Caring for comfrey

Once established, comfrey is an easy plant to care for. It has 3 basic requirements:


Comfrey is somewhat drought-tolerant, but beds with young plants should not be without water for more than 3-4 days, especially in hot, dry weather.

Over-watering is not a major issue for comfrey in beds. In pots, allow the soil to dry out somewhat before watering. The signs of over-watering pot-grown comfrey is a lightening and yellowing of leaves.

Feed (nitrogen)

Comfrey’s rapid growth potential signals its nitrogen-greediness. To get the most from your comfrey patch, feed it regularly and liberally with animal manure.

This should be applied as a top-dressing around the plants, as a mulch or lightly dug-in.

The manure can be somewhat ‘hot’, but not fresh unless it’s the dormant season. Well-rotted cattle or equine manure mixed with poultry manure is the best food for comfrey.

Over-winter we apply a deep mulch of fresh manure covering the beds completely.

If you do not have a ready supply of manure there are alternatives:

  • A mulch of grass clippings. We use grass clippings in early summer – they provide an effective nitrogen source, retain moisture, and act as a weed-suppressant. Apply several inches deep, and dig-in lightly. You can repeat this weekly if the weather and conditions are favourable.
  • Leafmould – making your own leafmould is easy, and in most places leaves are readily available in the autumn.
  • Home-made compost – will provide many of the same benefits.
  • A commercial feed, such as growmore or equivalent. This is a last resort – if like most growers you’re growing comfrey to make feed, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to buy a product to feed your comfrey.

Regular cutting

Mature plants should be cut at least twice per growing season to keep them healthy. See our guide to harvesting comfrey for more information.