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Creeping Comfrey

Symphytum grandiflorum

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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Boraginaceae (Borage)
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
25 centimetres tall
Gardens, hedgerows, riverbanks, roadsides, woodland.

White, 5 petals
Reddish-pink flowers at first then later turning white or pale yellow. The sepal teeth are cut very deeply. This is the first Comfrey species to flower in the UK. The plant carries one-sided, nodding clusters of tubular flowers. The flowers open from buds which are flushed red. Pollinated by bees.
The fruit is small and insignificant. Its seeds ripen in June and July.
The UK's most frequently seen creeping and patch-forming species of Comfrey. It is a hairy perennial with large and crinkly, mid-green leaves. The leaves are rough to touch. They measure anything up to 10cm long.
Other Names:
Dwarf Comfrey, Ground Cover Comfrey, Large-flowered Comfrey, Russian Comfrey, The Great Comfrey.
Frequency (UK):
Occasionally seen  

Similar Species

Other Information


Symphytum grandiflorum, also known as the "great comfrey," is a species of flowering plant in the Boraginaceae family. It is native to Europe and Asia and has been introduced to other parts of the world as an ornamental plant. This species is known for its large, hairy leaves and clusters of bell-shaped flowers that can be purple, pink, or white. The plant is often used in traditional medicine and is known for its medicinal properties, including its ability to reduce inflammation and stimulate cell growth. It is also sometimes used in herbal remedies to treat wounds and broken bones.


Creeping Comfrey (Symphytum grandiflorum), also known as Russian Comfrey, is a popular herb that is widely used for its medicinal properties and as a fertilizer in organic gardening. Native to Russia and other parts of Europe, this hardy plant is known for its deep roots that can reach down to depths of 6 feet, making it an ideal plant for improving soil fertility and retaining moisture. In this blog, we will take a closer look at the benefits of growing Creeping Comfrey and how you can use it in your garden.

Medicinal Properties

Comfrey has been used for thousands of years for its medicinal properties and is still widely used today. The plant contains allantoin, a compound that has been shown to aid in the healing of wounds, fractures, and sprains. Comfrey is also known to have anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving effects, making it a popular choice for people with arthritis, gout, and other painful conditions.

Gardening Benefits

In addition to its medicinal properties, Creeping Comfrey is also an excellent plant for gardeners. The deep roots of the plant help to improve soil structure, retaining moisture and adding nutrients to the soil. Comfrey is also a great source of organic matter, and it is often used as a green manure. The plant is particularly effective at improving the fertility of heavy clay soils, helping to make the soil more workable and providing a better environment for plants to grow.

Growing Creeping Comfrey

Creeping Comfrey is easy to grow and requires little maintenance. It prefers a moist, well-drained soil and full sun to partial shade. The plant can be propagated from root cuttings, and it will quickly spread to form a dense mat of foliage. The plant is hardy and can withstand cold temperatures, making it a great choice for gardeners in cooler climates.

Using Creeping Comfrey in the Garden

Creeping Comfrey is an excellent plant for adding organic matter and nutrients to the soil. It is best used as a green manure, and it can be cut down and left to rot into the soil, adding nutrients to the soil and improving soil structure. Comfrey is also a great companion plant for vegetables, providing them with the nutrients they need to grow healthy and strong.

Creeping Comfrey is a versatile and useful plant that is well worth growing in your garden. Its medicinal properties, deep roots, and ability to improve soil fertility make it an excellent choice for gardeners and those looking for a natural way to improve their health. Whether you're using it for its medicinal properties or for gardening purposes, Creeping Comfrey is a plant that will provide you with many benefits for years to come.

In addition to its use in gardens, Creeping Comfrey has also been used in permaculture and regenerative agriculture practices. The deep roots of the plant help to aerate the soil and break up compacted soil, making it an excellent choice for regenerating degraded land.

Comfrey is also an important plant for pollinators, and it attracts a variety of bees, butterflies, and other insects to your garden. The large, showy flowers of the plant are rich in nectar and provide a valuable source of food for pollinators, making it an important plant for supporting local ecosystems.

It's important to note, however, that all parts of the Comfrey plant are toxic if ingested, so it is not recommended for use in areas where livestock or children may be present. In addition, some varieties of Comfrey contain alkaloids that can be harmful if used in large quantities, so it's important to research the variety you plan to grow and use caution when handling the plant.

When growing Creeping Comfrey, it's important to give the plant plenty of room to spread. The plant will quickly colonize an area, so it's best to plant it in a designated area or in a large pot where it can be contained. Regular pruning will help to keep the plant under control and prevent it from spreading too much.

Another use for Creeping Comfrey is as a liquid fertilizer. The plant is rich in nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, and it can be used to make a nutrient-rich fertilizer that can be easily absorbed by plants. Simply chop up some fresh Comfrey leaves and let them soak in water for a few weeks, creating a nutrient-rich "tea" that can be watered onto the soil or sprayed directly onto the leaves of your plants. This liquid fertilizer is an excellent way to boost the health and growth of your plants and can be used on a wide range of plants, from vegetables and fruits to flowers and shrubs.

Comfrey is also an excellent plant for improving soil health and can be used in a crop rotation system. When used as a green manure, it can help to fix nitrogen in the soil and provide a rich source of organic matter, making it an excellent choice for improving soil fertility. When used in crop rotation, it can help to break up disease cycles and prevent soil-borne diseases from becoming a problem in your garden.

In addition to its many uses in the garden, Creeping Comfrey has also been used in herbal medicine for centuries. The plant has been used to treat a wide range of conditions, from skin conditions and wounds to digestive problems and respiratory issues. It is also used as a natural remedy for joint pain and inflammation, and it has been used to help soothe the pain and discomfort of arthritis, gout, and other painful conditions.

Finally, Creeping Comfrey is an attractive plant that adds beauty to your garden. With its large, showy flowers and lush green foliage, it is an excellent choice for adding color and texture to your garden. Whether used in a mixed border, as a groundcover, or as a specimen plant, Comfrey is sure to add beauty and interest to your garden for many years to come.

In conclusion, Creeping Comfrey is a valuable and versatile plant that has many benefits for gardeners and herbalists alike. With its deep roots, attractive flowers, and ability to improve soil health, this hardy herb is a must-have for anyone looking to create a thriving and sustainable garden. So why not give Creeping Comfrey a try today and see for yourself the many benefits this amazing plant has to offer!


Creeping Comfrey filmed in Rivington, Lancashire on the 5th March 2023.


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