this method.

    A photo of Tomato


    Solanum lycopersicum

    How to harvest Hairy Vetch

    Plough into the field while still green.

    How to propagate Hairy Vetch


    Sow seed at start of rainy season.


    Perennial species by division in the autumn.

    Special features of Hairy Vetch

    Crop rotation

    Great to use as cover crop as green manure and to add value to depleted soil.

    Other uses of Hairy Vetch

    Attracts butterflies

    Increase soil fertility

    Grown as a winter cover crop and in no-till farming, as it is both winter hardy and can fix as much as 200 lb/acre of atmospheric nitrogen.


    About usCareersPrivacy policy

    Candide is your guide to visiting UK public gardens. Find the best gardens, buy tickets and enter with just your phone. Download the app for offline tickets, community access and more.

    Terms & ConditionsCode of Conduct

    © 2022 Candide

    Made in Bristol