of All Russian Comfrey Cultivars
of Russian Comfrey (cultivars Bocking No. 1 through Bocking No. 21) are
botanically known as "Symphytum ◊ uplandicum" or "Symphytum
x uplandica". They all are a cross (natural hybrid, not GMO) between
rough comfrey and common comfrey.
They grow to 4 feet tall including the
Russian comfrey has purple, magenta-pink, red or blue (that fade to pink)
flowers. The seeds are not viable (sterile, will not grow). It has to be
reproduced by root and crown cuttings.
Russian Comfrey is very hardy. The foliage (leaves) can tolerate 15 degrees for short periods. The perennial roots can withstand temperatures as low as -40 degrees. It can survive in temperatures as hot as 120 degrees. Good in USDA Zones 3-9.
The powerful roots of Russian Comfrey Bocking #4 go down 8-10 feet. Bocking
#14 roots go down 6-8 feet. Both are good plants to use to break up hard
"I appreciate the excellent information on your
site; it was due to the extra information you posted that I chose to order
from you. I am especially keen on obtaining authentic Bocking 14s. The added
Potassium value of this cultivar is especially important because my soil
is very deficient in that." -Paul, Kalamazoo, Michigan
Comfrey is High in Protein
amount in dried comfrey is 20-30%. Most beans (legumes) are around 8-9%.
Soybeans are around 17%.
"I ordered comfrey roots, that I intend to use
for rabbits I am raising for food and for fertilizing later on. They have
come up beautifully and are looking very nice and healthy. Thanks for all
the info about comfrey on your site." -Cindy, Jacksboro, Tennessee
Comfrey is High in Biomass
Comfreys produce up to 100-120 tons per acre of leaf biomass (recently cut)
per year. This is about 12.4 tons of dried comfrey leaf per acre. This is
3 times the amount that True Comfrey produces.
Alfalfa yields 18 tons per
acre (just cut). Corn is 25 tons per acre before it is dried. Pasture grass
is 25 tons an acre.
The drawing to the left is Russian Comfrey from Lawrence Hills' book "Russian
Comfrey: A Hundred Tons an Acre".
Growth from Russian Comfrey
"I ordered comfrey roots from you last month. They arrived promptly and in great condition. I planted them as part of my espalier apple guilds. Now, every one is about a foot high, lovely green, and big enough to start plucking for green mulch around struggling tree collards in the guilds."
"They arrived the same day as another order of Bocking 14 comfrey from another company. The reason I ordered from two companies is this. The order from the other company didn't seem like it would ever arrive; after a month, I gave up and ordered from you."
"A few days later, I was surprised to see your order already in my mailbox.
Theirs arrived wilted; yours was fresh. Theirs didn't grow at all; yours
screamed out of the ground with amazing speed."
"Needless to say, I'll continue to buy from your website. I placed another comfrey order today to plant in my gogi and mulberry guilds. Next fall I'll order some sea kale to plant in my experimental asparagus, moringa, yarrow, basil, and low-chill stone fruit guild, as well as more comfrey for my grape guilds."
"Thanks for growing such fine plants to help make my brown thumb green." -Ginger, Peoria, Arizona
Comfrey to Livestock
farm should grow comfrey. Livestock love Russian comfrey.
If using comfrey to feed animals, there are several ways to do it. One is
to plant your roots where the animals can not reach them. Then cut all the
leaves and stalks off a few inches from the ground.
A sickle works well for this. Bring the leaves to the animals. Repeat in
a few weeks.
The photo to the left is a Toggenburg doe and doeling in my pasture with
comfrey #14 and other plants.
Grazing of Comfrey
way is to use rotational grazing. Plant comfrey in your pasture with other
plants. Let your animals in that pasture for a day, a few days or a week.
Stop them before they eat everything down too much. Then let your pasture
grow back and repeat.
Animals will weaken the comfrey plant if left with it all the time. They
love it too much.
This photo is from "Russian Comfrey: A Hundred Tons an Acre" by
Lawrence Hills. Horses love comfrey.
||Russian Comfrey #4 and
#14 Are Similar
#4 and #14 can be used as garden fertilizer, compost activator, mulch, medicine,
or be fed to animals as fodder.
Both reduce transplant shock of plants.
Put some leaves in the hole before you replant.
This photo is a Toggenburg goat eating some Russian Comfrey Bocking #14.
My goats like all types of comfrey.
and Your Garden
is more frequently used as a garden fertilizer because its stalks are a
little thinner than #4 so it decomposes faster. Bocking #4 is used more
as an animal fodder (feed). However, either variety can fulfill your needs
if you only want to grow one type. The differences between the two are small.
Leaves are wilted and then placed in a hole or trench to act as nutrition
for whatever is planted in the hole such as potatoes or a tomato plant.
"Thanks again for the Russian comfrey! Itís doing great!" -Richard, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
The second photo is from Richard.
"Hi there from Alaska! I bought five Bocking 14 roots from you 3 years ago, and they have done beautifully! I would like to order more. It is still frozen with several feet of snow on ground (mid-March).
We have somewhat of a maritime climate, usually plant our garden Memorial Day weekend, and have first frost mid to late September. We have a snow cover most of winter, often have a storm blow in with wind and rain. Then a high pressure system can come on, and the temperature to zero F. We have occasional dip in temperature to 10-20 below." -Debra, Girdwood, Alaska.
and Liquid Fertilizer
to use it is by making liquid fertilizer or compost tea. You put about 5
pounds of comfrey leaves in 7 gallons of water. If you want a lot of fertilizer,
use a 55 gallon barrel. Use a proportional amount of leaves. Cover with
a lid and let sit for 4-6 weeks. The liquid is used to fertilize your plants.
This photo is Russian Comfrey with frosty leaves. It is very frost hardy.
This photo is Russian Comfrey with frosty leaves. It is very frost hardy.
"I ordered 6 roots of Bocking 14 from you which are now just starting their 2nd season. They all look fabulous with impressive growth!!!! They are just starting to bloom now too in my zone 8 coastal WA orchard." -Sukey, Whidbey Island, Washington
the book "Comfrey Report: The Story of the World's Fastest Protein
Builder and Herbal Healer" by Lawrence Donegan Hills:
"There are two commercial strains-- the Webster and Stephenson. Bocking
No. 14- This is the dominant in the Stephenson strain, 80% to 90%. The
flower stems are slender and frequent and are entirely wingless. The flowers
are Imperial Purple 33/3 fading to Lilac Purple 031/3. The leaves are pointed,
slightly serrated at the edges and vary in proportion from 5 to 12 and 3
Hills: Expert on Russian Comfrey
photo to the left is Lawrence Hills who wrote several comfrey books that
are the authoritative works on the subject. He is the person who created
the natural hybrid Russian Comfrey, Bocking #1-#21. He is next to a comfrey
#14 to #4: Potassium
is high in potash (potassium). Dried leaves of Bocking #14 are 7.09%
potash. Bocking #4 is 5.04%. True Comfrey (Symphytum officinale) has 5.3%
Wilted Comfrey #14 has more than twice as much potash as farm manure and
30% more than compost.
(NPK) ratio of True Comfrey is 1.80-0.50-5.30.
In the chart to the left, fresh leaves of Comfrey #14 compares favorably
to farm yard manure in nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium.
and Drought Resistance
#14 Comfrey is more rust resistant. Rust is a fungal disease. Disease is
very rare in all comfrey.
Bocking #4 is more drought resistant than #14 because it has deeper roots.
Though both are very drought resistant because they have very deep roots.
Comfrey Roots for Planting
your own Russian Comfrey Bocking #14. Plant live roots any time the ground
is not frozen. The distance between roots is 2-3 feet in all directions.
The plant grows about 3 feet tall with the flower stalk growing a foot above
that. This variety has beautiful purple flowers. Very hardy.
Your order includes a flyer about how to take care of your comfrey plants.
Easy Order Page
Comfrey Bocking #14
$19 each for a root cutting. Shipping is $7 no matter how many you order.
You can order other types of comfrey too with no extra shipping.
roots will be crown cuttings with leaves trimmed off or a root cutting with
a bud that is ready to grow.