Tags: Hybrid

Growing Practices: No Pesticides No Herbicides No Fungicides No Synthetic Fertilizers

Latin Name: Symphytum x uplandicum

Days to Maturity: 3 months to one year

Description:

***To order, scroll all the way to the bottom of the page, past all the questions and answers.***

My comfrey root cuttings will be at least 5 inches long and ⅜ inch in diameter. Most will be larger. You may order them WITH or WITHOUT a portion of the crown attached. (Although I have a limited number of root cuttings WITHOUT the crown). Root cuttings WITH crown will be at least one year old, and these will produce a full sized plant one year earlier than buying root cuttings WITHOUT the crown.

Comfrey is one of the most generous plants Mother Nature has given us. It gives and gives and asks very little in return. I try to honor its generous nature by passing on to my customers large, fresh, healthy roots.

The Bocking 14 cultivar only produces sterile seeds, so there is no danger of the plant becoming invasive. Each comfrey plant will stay in a tidy little clump forever, unless you dig it up. Then the broken pieces of roots that remain in the ground will send up new shoots. But even then, it will not spread very far past the original plant. At most, 18 inches or so. If you do want to get rid of your comfrey plant, do not till it. That will only create more plants. It can be removed successfully with very heavy sheet mulching however.

Comfrey may be the number one most useful plant for any gardener using organic and sustainable techniques. It can grow to about three feet tall and three feet wide, and will come back faithfully every spring. Comfrey puts down a taproot that can grow several feet deep, mining minerals and nutrients from deep in the subsoil and bringing them to the surface. The large leaves can be cut back several times each year and used for a nutrient-rich mulch. The leaves also contain properties that jump start a compost pile. The flowers attract benefical insects, bees and butterflies to your garden. Ducks, pigs and other livestock love to eat the nutritious leaves. As icing on the cake, comfrey leaves and roots can also be made into a powerful healing salve.

Another way I use comfrey is this: in addition to the comfrey that I plant around my fruit trees, I also have several long rows of comfrey in various places around my gardens. In late spring when I am ready to harvest the roots, I dig up the entire row of comfrey. I use the leaves for mulch and sell or use the roots myself. Then I plant my larger annuals right in the comfrey row that I just dug up. Tomatoes, peppers, basil, parsley, etc. My annuals are the most healthy vibrant plants I've ever grown by doing it this way. By midsummer the comfrey has all started growing back, in and around the annuals, and I cut some of it back to use for mulch or fodder, but mostly I just let it grow. It acts as a living mulch that way, and the root exudates feed my annuals all summer, all the while attracting huge numbers of earthworms and beneficial insects, and rapidly building the soil.


Story of this Seed:

I bought a small box of Bocking 14 Comfrey root cuttings from a fellow permaculturist a few years ago, and have never looked back. It is my favorite plant in the garden.


Growing Tips:

Comfrey is hardy from zones 3 to 9. Plant the root cuttings any time in the spring when the ground can be worked. in zones 8 or 9, you can plant comfrey year-round.

For root cuttings WITH crown attached: Place the crown just below the surface of the soil with the root fairly vertical. The first leaves will begin to emerge within a few days, to a few weeks, depending on the weather.

For root cuttings WITHOUT crown attached: Place the root cutting horizontal, about 2 to 3 inches below the soil. The first leaves will begin to emerge in 2 to 6 weeks, depending on the weather. You probably will not see flower stalks until late in the season, or even until the following season.


DO NOT PLANT COMFREY where it can be freely grazed by chickens or any other livestock. Comfrey needs time to develop its large leaves, so it can photosynthesize and develop strong roots. If it is planted where it is constantly grazed it may die after a couple years.

For ALL cuttings, plant about 2 to 3 feet apart and water well. Cover with a light mulch until leaves appear, then add more mulch around the emerging plant. The first year it may grow only a foot or two tall, but by the second year it will reach it's full height, up to four feet tall and three feet wide. Keep mulched and water regularly the first year. After that, it becomes fairly drought tolerant and will mulch itself. Cut the leaves back to near the base of the plant as you need them. Use them for mulch, animal fodder, or additions to your compost pile. You can cut the flower stalks back as they begin to fade and it will send up new flower stalks all summer. By the second or third year, you will be able to harvest some root cuttings by digging gently around the base of the plant, or digging up the entire clump and cutting it into smaller pieces. You can use these root cuttings to create more comfrey plants in your garden and also to make a healing salve. The Bocking 14 cultivar only produces sterile seeds, so there is no danger of the plant becoming invasive. If you do want to get rid of your comfrey plant, do not till it. That will only create more plants. It can be removed successfully with heavy sheet mulching however.

Questions 25 Total

Ask a Question About Russian Comfrey, Bocking 14 Cultivar

  • Answer this question

    I have never grown comfrey. Which of your offerings would be best for a 'newbie' - the
    5, 10, 15 or 20 groupings? We live in northwest MT near the Cabinet Mountain Wilderness
    area at 2,800 ft elevation. We get deep snow and temps down to -30 in the winter but hot
    summers with days over 100. We generally have heavy, clay soils...which I can amend somewhat.
    Thank you.

    Posted by Disney Cathleen on 07/25/2019

    Answers 1

    • Hi Disney,
      Wow that sounds like a beautiful place! As far as the 30 below temps, comfrey will be fine, as long as there is some snow cover. 100 degrees in the summer is fine too, but you will need to keep it watered the first couple years if you don't get rain. Also, a fairly heavy mulch will help protect it winter and summer both.

      The heavy clay soil is no problem at all, in fact the comfrey will help improve your soil quickly and dramatically.

      It doesn't matter which grouping of comfrey you want to order, but the comfrey WITH the crown comes up very quickly and gets established a lot faster than the cuttings without the crown. If you're not in a hurry, and you don't mind keeping it watered, etc, the cuttings WITHOUT the crown are less expensive.

      I am beginning to get some comfrey that is ready to harvest now, so I will go ahead and change this listing so you will be able to order some if you like. Thanks for your interest and holler if you have anymore questions! :)

      Raine Bradford

      Posted by Raine Bradford on 07/25/2019

  • Answer this question

    Hi Raine,
    Thank you for this information. I was looking for the book online and came across this posting on Permies.com:

    "Comfrey Bocking 4 and 14: Clarification Please?
    maikeru sumi-e Original Poster
    posted 6 years ago
    Doing some quick research on which comfrey varieties are good for what purposes, but finding some conflicting information. Need some clarification.
    From what I've read,
    Bocking 4 = Good animal fodder, more for medicinal use, low in PAs, tends to run a little more wild
    Bocking 14 = Higher production, the best for compost use, slightly higher in PAs thus not as recommended for medicinal use, stays put more than Bocking 4
    Symphytum officinale = approximately 1/3 production of either Bocking varieties, seeds freely, can naturalize in ideal circumstances, might have lower PAs and better for medicinal uses
    Me = confused, because different websites keep switching Bocking 4 and 14 like they're interchangeable."

    Posted by Denise Buglino on 10/20/2018

    Answers 1

    • Hi Denise, that's funny, I stumbled on that same posting on permies. That information does seem to be the general consensus. Also, I have a book by Rosemary Gladstar called "Herbal Healing for Women" and she has some great info on this subject. If you want to send me an email, we can exchange information a little more easily. Mine is greatbigreddog@gmail.com. Thanks again for your interest!
      Raine

      Posted by Raine Bradford on 10/20/2018

  • Answer this question

    Hi Raine, Thanks so much for your answer. One more question now regarding the use of leaves as medicinal herb. Have heard that a certain variety of comfrey is best for minimal "toxicity" risk when used internally as a tea to help strengthen bones. It can also be used externally as a poultice to mend broken bones. Do you know whether this variety of comfrey is the better one for internal use? Thank you

    Posted by Denise Buglino on 10/17/2018

    Answers 1

    • Hi Denise,
      Well, I have been trying to answer some of those questions for myself for quite a while. The information available online is contradictory and confusing. I know that the studies about pyrrolizidine alkaloids have been criticized for two main flaws: They have analyzed the results in rats rather than humans and they have separated the pyrrolizidine alkaloids from the comfrey, rather than looking at the effects of the whole plant. Personally, I do consume comfrey in a smoothie every day, and have for years. But I would advise you to do your own research. I just now stumbled on a book called "Comfrey, Fodder, Food & Remedy" by Lawrence D. Hills, which I haven't read yet, but had great reviews.

      Sorry I don't have more concrete information for you! But I appreciate your question, and will continue to look for answers. :)

      Raine

      Posted by Raine Bradford on 10/19/2018

  • Answer this question

    How difficult to start plants in zone 7a northern Calif with temps down to 20 degrees, very hot and DRY in summer? How much humidity/water needed for first two years? Will it grow in very poor forest soil? How close to fruit tree trunk is it OK to plant comfrey? What about planting near grapes, blueberries, raspberries? Any plants/trees that would compete with comfrey and need to be avoided?

    Posted by Denise Buglino on 10/17/2018

    Answers 1

    • Hi Denise. Wow, excellent questions!

      I grew up in Northern California, so I understand about hot and dry. Comfrey will need moisture as it is getting started the first few months. Keep it mulched well.
      After that it becomes more resilient and can tolerate some drought. It may go dormant without water during the hot months. Temperatures down to 20 degrees are no problem though. Poor soil is also not a problem. In fact comfrey will improve any soil very quickly and very dramatically.

      I have comfrey planted very close to all of my fruit trees. I usually make a ring of comfrey around each fruit tree about 12in away from it every time I plant a tree. I also have it planted in very closely with raspberries, blackberries and all other woody crops. The way comfrey improves the quality of the soil means that you can plant it in with anything. It will boost fertility for any crop. It may compete slightly for water but that is the only competition I have ever noticed.

      Another way I use comfrey is this: I have several long rows of comfrey in various places around my gardens. In late spring when I am ready to harvest the roots, I dig up the entire row of comfrey. I use the leaves for mulch and sell or use the roots myself. Then I plant my annuals right in the comfrey row that I just dug up. Tomatoes, peppers, basil, parsley, or whatever you like to grow as annuals. My annuals are the most healthy vibrant plants I've ever grown by doing it that way. By Midsummer the comfrey has all started growing back, in around the annuals, and I cut some of it back to use for mulch or fodder, but mostly I just let it grow. It acts as a living mulch that way.

      I hope that helps! Happy growing!
      Raine Bradford

      Posted by Raine Bradford on 10/17/2018

  • Answer this question

    How long can the taproot grow.

    Posted by John Conlin on 04/22/2018

    Answers 1

    • I have read that it can grow 3 feet deep. Short of a backhoe, I can't confirm that! I know from digging my own that it will get a couple inches in diameter within a year or two.

      Posted by Raine Bradford on 04/22/2018

  • Answer this question

    I see that the shipping date is April but I have a green house and would like to get any earlier start, is that possible? Im on zone 7

    Posted by Korben Rodriguez on 03/20/2018

    Answers 1

    • Hi Korben. I like to wait until the first part of April to dig up the roots because then they have already started to put a good amount of green leaves out. Otherwise, I really can't find them! :)

      Posted by Raine Bradford on 03/21/2018

  • Answer this question

    Last year I planted about 20 comfrey plants in fall. I live just south of Portland, Oregon. Ones planted in October had time to grow some, and stayed green all winter where there was full sun. Ones planted later or in shade aren't around now. There are many hungry rodents here in winter and I think I may have goofed. Should I avoid fall planting in the country?

    Posted by Bill Jones on 01/30/2018

    Answers 1

    • Hi Bill. Thats a good question. So you don't get hard frosts in your location I bet. Normally, lack of hard frosts means that you can plant comfrey in any season. I wish I had a more definite answer for you, but I'm really not sure. Ill do some more research on the rodent issue and get back to you. Its possible shade could affect growth, especially if it never got going good before cold weather. In general, I would recommend following what is working best as far as planting times. Your comfrey plants that did well may be dug up and divided next summer if you wish. The original planting spot will still produce a comfrey plant, in fact it will probably spread out a little bit.
      Hope that helps!
      Raine

      Posted by Raine Bradford on 02/03/2018

  • Answer this question

    I would like to know if you can ship out now or do I have to wait until spring in your area ? I am in zone 9.

    Posted by Melody Ludwick on 12/24/2017

    Answers 1

    • Hi Melody. I could ship out now. No problem. :) For your zone, you can plant any time.

      Posted by Raine Bradford on 12/25/2017

  • Answer this question

    can I start root cuttings indoor this winter, and transplant them out in the spring ?
    thank you, lori

    Posted by lori erwin on 09/22/2017

    Answers 1

    • Hi Lori. Yes, you could do that, although comfrey is a very fast growing plant and would need a good sized pot. You could cut the leaves back during the winter to keep it a more manageable size. Its a pretty tough plant and will survive a lot of mistreatment. :) I have planted some in the fall (in Missouri, zone 6a) with pretty good results. Not sure where you live, but you may have time to get some going outdoors yet this fall.

      Posted by Raine Bradford on 09/22/2017

  • Answer this question

    I will be returning to the Philippines about October 6, 2017 and want to know how long the roots are viable. Can you ship to Chicago in a time frame that two days travel will still allow the cultivars to survive the journey?

    Posted by Gary Gibson on 08/11/2017

    Answers 1

    • No problem! The roots will be fine for a few days travel, as long as they don't dry out. I can ship them to you so they arrive right before you are leaving. I would recommend putting them in a plastic bag when you receive them. Keep them moist, and rinse them off every day or so. This will prevent any mold from forming. But they are very tough and strong, so they will survive some neglect, no worries!

      Posted by Raine Bradford on 08/12/2017

  • Answer this question

    Hello! I started to buy 10 root cuttings from crowns, but then saw I had to enter my credit card info. Do you have another venue for selling where I can use paypal? Thanks

    Posted by c b on 07/23/2017

    Answers 1

    • Hello, this is the only venue where I am currently selling comfrey. If you would like to text me at 9033728259 we can work something out directly. However I do prefer people to buy through seedwise, only because they don't charge me for my listing and only receive compensation when I make a sale. Thank you! Raine

      Posted by Raine Bradford on 07/24/2017

  • Answer this question

    I'm near Bowling Green KY and would like to purchase some of your Russian Comfrey soon. Is it too late to plant it here? Thank you

    Posted by William Larrabee on 05/29/2017

    Answers 1

    • No, not too late! :) You can plant it almost anytime. Just make sure you keep it watered and mulched until it gets established this season. Then it will be fairly drought tolerant.

      Posted by Raine Bradford on 05/29/2017

  • Answer this question

    I don't see a place to publish reviews of this supplier or plant so I hope it's okay to add a comment here. I received my roots very quickly and was thrilled with the quality! They were all larger than the product description size, were fresh and healthy, and had bits of green leaves already emerging from several of the crowns. I planted them two days after I received them and they started leafing out within a few of days. They've now been in the ground several weeks and are loaded with large leaves and growing vigorously (one is already sending up a flower stalk). I highly recommend this supplier!

    Posted by Susan Lindskog on 05/19/2017

    Answers 1

    • Hi Susan, I'm so glad that you are happy with the comfrey and it is growing well for you! Thank you for the positive feedback, I really appreciate that! Hope you have a great growing season.
      Raine

      Posted by Raine Bradford on 05/19/2017

  • Answer this question

    Hi! I just ordered your comfrey. I live in florida so I would like it sent as soon as possible. Its plenty warm here.
    Thank you! Terri Beerbower

    Posted by terri Beerbower on 03/10/2017

    Answers 1

    • Hi Terri. Yes, I am going to be able to dig the comfrey sooner than I thought, as we have had some good warm weather here. Just need to let it get a few leaves, so I can make sure and get an active portion on each crown. Should be within a week or so. Ill put you at the too of the list with your southern location. Ill send you an email when I ship. Thanks for your order!
      Raine

      Posted by Raine Bradford on 03/11/2017

  • Answer this question

    I just made an order and was wondering if you could ship it in May. I live in Michigan, near Lake Superior, and we usually have snow until beginning to middle of May. Thank you for your help!

    Posted by Elizabeth Basso on 03/06/2017

    Answers 2

    • No problem at all! I'll send it out early to mid May. Let me know if the snow melts and you would like it sooner. :) Thank you for your order!
      Raine Bradford

      Posted by Raine Bradford on 03/07/2017

    • Hi Elizabeth. I'm getting your order ready today to ship out tomorrow. Let me know if that's not ok. Hope the snow has melted and spring has arrived! :)

      Posted by Raine Bradford on 05/21/2017

  • Answer this question

    Good afternoon Raine,

    I just bought some Bocking #14 from you. Apparently it has a much shallower root system than #4, which may make it subject to drought. Do you have any data or pictures of the relative root systems? I am not worried about drought, but I would like to know if this cultivar will be an "accumulator". I'll also be curious to see how deer-resistant it is. Thanks.

    Peter Forbes
    WDC

    Posted by Peter Forbes on 02/22/2017

    Answers 3

    • The powerful roots of Russian Comfrey Bocking #4 go down 8-10 feet.
      Bocking #14 roots go down 6-8 feet.

      Posted by Peter Forbes on 02/22/2017

    • Hi Peter. I have not grown the Bocking #4, so I can not offer any comparisons from personal experience. I can tell you that the roots of #14 go deeper than I could ever dig up. They can get very wide as well. One root cutting can make a clump with a root mass diameter of at least 8 inches, after a couple years of growth. They are definitely an "accumulator"!

      Posted by Raine Bradford on 02/25/2017

    • Also, as far as deer resistant...probably not. All my livestock love it (chickens, ducks, pigs, and cows). I'm sure deer love it too. (But I'm not certain.) However, once it is established, deer wouldn't kill it by browsing, but they might keep it eaten down where it wouldn't thrive.

      Posted by Raine Bradford on 02/25/2017

  • Answer this question

    Hello Raine,

    I would very much like 10 of your root cuttings.
    Is it possible for me to get them?
    Would you kindly ship them to my address?
    I live in Kagoshima Japan, on an island called Amami Oshima.
    If so, could you let me know how much it will cost?

    And of course, I can wait until March or April.

    Thank you.
    Nobumasa Nishishara.

    Posted by Nobumasa Nishihara on 01/28/2017

    Answers 2

    • Hello! Yes, I will check on the shipping cost and let you know soon. Thank you!
      Raine

      Posted by Raine Bradford on 01/28/2017

    • So sorry for the delayed response! Looks like shipping would be pretty high, $22.75. Also I don't think the root cuttings would arrive in very good shape...it would take too long for them to travel to you. We can try if you want to, but I'm worried you wouldn't be happy with them.

      Posted by Raine Bradford on 02/05/2017

  • Answer this question

    Hello Raine,

    Your root cuttings are attractive, to me. I dare say your offer is the cheapest I could find, for now.

    However, do you deliver root cuttings outside of the US? If yes, what is the cost of shipping fee to Malaysia for 5 root cuttings?

    If you concern about customs, I imported many seeds and cuttings from the UK, US and bacteria specimen from Australia. All without special certificates and only in envelopes.

    I concern more of the shipping price than any other things. It is always the shipping fee which makes the entire thing exorbitant.

    Posted by Christopher Liow on 09/04/2016

    Answers 2

    • Hi Christopher. So sorry for the slow response. Let me do some checking on the shipping cost and get back to you. I won't be digging new root cuttings until March or April. Is that too long for you to wait?

      Posted by Raine Bradford on 09/15/2016

    • Hello Raine,

      Ah there you are. I thought you would not respond. I presume it is March or April in year 2017. Yes, I can wait.

      It is too long for me to wait but the good is that I could gather more money and hopefully purchase those little things from you without worry. Another good thing of waiting until next year is that roots get mature. I notice the bigger the root cuttings are the higher the regeneration rate, plus a crown portion I wager they would be excellent.

      Posted by Christopher Liow on 09/16/2016

  • Answer this question

    as I can make a reservation?

    Posted by kevin blade on 04/05/2016

    Answers 1

    • I got a very large order and want to make sure I can fill it, before I take any more new orders. I will be digging the comfrey the second week in May, and will have a better idea of how much I will have available at that time. But I will let you know at that time Thanks!

      Posted by Raine Bradford on 04/05/2016

  • Answer this question

    I farm serveral thousand acres and plant some plants, in the off season, to benefit the soil. I did not know if I could buy enough seeds to do 150 acres to energize the soil?

    Posted by Casey Boone on 04/04/2016

    Answers 1

    • This type of comfrey (or any desirable type of comfrey) can not be started by seed, only root cuttings. There is more detailed info in the description. It would be quite a challenge to spread comfrey over 150 acres! But you could build it slowly, with enough patience. :)

      Posted by Raine Bradford on 04/05/2016

  • Answer this question

    Hi Raine,

    When will you have the comfrey in stock? Thanks!

    Posted by Luke Callahan on 04/04/2016

    Answers 1

    • Hi Luke. I got a very large order and want to make sure I can fill it, before I take any more new orders. I will be digging the comfrey the second week in May, and will have a better idea of how much I will have available at that time. I'll let you know! Thanks.

      Posted by Raine Bradford on 04/05/2016

  • Answer this question

    Are these organically grown?

    Posted by Anna Ponomareva on 04/04/2016

    Answers 1

    • Yes, everything on our farm is organically grown.

      Posted by Raine Bradford on 04/05/2016

  • Answer this question

    I love the comfrey I purchased from you early this year and would like more. I live in Arkansas and wonder if I should do this now or wait till spring?

    Posted by Amanda Parks on 11/02/2015

    Answers 2

    • Hi Amanda. I'm glad you are happy with the comfrey! If you would like, you can pre-order now. I just changed the listing to enable pre-orders for next spring...let me know if you have any problems with it. You won't be charged until your order ships, probably around mid march. Thanks again!

      Posted by Raine Bradford on 11/02/2015

    • Hi again, I see that I didn't have the pre-orders available...I think I actually fixed it this time! Sorry for the delay.

      Posted by Raine Bradford on 11/04/2015

  • Answer this question

    Hi. I live in North Texas. Should I plant the comfrey now? Or would it be better if I waited until spring? I am hoping I might have some come up next year if I can plant them now? Thank You.

    Posted by D Devine on 08/26/2015

    Answers 2

    • You could go ahead and plant now, although you will want to keep it well watered and mulched until the weather cools off. Comfrey will grow just about anywhere, anytime, but it will need a little extra TLC to cope with the heat, until it gets established.

      Posted by Raine Bradford on 08/26/2015

    • Thank you very much! I cannot wait to order mine. Hopefully it will do well. I was thinking about planting it under my pecan tree. It keeps everything cool. Hopefully the comfrey would do well there.

      Posted by D Devine on 08/27/2015

  • Answer this question

    Two questions: How to store roots with crowns and how long if not ready to plant? I received the right amount of roots with crowns, but I also received a handful of roots with nothing on them. Will these grow if planted?

    Posted by James Calhoon on 04/07/2015

    Answers 1

    • Hi James, The sooner you can plant the comfrey roots, the better. However, I have stored them in the refrigerator for several weeks and still had them come up. It just took them a little longer to get started. Bag them loosely with a little water sprinkled on the roots. Take them out and open the bag every few days to give them some air.

      I forgot to tell you that I put in a few extra root pieces for you. They will come up even without a crown, but it will take them an extra season to become a full sized comfrey plant. I have started most of my comfrey this way actually. Having a portion of the crown just gives you a bigger plant much sooner.

      Hope this helps! Happy gardening,
      Raine Bradford.

      Posted by Raine Bradford on 04/07/2015

Policies

Shipping Policies

Shipping is by USPS priority mail. Order will ship within 5 business days, probably sooner.

Return & Refund Policy

Full refund, including shipping, up to six months of purchase if not satisfied. Not necessary to return product.

Russian Comfrey, Bocking 14 Cultivar

Unit SizePriceDescription
5 Root Cuttings $12.50 Root cutting with crown. One root cutting is at least 5 inches long and 1/4 inch in diameter. Each piece will include a portion of the crown. Many will be larger. Shipping is $7.95.
20 Root Cuttings $20.00 Bulk Root cutting WITHOUT crown attached, at least 1/4 inch in diameter and 5 inches long. Shipping is $7.95.
10 Root Cuttings $24.00 Root cutting with crown. One root cutting is at least five inches long and 1/4 inch in diameter. Each piece will include a portion of the crown. Many will be larger. Shipping is $7.95.
15 Root Cuttings $36.00 Root cutting with crown. One root cutting is at least 5 inches long and 1/4 inch in diameter. Each piece will include a portion of the crown. Many will be larger. Shipping is $7.95.

$12.50

CHANGE Farms

Washburn, MO, United States (Zone 6b)
Established in 2011
2.00 acres in production

Other Listings from CHANGE Farms: