If your comfrey is destined for containers, please see our guide to growing comfrey in pots.
Once your comfrey cuttings have started to produce new growth, you can plant them out into their permanent bed.
If you have a choice of locations and are not sure about where best to plant your comfrey, see our guide to locating comfrey.
Planting out your comfrey is quick and easy. Your site should already be prepared – weed-free, and ideally with some organic matter such as well-rotted manure, compost, or leaf-mould dug-in.
Best time of year to plant comfrey
You can plant out comfrey at any time of year except December or January (in the UK). The ideal time is from March to May, which gives your plants a better start due to the soil being a little warmer and the days longer, and they will have the full growing season to establish. We recommend letting your plants flower in their first year, and taking a single cut in the autumn – see our guide to harvesting comfrey for more information.
September is the latest time of year we recommend planting comfrey out. It leaves sufficient time for the roots to settle in and some new growth to emerge. Do not harvest any growth – the leaves will die back naturally and provide a small amount of feed for the plant.
Planting young comfrey plants
Plants should be situated at least 2 feet (60cm) apart, and ideally 3 feet (90cm) in ideal conditions. If you’re planting more than a single row, plant in a grid – i.e. the same distance between plants and rows.
Dig a small hole, remove a comfrey plant from its pot, and plant to a depth that at least matches the pot soil line. It is better to plant slightly deeper – if there’s still a risk of frost the plants may lift, and if planted too shallowly may not establish successfully.
Fill around the plant, lightly compress the soil, and apply a top dressing of manure or other nitrogen-rich feed. Water well, and keep the bed watered until the plants are growing well.
Direct planting comfrey cuttings
Although we recommend potting comfrey cuttings and growing on before planting out, you can successfully direct-plant cuttings. Crown cuttings are more reliable, but with care and at the right time of year all cuttings will grow well.
Prepare your bed as above. Planting distance should be the same as for young plants – 2-3 feet (60-90 cm) apart, in a grid.
Bury root cuttings at a depth of 1½-2 inches (4-6 cm), and mark the location so you know where they are. Top-dress with manure or other organic matter, water well, and keep the soil surface moist. New growth should start to emerge within 40 days at the latest – in late spring / early summer it may only be a week.
Plant crown cuttings so that the growing tip is just below the soil surface. Top-dress with manure or other organic matter, water well, and keep the soil surface moist. New growth should start to emerge within 20 days at the latest – in late spring / early summer it may only be a few days.
Caring for comfrey
See our guide to caring for comfrey for information about feeding and nurturing your plants.