How to Grow Comfrey

Overview

Comfrey is a leafy plant that is native to Europe and Asia. It has been grown for centuries as a medicinal and healing plant. Comfrey is used as a compress to heal wounds, stop bleeding and repair broken bones. For internal use, comfrey is made into a tea and can be sipped to suppress respiratory problems. The leaves are used for feeding livestock or turned into fertilizer. The high protein content of the leaves make it ideal for both these uses. Growing comfrey is easy to do but it does require a fairly large space in a garden. It grows best in wet, cool climates in damp rich soil.

Step 1

Prepare the planting bed by tilling the ground flat and making sure there are no weeds or perennials in the area. Chose an area that gets full sun during the day.

Step 2

Take root cuttings from existing comfrey plants. The root cuttings should be 1 1/2 to 6 inches long and should have a diameter of a quarter to three-quarters inch. If the root cuttings are limp, soak them in cold water until they are firm to the touch.

Step 3

Plant root cuttings 2 to 4 inches deep in the prepared soil. Lay the roots flat in the ground and cover with dirt. Take into consideration the size of your root cuttings. The smaller ones should be planted slightly shallower and the larger ones slightly deeper.

Step 4

In early April, plant root cuttings. If the ground is still frozen or unworkable plant as soon as the ground is soft. Small buds will appear in three to six weeks. If you plant in early spring you will have a small crop the first year. The second year will yield a larger crop.

Step 5

If you chose you can also plant root cuttings as late as September. This timing has the advantage of giving the plants the winter to develop roots and prepare for the next growing season.

Step 6

At the end of the growing season, harvest the leaves and dry them indoors. They can be made into teas and compresses throughout the cold winter months. Throughout the growing season, comfrey leaves can be harvested and used fresh. Comfrey has small hairs on the leaves that can be irritating to the skin, so wear gloves and long sleeves for this purpose.

Things You'll Need

  • Prepared garden area
  • Sharp knife
  • Mature comfrey plants
  • Trowel or shovel

References

  • A Modern Herbal
  • Comfrey
Keywords: crop, propagation, medicinal

About this Author

Eulalia Palomo has been a freelance writer since 2009, with her work appearing on various websites. She has studied herbal and alternative medicine and worked as a landscape artist and gardener. Palomo holds a Bachelor of Arts in liberal studies from Boston University.