The Comfrey above is very happy in
its shady, well watered location. This Comfrey is planted in 5 gallon
buckets and sits beneath both an oak tree and 50 percent shade cloth. It can
take more sun and in more northern states should be in more sun, but it
needs plenty of moisture. We can't plant it directly into the ground here
because gopher's like to eat it. The large hairy leaves of Comfrey
stay close to the ground throughout most of the year. As fall approaches,
slender stalks of leaves emerge. These leaves get gradually smaller as they
near the top, ending in gracefully hanging, tiny bell shaped flowers.
Russian Comfrey is sterile which means it does not make viable seed.
Often thought of as invasive, the plant really doesn't present a problem
until the root is disturbed. Once cut, the root pieces make new plants and
this can lead to Comfrey overload in the garden.
been used for thousands of years as a medicinal herb. In 2001 the FDA issued
a warning about the ingestion of comfrey and since that time it has been
recommended not to take it internally. It does still have applications as an
external poultice. For more on this use, visit the
National Institute of Health.
Interestingly, as Comfrey came
under fire for internal medicinal use, we found other reasons to keep it
around. Besides being attractive, its leaves add relatively high amounts of
nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus to the compost pile. Or, use the
leaves as a direct mulch and let them break down right under the plants.
Once the plant has some size on it, you can cut leaves and use them whenever
there are enough to mess with. Late fall pruning should be avoided as the
plant starts to flower and go into its readiness phase for winter dormancy.
As the last batch of leaves rot, they fertilize the plant for better growth