Comfrey Symphytum officinale
How to sow comfrey: Root cuttings, seedling, or direct seed
Sun requirement for comfrey: Plant in Full Sun
Comfrey has been planted 3 times by Growstuff members.
Comfrey (also comphrey) refers to a perennial, herbaceous group of plants in the genus Symphytum and Boraginaceae (Borage) family. Comfrey is grown for it's medicinal and organic fertilization uses. There are two main types of comfrey: True or Common Comfrey (Symphytum officinale) and Russian Comfrey or Bocking 14 (Symphytum x uplandicum), a cultivar created by crossing True Comfrey with Symphytum asperum (Rough Comfrey). True Comfrey proliferates wildly from seed and can become invasive if allowed to go to seed, while the seed of Russian Comfrey is sterile. Both types have large, broad, hairy leaves that grow from a central crown. Their bell-shaped flowers can be blue, purple, pink, or white. True Comfrey's leaves are a bit smaller and the plant is slightly taller than Russian Comfrey. Both plants have deep, aggressive taproots that pull up nutrients like potassium, nitrogen, phosphorus, and trace minerals from the subsoil. The nutrients are concentrated in the leaves, which are most potent when cut before the plant flowers. Leaves can be harvested once the plant is 60cm tall, and then cut 2-3 times a year. The leaves are used to fertilize organic gardens in a number of ways: by fermenting to make a compost tea, adding to the compost pile, feeding to animals, or spreading cut leaves as a surface mulch. Comfrey is a good companion plant for orchards because it suppresses weeds and is a convenient surface mulch for the trees. It's flowers attract bees and pollinators. Russian Comfrey is a more vigorous grower and is used most often as a biomass plant for mulch. Medicinally, comfrey leaves can be used as a healing salve for skin irritations, bruises, sprains, and broken bones.
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