Comfrey, Russian Root Crown Cutting (Bocking 14 Cultivar), organic

(13 customer reviews)

$4.00$60.00

Currently digging and shipping comfrey.  If you make an order, you can expect your package to arrive within 2 weeks.  If you do not want your package at that tiem, tell us by leaving a note in the “order notes” field at checkout.  Comfrey is best planted in the early spring or fall.

Family:  Borage (Boraginacea)

Hardy in Zones 4 to 8

Herbaceous perennial flowering to 3 feet, a hybrid of Russian Symphytum asperum and European Symphytum officinalis.  Bocking 14 cultivar of Russian Comfrey (Symphytum x uplandicum).  Sterile hybrid does not make seeds.

Uses: Comfrey is commonly used in permaculture as a companion plant to fruit trees.  In the nursery, we have great results making the fresh leaves into biodynamic tea, which we apply to our plants in a pot to increase vitality, growth, and to green up all those leaves! Excellent ingredient for compost piles–fresh leaves compost fast and make a nitrogen-rich compost!  Fresh, rubbed leaves fed to ruminants, pigs and chickens to increase health and as a protein-rich nutrient dense feed.  Traditional usage of fresh or dried leaves or roots (TWM):  used externally to speed healing. Source of cell-proliferating molecule alantoin.

What is a root crown cutting?  A chunk of the crown of the plant (the blocky part above the taproots), often with a piece of the taproot attached.  Size is variable.  We give generous cuttings, from 2 to 6 inches long, generally as big around as your thumb, often larger, sometimes smaller–a mix.  These are the SAME CUTTINGS that we use for replanting our own fields, and horticulturally speaking, this is the best size and shape to replant in order to get fast results.  This is NOT just a piece of the taproot, which generally takes longer to grow to a full sized plant than the more desirable crown cutting.

How to plant:  Space the plants at least 2 feet apart.  Comfrey prefers rich soil of medium moisture in the sun to part shade.  It is a heavy feeder and will reach monumental size if given composted manure under the cutting at transplant and/or around the crown of the plant during the growth cycle. To plant the cutting, prepare a weed-free area of 1 foot square, fertilize the spot with compost, then bury the cutting in the center of that spot, completely covering the cutting with soil to the depth of 1 or 2 inches.  Do not leave the cutting exposed–let it sprout spontaneously up through the soil.  This will take about 2 weeks–you will see the bright green leaves emerging.

How to care for comfrey plants:  Keep the planting reasonably well watered. It works very nicely to mulch the plant with straw, other high-carbon mulch, or even its own leaves, cut from the plant and laid back down around the crown.  This is the standard way to take care of comfrey–when it finishes flowering and starts to keel over, cut it down and use the leaves for any of the multitude of applications comfrey leaves are good for, or simply lay the leaves back down on the crown of the plant and let it grow back through its own mulch.  In the temperate zone, this cycle usually occurs 2 or three times per summer.  The only way to get rid of comfrey is to stop watering it and let the plant dry out, or to drown the plant in water.  Otherwise, the plant will stay put where you plant it, unless you dig through it or rototill or plow the area, in which case new plants will come up from root fragments wherever they are deposited. Many people plant comfrey in the orchard, as it brings up minerals from deep within the earth that are good for fruit trees, and because it nourishes the trees with its fallen and composted leaves.  The above directions are suitable for comfrey culture in orchards, and traditionally at least one plant is planted per tree.  You can mow over the plants if necessary–they will re-emerge.

For more information on use of comfrey in the home garden and for use of comfrey in herbal medicine, including appropriate directions for safe usage in home health care, please read “The Medicinal Herb Grower Vol 1” and “Making Plant Medicine.”

Root Crown Cutting, certified organically grown

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5 out of 5 stars

13 reviews

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What others are saying

  1. Question

    Jennie

    Is it to late to plant these in zone 5?

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    • Richo Cech

      Richo Cech

      Hi Jennie,
      I think you should wait until spring.
      Richo

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  2. GardenGal

    Comfrey, Russian Root Crown Cutting (Bocking 14 Cultivar), organic

    GardenGal (verified owner)

    I ordered 20 root crown cutting and am very pleased with the health and size of the crowns. Planted immediately and all but one came up within a week! The last one just seemed to lag a bit but has now officially sprouted and appears to be doing fine. Actually, I received 21 cuttings and thought that was a nice touch on their part for that “just in case”. I will definitely be ordering from Strictly Medicinal Seeds again. Thank you!

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  3. Question

    Machelle Manning (verified owner)

    Can I plant this in a pot?

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    • Richo Cech

      Richo Cech

      hi machelle, yes, certainly, but make sure you cover the crown completely with soil when you pot it up. richo

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  4. Question

    ramintasm (verified owner)

    We want to plant comfreys as companions for our fruit trees, cherries, plums, peaches, pears, etc. How close to the trunks can the roots be planted? Some trees are old, others 6 yrs, and a couple were planted this spring. Thank you!

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    • One person found this helpful
      Richo Cech

      Richo Cech

      Works best to plant right at the drip line. Not too good to have right up against the trunks–give it at least 4 feet from trunk to plant.

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  5. Question

    Cathryn Kasper, Corvallis OR

    I have many well-established plants of Russian Comfrey, which my goats and chickens enjoy. Will it cross with True Comfrey if planted in the same garden – if planted in the same row???

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    • Richo Cech

      Richo Cech

      hi Cathryn, No, because russian comfrey is sterile, it will not cross. richo

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    • Vesa

      Can I plant this in a square foot raised bed now or is it too late in the season? How much space would it take up in the bed? Thanks!

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    • One person found this helpful
      Richo Cech

      Richo Cech

      Hi Vesa,
      It is really never too late to plant comfrey, although they do take best in spring and fall. These get very large and it is best not to disturb the roots or they will spread. It will take up a 2-foot circle.
      Richo

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  6. One person found this helpful
    Logan King

    Great People, Great Product

    Logan King (verified owner)

    Hefty cuttings of some really healthy comfrey. They arrived swiftly, and during the freaking covid outbreak. These people do great work.

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  7. One person found this helpful
    Anila Nair

    Excellent quality root crown cuttings

    Anila Nair (verified owner)

    I’m happy with the excellent root crown cuttings I received. They were all big chunky pieces and I planted them immediately and within a few days have started sprouting leaves. Really really happy with this purchase.

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    • 2 out of 2 people found this helpful
      Richo Cech

      Richo Cech

      Hello Anila,
      Thanks for making the effort to leave a review, we appreciate it immensely. One thing I wanted to point out is that some folks are having issues with getting the crowns to sprout because they are leaving the roots protruding up into the light. For some reason Comfrey doesn’t like that, and the best results occur when the crowns (even if they have some green on them) are buried completely in the garden soil, with maybe an inch of soil over the topmost part. Anyhow, you must have done this right!
      Richo

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  8. Question

    Adam

    Are the medicinal qualities of this hybrid the same as the official species? Thanks!

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    • Richo Cech

      Admin Richo Cech

      Hi Adam,
      I think so–both types contain allantoin, which is one of the active principles. The true comfrey seems to have less mucilage and also less echimidine, one of the (udesired) pyrrolizidine alkaloids. Lots of people use the hybrid for permaculture and the official for human healing.
      Richo

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  9. Julie Preston

    Happy campers

    Julie Preston (verified owner)

    Planted roots were up within one week of planting. Had a couple of spares that I potted up for gifting. Superb shipping. Love the packing material. Recycle or reuse. The nursery pots will come In handy later. Thank you!

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  10. Jean Mitchell

    Love Comfrey

    Jean Mitchell (verified owner)

    I live in Portland, Oregon and a few years ago I purchased the Bocking 14 Comfrey from Strictly Medicinal Seeds. Planted the root as directed and waited for the first sign of life breaking soil. Sure enough within about 2 week it broke through, I was so excited because I have never grown Comfrey before. I love it and use it in my garden as a soil booster. It is the end of April and my plant is full and beautiful after a mild but wet winter. Everyone should have Comfrey in their gardens, the bees love it as do my plants and veggies.

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  11. Question

    kay cole

    I live in N. Wisconsin, can I plant comfrey now in October…will it survive the winter and sprout in Spring?

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    • Richo Cech

      Admin Richo Cech

      Hello Kay,
      I can’t see much advantage in planting the comfrey now, I think it would be better to wait until the spring.
      Richo

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  12. One person found this helpful
    SapperGardener

    Bought a few

    SapperGardener

    We bought 6 of these and all grew well. So well in fact we probably could have bought less, as we have successfully been splitting them each of the last two years. They are great for our fruit trees and chickens!

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  13. Question

    Michelle Sweetman

    I’m in zone 4a and have been told last frost is usually around June 1st here. What date range would you recommend for planting these here? Thanks!

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    • One person found this helpful
      Richo Cech

      Admin Richo Cech

      Hello Michelle,
      As soon as you can dig a hole and put some compost in it, put in the root and cover it up without having to deal with chunks of ice. Probably May 15th to June 15th, really the earlier the better. Currently shipping very large chunks, people are double-stoked. Richo

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  14. One person found this helpful

    Question

    Melissa

    Is this really only hardy zone 4-8? I read online that someone recommended this variety and was growing it in Florida zone 10. I am zone 9B, can provide adequate drainage, and am looking for a comfrey variety that will thrive here for a chop and drop mulch.

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    • One person found this helpful
      Richo Cech

      Admin Richo Cech

      The Russian Bocking 14 is probably the most widely adaptable. I have had feedback from Z9 folks that comfrey “melts” in the summer heat but have no doubt that under the right conditions it can make it even in tropical zones.

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    • angel

      Are you sure Bocking 14 doesn’t make any seeds? I’m thinking they make seeds, but the seeds are sterile. I’m definitely hoping that is the case since I got some claiming to be Bocking 14 and they are making seeds. Was looking to buy more but now I am cautious.

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    • Richo Cech

      Admin Richo Cech

      yes, i’m sure

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  15. One person found this helpful
    betsy

    everybody loves it

    betsy

    The bees love it. The deer poke their noses through the garden fence for snacks. I can chop at it indiscriminately and it grows back with the attitude of ‘is that all you got?’ And yes, be sure you put it where you want it the first time. One tiny bit of missed root during a dig out will make a new massive plant very quickly causing your significant other to ask ‘how many of these guys do we really need?’
    I make a comfrey/plantain salve with it every spring. I love it.

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  16. 3 out of 3 people found this helpful
    Connie Pugh

    Connie Pugh

    After planting root cuttings early last spring near my fruit trees, the comfrey took off quickly to become large, robust plants. All during summer and fall I continued to cut leaves back and the plants rapidly re-grew. I used the leaves I cut for comfrey tea to pour around the fruit tree drip line; for dried plants that I powdered and sprinkled into tomato planting holes; and chopped up in my compost pile.
    Even in our sustained high summer heat above 105 degrees for weeks at a time, as long as I gave the comfrey some water it continued to grow. Now comfrey is my favorite permaculture plant for my small orchard and I plan to buy more root cuttings this year.

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    • candace Burns (verified owner)

      Wow! These are GREAT root cuttings! Bought 2p and received 24. Within a week many were shooting up. Bought 5 from another seller. They were one inch long and after a month only one is finally shooting. Get your root cuttings from this seller. They give you your money’s worth.

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