The number of grains per unit land area is the most important grain yield component in Chinese milk vetch. Flower and pod survival seem to be critical determinants of grain number, which is related to the number of fertile flowers and pods during the anthesis period. Flower and pod growth are frequently considered the key determinants to establish grain number. The objective of this study was to explore the influences of paclobutrazol on flower and pod development, grain-setting characteristics and grain yield in Chinese milk vetch under different concentrations of foliar spray and try to explore the physiological regulatory mechanisms. Field experiments were carried out during the 2017-2018 and 2018-2019 growing seasons at the Dayuzhuang experimental field. The experiment involved the Chinese milk vetch cultivar "Xinzi No. 1" and six levels of foliar application of paclobutrazol, 0, 200, 300, 400, 500, and 600 mg L.sup.-1, in treatments CK, T1, T2, T3, T4, and T5, respectively. Foliar spray was applied once, at the squaring stage. In comparison with the CK treatment, all of the paclobutrazol treatments yielded, to various degrees, increased values of the number of inflorescences per unit area, number of pods per unit area, grain-setting rate of pods, and number of grains per pod in all six inflorescence layers, with the largest increases observed in the T3 treatment. In the T3 treatment compared with the CK treatment, from the first to sixth inflorescence layers, the number of inflorescences per unit area was increased by 34.07-58.97%, the number of pods per unit area was increased by 39.69-68.35%, the grain number per pod was increased by 44.31-53.69%, and the grain-setting rate of pods was increased by 1.84-4.89%. An analysis of yield composition revealed that the paclobutrazol spray treatment had little impact on the grain weight of Chinese milk vetch. The correlations between the concentration of paclobutrazol spray and the grain yield of Chinese milk vetch reached a significant level. Grain yield was highest at the paclobutrazol concentration of 373.10 mg/L. The inflorescence contents of gibberellic acid 3 (GA.sub.3 ), indole-3-acetic acid (IAA), and abscisic acid (ABA) were reduced, whereas that of cytokinin (CTK) was increased, by foliar application of paclobutrazol (400 mg L.sup.-1, T3 treatment) relative to CK treatment during the stages of flowers and pods developing into grains.