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Herbaceous Perennial

Symphytum officinale

common comfrey

S. officinale is a robust, rather invasive perennial forming a clump of erect stems bearing elliptic leaves to 25cm in length, and terminal clusters of nodding, tubular bell-shaped, purple, pink or cream flowers 2cm in length in late spring and summer

Other common names
alum
backwort
see moreblack root
blackwort
Bohemian comfrey
bone-set
comfrey consound
gum plant
knit-back
bruisewort [3]
healing herb [2]
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Size
Ultimate height
1–1.5 metres
Time to ultimate height
2–5 years
Ultimate spread
1–1.5 metres
Growing conditions
Chalk
Clay
Loam
Sand
Moisture
Moist but well–drained, Poorly–drained
pH
Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Colour & scent
StemFlowerFoliageFruit
Spring Cream Pink Purple Green
Summer Cream Pink Purple Green
Autumn
Winter
Position
  • Full sun
  • Partial shade
Aspect

South–facing or North–facing or West–facing or East–facing

Exposure
Exposed or Sheltered
Hardiness
H7
Botanical details
Family
Boraginaceae
Native to the UK
Yes
Foliage
Deciduous
Potentially harmful
Ingestion may cause severe discomfort. Wear gloves and wash hands after handling
Genus

Symphytum are rhizomatous herbaceous perennials, sometimes invasive, with large leaves and nodding clusters of tubular flowers

Name status

Correct

Plant range
Europe & temperate Asia

How to grow

Cultivation

Grow in moderately fertile, moist soil in sun or partial shade. Makes good groundcover but can become invasive, so site with care

Propagation

Propagate by division of fleshy roots in spring. Propagate by root cuttings in early winter. Propagate by seed sown in pots in a cold frame in autumn or spring

Suggested planting locations and garden types
  • Wildlife gardens
  • Wildflower meadow
  • Low Maintenance
  • Underplanting of roses and shrubs
Pruning

Cut back after flowering to encourage neat, young foliage

Pests

Generally pest free

Diseases

Generally disease free

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