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I am just starting my garden and wanted to grow some comfrey for comfrey tea to use on plants. I have dogs and chickens. I have searched around and medicinally there seems to be some controversy about its toxicity. Is it safe to grow around pets?



  • Hi Jocelyn image

    As far as I am aware unless a dog (or human) eats large amounts of comfrey there shouldn't be a problem.  I've certainly known dogs living on farms and in gardens where comfrey grew in large amounts and haven't known of any incidents of them being unwell. 

    Unless you have a dog with very odd behaviours I wouldn't be concerned about growing comfrey - some young labrador-types will eat anything and everything, but if you had one of those you'd be keeping any eye on it when it was in the garden or you wouldn't have a garden left!

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • Busy-LizzieBusy-Lizzie Posts: 23,159

    I have a bed of comfrey and my dog ignores it. Pretty when in flower and good for the compost heap.

    Dordogne and Norfolk. Clay in Dordogne, sandy in Norfolk.
  • Alan4711Alan4711 Posts: 1,657

    In case you're not familiar with comfrey (Symphytum officinale), it's a member of the borage family, a strong-growing perennial with somewhat hairy leaves 12 to 18 inches long, rising on short stems from a central crown. The flower is a pretty blue bell, fading to pink. We don't wait to see the blossoms, however, because the foliage is at its best if cut before blooming time. The plant reaches a height of over two feet and spreads to more than a yard across, but — since comfrey doesn't throw out creeping roots and hardly ever sets seed — it's remarkably non-invasive for such a sturdy being. this is from.

    Read more: Kp6 I use it by the ton (almost ) however I personally have found it can spread so iv restricted mine, would not be without it and free food for ever. I only use miracle grow indoors due to the smell of Comfrey T

    good luck

  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 29,854

    My comfrey has cream flowers with a purple tinge at the edges and spreads very easily so I always have spares for the compost heap and flwoers for the insects which love it.   I have never had problems with either cats or dogs and comfrey.

    Vendée - 20kms from Atlantic coast.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • The reason comfrey is so full of nutrients is that its tap roots go well down into the sub-soil (a metre or more) and extract minerals from that, something most herbaceous plants cant do as the majority only send roots into the topsoil.  I have several 'stands' of comfrey so I can crop them at different times - it's fantastic stuff and the bees love it. image

    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • Busy-LizzieBusy-Lizzie Posts: 23,159

    My comfrey never grows over 2 feet, whether it's cut or not. I've never seen a comfrey of 6 feet, wonder what variety Edd is talking about.

    Dordogne and Norfolk. Clay in Dordogne, sandy in Norfolk.
  • nutcutletnutcutlet Posts: 27,361

    My Symphytum officinalis is 5 or 6 foot tall before it falls over.

    Then I have a blue one that's 2 foot or so and a ground covering one at about 1 foot.


    There are a great many species/varietes/cultivars

    In the sticks near Peterborough
  • If you make comfrey food without water it dosnt smell

  • only if you were to eat to much of it,it is used for feeds for plants and in the old medical herbal recipes ,the only thing to watch its hairy stems irate the skin.

  • Thank you so much for the info. I am just planning my garden, so I have no compost started and need something I can grow and nourish my plants while that gets going. I was more worried for the chickens than the dogs, but both seem to get into whatever I want to keep them out of. I have not seen the dogs eat anything other than grass, but the chickens will eat almost anything! I do have a spot I can keep them out of though. I appreciate everyone's advise! Thanks you so much

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