How To Grow Comfrey {A Simple Guide}

Comfrey is a fabulous plant, with a great many uses from fertilizer to pain relief. But how to grow comfrey, I hear you cry? Luckily, it couldn’t be more simple!

Comfrey is a hardy plant that can cope with a lot of different conditions – however, some will keep it happier than others. Let’s look into it together.

How To Grow Comfrey

How To Grow Comfrey

If you have been wanting to grow comfrey, you are definitely in luck – this plant is really good at growing, and needs very little input from you in order to do so!

Generally, the best ways to grow comfrey are either from seed or by cuttings. You can also take crown cuttings, which is a really easy way of getting a new comfrey plant.

 The processes for each are different, but the end result should be the same.

From seed:

  1. It is best to grow comfrey seeds directly outside where you want them to end up, but you can also start them off in a greenhouse.
  2. Wait until about 3 weeks before the last frost in your area before you sow your comfrey seeds.
  3. Plant them about half an inch deep, in a prepared bed that has been cleared of weeds and stones.
  4. Water them in well, and keep the soil moist until the seedlings start to show – this should be about 2-3 weeks.

From cuttings:

  1. You will need an established comfrey plant for this method – either an existing one in your garden, or a cutting from a friend.
  2. Dig up half of an established plant, re-burying the half that you are not using for cuttings (it will grow back quickly, don’t worry!)
  3. Remove the leaves and stems, and cut the roots into sections between 2 and 6 inches long.
  4. Plant these cuttings horizontally in 2 – 6 inches of garden soil, and water them in well.
  5. Water every few days when conditions are dry, as comfrey needs to be well watered to establish itself.

From crown cuttings:

  1. Dig up an existing comfrey plant and split it in half.
  2. Replant both halves, one in the original site and one where you are planning to move it.
  3. Water it well and keep an eye on it until it is properly established – you can also add a little mulch or compost at this point.

Here is a great article, telling you all that you ever needed to know about growing comfrey.

Where Is The Best Place To Plant Comfrey?

Where Is The Best Place To Plant Comfrey

Comfrey is a long-lived plant – with the right conditions it can go on for 20 years or even more – this means finding it the right spot is important!

Comfrey needs rich, well draining soil in order to produce at its leafy best, so you can add some mulch to improve drainage and nutrients.

It will like a full sun position; comfrey can handle much more direct sunlight than many other plants.

Comfrey will need to be planted out – unlike many other plants you can’t really grow it in a pot – it’s just too vigorous!

Allow 60 – 90 cm between the plants, to allow them to spread out as much as they like and to ensure there is still air flow between them.

Comfrey is a fairly hardy plant, and once it is established it is very hard to kill off (good news if you want to keep it going).

As long as you find it the perfect spot, your comfrey will thrive for years to come, offering you beautiful foliage with many uses (e.g. I’m sure you heard about comfrey oil), and flowers that pollinators love.

How Long Does It Take For Comfrey To Grow?

Comfrey takes a little while to get to its full size, even once you have some good seedlings that have established themselves.

As a general rule, it will take root cuttings a couple of years to reach the size of a fully grown comfrey.

Crown cuttings will take 1 – 1.5 years to reach the size of the plant they were taken from – these plants are already mainly established so it’s quicker.

Comfrey plants will usually have reached their full height and maturity by the time they are 4 years old.

This great video tells you just about everything you need to know about comfrey:

How Do You Start Comfrey Plant?

Starting a comfrey plant is really easy – in fact, you may notice them popping up out of nowhere, in unexpected places!

If you don’t have comfrey and you want it, you can easily get hold of seeds to start off your new crop of green superleaves.

Alternatively, you can take a cutting from a friend’s plant – this has the advantage of being quicker to start your own comfrey patch.

If you spot comfrey out growing in the wild then technically you can take cuttings from this – but remember to always check with the landowner and ask permission first.

Taking root cuttings will give you a strong healthy plant fairly soon, while a crown cutting will be even quicker.

Growing comfrey from seed is the slowest way or getting a comfrey patch – but it does have the advantage of allowing you a real feeling of satisfaction when you first see your little seedlings!

Does Comfrey Come Back Every Year?

Comfrey is a perennial herb, and as such it will keep coming back year after year – even the coldest winters won’t kill it off!

You shouldn’t have to worry too much about comfrey in the winter; it is a hardy plant and can cope with a range of temperatures.

Because the majority of the leaves will die back in winter, you may not even know that your comfrey is still alive – but it’s just waiting to pop up again!

If you are in for a particularly hard winter, you can cover or mulch the plant to help it keep a little warmer.

Generally, you don’t need to do anything to comfrey in the winter – just wait for it to spring back in the spring!

If you have been eyeing up your neighbor’s comfrey with envy, now is the time to do something about it and grow your own.

This hardy plant just loves to grow, so you shouldn’t have any problems as long as you stick to comfrey’s preferred conditions.

Comfrey Key Facts

Scientific NameSymphytum Officinale
Light RequirementsFull sun
Soil RequirementsHappy in most soil types, except shallow and chalky
Temperature RequirementsTolerant of all temperatures
Water RequirementsSome drought tolerance, likes consistently moist soil
Fertilizer RequirementsNot essential, but some mulch or compost can help
Bloom TimeMay – August
PestsSlugs, snails, aphids
Size1 – 3 feet

2 thoughts on “How To Grow Comfrey {A Simple Guide}”

    • The leaves and the roots contain the most beneficial compounds; the flowers are not really used when making comfrey remedies. That being said, you don’t have to worry if one or two get into your Comfrey preparations – they won’t do much to the finished product, but they won’t cause any harm. Best leave them for the bees!


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