Growing comfrey from crown cuttings

Cultivating crown cuttings is the quickest, most reliable of obtaining and growing comfrey Bocking 14. They will take within a week, and should produce a reasonable harvestable crop within 18 months.

Crown cuttings (or crown-sets) are sections of a comfrey plant taken from the crown – the top-most part of the plant. They will comprise of a segment of root with one or more strong buds or leaves.

Our standard comfrey crown cuttings pack contains 5 crowns, with an average weight-per-crown of 16g.

You have two options for growing from crown cuttings: bringing on in pots then planting out or into larger pots once estalished, or planting directly into permanent beds. We highly recommend the first option if at all possible, especially in spring and autumn – it’s more reliable, since you can more easily control factors such as moisture, pests, and biosecurity.

Bringing on in pots

  1. You’ll need one pot per cutting. Pots should be at least 3 inches in diameter, with at least 4 inches of depth, and ideally 6 inches.
  2. Fill pots with a mixture of soil and compost. As they grow your plants will benefit from a nitrogen feed of some kind, so adding in a small amount of growmore or other nitrogen-release fertiliser at this stage is fine.
  3. Plant crown cuttings so that the buds are pointing upwards, and situated just below the surface of the soil level. If the crown cutting has a large leaf section, plant so that the leaf growth starts just below the surface. Be aware that this leaf growth may die back before you see any new growth – this is normal.
  4. In autumn and spring, keep pots frost-free – ideally in a greenhouse or polytunnel, or on a window-sill. In summer, pots can be kept outside, but beware them becoming water-logged in poor weather, which will check the growth or even kill the comfrey. Do not be alarmed if any existing leaf growth seems to die back – comfrey is a hardy plant and actually feeds on its decomposing leaves, even at this stage.
  5. Water well when the surface of the pot is dry. Comfrey is very tolerant of both dry and wet conditions, but will grow best when the growing medium is kept moist.
  6. The cuttings should take within a week, and show good new growth within 3 weeks. Not all of your comfrey crown cuttings will grow at the same rate.
    If any of your cutting do not grow, please contact us – we offer free replacements for any cuttings that fail.

Once there is good new growth, with at least two leaves fully opened, you have three options:

  1. Plant into larger pots to bring on further before planting out
  2. Plant out into permanent beds
  3. Plant into large pots as a permanent home