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Comfrey

The Bald GardenerThe Bald Gardener South West ScotlandPosts: 212
I've been thinking of growing some comfrey so I can use the leaves for feeding my plants.  I don't have a big garden so I figure I will not need a lot. I'm thinking one plant in a pot would suffice, pretty sure that's all I'd need.

Does anyone know if you can keep it in a plant pot as I've read conflicting articles and is there a specific cultivar (?) I should be looking to buy. Also, do garden centres sell it? I can't say I've ever seen it.  

As ever, thanks for any advice.
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  • FireFire LondonPosts: 14,091
    Hi, Boking 14 is a sterile version that cannot self-seed everywhere. If you know someone with some, you could just take a bit and it will spring up. What are your conflicting articles conflicting about?
  • The Bald GardenerThe Bald Gardener South West ScotlandPosts: 212
    Thanks, Fire. 
    Well, I've read that you can grow it in a plant pot and also that you can't. :|
    Both articles on the web. I may have a look through a couple of books I've read tomorrow on the off chance there is a mention of it, but it doesn't ring any bells. 

    My thinking is that as I only want it to chop leaves off it then it doesn't really matter if it is struggling in a pot, just as long as it grows. I don't need it to be 'pretty'. 
  • FireFire LondonPosts: 14,091
    I have recently planted it up in a narrow bed, out of the way.
  • The Bald GardenerThe Bald Gardener South West ScotlandPosts: 212
    Ideally that's what I'd do Fire, I just don't have the space to give over to it.
    Any space I have will be for colour. :)

    I might give it a go in a pot, see if I can track some down.
  • josusa47josusa47 Posts: 3,532
    edited June 2018
    If you're wanting it to make compost or liquid feed from it, there's no point having it in a pot.  Most annual plants are shallow rooted.  Comfrey gets its roots down deep and takes up nutrients, particularly potassium, thus making them available to plants which would otherwise not be able to reach them.  In a pot, you'd have to feed it, it would be pointless.  It's not a very decorative plant, but the flowers are good for feeding flying insects.  That would be the only sensible reason to grow comfrey in a pot.  But definitely get Bocking 14, or you'll have it every where.
  • The Bald GardenerThe Bald Gardener South West ScotlandPosts: 212
    I never thought about that @joshua47 That's a valid point you make, I'll have a wee think about where I could put it now. Thanks.  :)
  • wild edgeswild edges The north west of south east WalesPosts: 7,535
    josusa47 said:
    Most annual plants are shallow rooted.  Comfrey gets its roots down deep and takes up nutrients, particularly potassium, thus making them available to plants which would otherwise not be able to reach them. 
    I've been trying to find out how true that is as I've read conflicting advice. Some sources say that the deep roots don't do much except keep the plant alive in drought periods. The theory is that comfrey isn't a huge amount better than other plants in terms of storing nutrients in the leaves it just happens to be very productive in making large leaves which are good for the gardener to harvest. So if that's the case you still have to make sure the soil is fed around the comfrey to maximise it's worth.
    A great library has something in it to offend everybody.
  • Sandra100Sandra100 Posts: 130
    I've got 2 plants in pots, and they are huge!!
  • ThankthecatThankthecat North DevonPosts: 420
    I grow mine in an out-of-the-way bed to stop it spreading but to be honest, if I had the sterile variety, I'd grow it in the border. I think the flowers are really pretty and the leaves not much different to foxgloves, which I like. 
  • FireFire LondonPosts: 14,091
    WE, if you find out anything more definitive, about whether comfrey is particularly good, do let us know. Can the some question be asked of nettles - are they just used because they are easy to grow and easy to harvest regularly?
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