Have you ever read about a plant and thought “I just have to find some?” Well, that’s how I felt when I started researching growing comfrey. It’s like the all purpose herb. You can use it to fertilize your garden, trees and yard, treat wounds and even feed to livestock (in small quantities). The thing you can’t do with comfrey is use it internally for people.
I ordered some rootstock online and planted it in the garden. So far, so good.
Here’s some things I’ve learned about growing comfrey…
- Comfrey grows well in gardening zones 3-9
- At maturity, comfrey is about 2 feet tall and about 3 feet in diameter
- There are several varieties of comfrey. If you don’t want the invasive kind, make sure you buy Russian Comfrey Bocking 14. It is infertile and so will have to be propagated by cutting rootstock.
- Comfrey sends a taproot into the soil 8-10 feet down. This makes it pretty drought tolerant. And it will mine nutrients from deep in soil and bring them up into the leaves of the plant.
- The taproot also means that you need to make sure you plant it where you want it. It doesn’t transplant well.
- Comfrey likes full sun but will tolerate some shade.
- Comfrey can survive temperatures from -40 degrees to 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
- If you plant rootstock make sure that you keep the area moist. It’s probably best to start it in a pot until it begins to grow and then transplant it into it’s permanent place.
- When planting dig a hole about 10″ across and about 2.5 to 3 feet deep and add lots of compost to it. Then plant the comfrey in the hole.
Pests and problems
- Comfrey appears to not be susceptible to pests or diseases
Harvesting and storing
- Don’t harvest the first year.
- After that, you can harvest when the plants get to be about 18″ tall. Cut the plant back to about 2″ from the ground.
- Harvest on a sunny non humid day and lay the leaves out in the sun to dry.
- You can also just harvest leaves here and there as needed if you don’t want to do a big harvest.
- Comfrey will have the most nutrients before it flowers.
How to use comfrey
- For fertilizer just chop and drop the leaves as they decompose they’ll fertilize the soil.
- I make a few comfrey poultices every summer to have on hand.
- For livestock, you can plant comfey in the grazing area or plant it in the garden and chop it for the animals.
Have you ever grown comfrey? Any pointers?
You can find information about other fruits and veggies by searching clicking on the In The Garden tab up top or in The Gardening Notebook.