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In the wild, the comfrey finds its own place. When settling in the garden, it is our job to find a suitable location. The following criteria make the search easier.
In a nutshell
- Suitable for a sunny as well as partially shaded location, up to an altitude of 1000 m
- Provide nutrient-rich soil with enough nitrogen, pH between 6.5 and 7.5 is ideal
- A damp environment is preferred, but it can hold its own to some extent on dry pitches
- The comfrey location should be available for several years, as the herb will sprout again in spring
- It requires a lot of space: grows up to 1 m tall and spreads by stolons
Symphytum officinale, as the wild herb is scientifically called, is not just a pretty plant. It is known and valued for its healing properties and as a natural fertilizer. In order for it to store these substances in high concentrations in its plant parts, comfrey needs plenty of sun and warmth. The comfrey location may be sunny all the time, for example a south-facing garden bed. A partially shaded, sheltered location is also well tolerated as long as it is warm. Therefore, the plant can be used well as underplanting of bushes and trees. It shouldn't be too shady for him.Blue-flowered comfrey (Symphytum azureum)
The ideal pH for this weed is in the neutral range. However, the soil may also be slightly acidic or slightly alkaline. If you suspect that the soil in your garden is different, you should do a pH test. Since the pH value can vary within the garden area, you should take a soil sample from the planned comfrey location.
- a value between 6.5 and 7.5 is ideal
- an unsuitable pH value does not mean the end
- Soil can be improved before planting
- by liming or adding acid-forming substances
Tip: Be careful not to plant the comfrey near conifers. Not only that the soil underneath is usually very acidic. Even after raising the pH, it will not remain stable as the decomposing needles will cause the soil to slide back into the acidic range.
Comfrey requires plenty of nutrients. Medium to high humus content is ideal. If the soil at the future comfrey site is poor, it must be enriched with nutrients before planting. If the plant parts of this herb are used as a medicine or as a cooking ingredient, you should only use natural fertilizers such as compost.Symphytum caucasicum, Caucasus Comfrey
Many nutrients and trace elements are necessary for the healthy growth of this plant. But their need for nitrogen should be emphasized, for it is elemental and comparatively high. If there is a shortage, the depot can be filled with an organic fertilizer, for example horn shavings or composted manure.
Comfrey prefers moist soil, which is why it likes to grow on banks. A loamy, moist soil is also ideal in the garden. Then it develops an unbridled growth potential. However, the soil must also be loose and well drained. If you don't have such a soil in your garden and you don't want to have a lot of work with the water supply, you can still try growing this herb. Its adaptability and vigorous growth will keep it alive, although growth will be more modest.Symphytum ibericum, creeping comfrey
The comfrey location needs to have enough space above and all around.
- Comfrey shoots can grow up to 1 m high
- the herb quickly conquers territory with its foothills
Especially when underplanting bushes, the available space must not be too tight. Also, the plant neighbors must not be too close together. A planting distance of 1 m is the minimum. Otherwise, you must constantly limit its spread or install a barrier.
Tip: If you want to cultivate comfrey in a pot, there is nothing wrong with that, as long as the location is right and the substrate stays moist. When planting, however, make sure that the pot is deep, as this weed forms a long taproot.
This criterion is interesting for everyone who lives in a mountain region. For comfrey, the cultivation limit is 1,000 m altitude. A location below this mark is always a good idea.Comfrey, Source: AnRo0002, 20140427Symphytum officinale1, Edited from Plantopedia, CC0 1.0
Every comfrey plant can sprout again in spring for several years in a row. She does not want to experience a change of location throughout her lifetime. The Comfrey location must therefore not be booked elsewhere within this period of time.
frequently asked QuestionsIs comfrey hardy in every location?
Planted out, the herb is hardy enough to survive frost without further protection. However, the plant retreats to its roots and sprout again in the spring. Pot specimens must leave their location before the first frost and hibernate in a cool place indoors.Can I dig up a young plant in the wild?
Comfrey is not currently protected. You can collect individual plant parts or dig up the entire plant or a piece of root and move it to your garden.When does the plant root best at its location?
The best time to plant out young comfrey plants is between April and May. The best time for direct sowing is also the month of April.How long can a comfrey plant remain in its place?
The plant can sprout again and again from its root base for up to 20 years without having to change location. If you want to settle comfrey in a different location, you can use a piece of its roots for propagation.