Symphytum grandiflorum
Common Name: comfrey 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Boraginaceae
Native Range: Europe, Caucasus
Zone: 5 to 8
Height: 1.00 to 1.50 feet
Spread: 1.50 to 2.00 feet
Bloom Time: May to June
Bloom Description: Creamy yellow to white
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Naturalize
Flower: Showy
Tolerate: Deer, Drought


Easily grown in average, medium, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Best in moist, organically rich soils in part shade, but has respectable drought tolerance and can do reasonably well in dryish, shady locations. Tolerates close to full shade. Comfrey can spread aggressively by creeping rhizomes. Moreover, once planted, comfrey can be very difficult to dig out because any small section of root left behind can sprout a new plant. Easily propagated by root cuttings or division. Trim foliage as needed to shape plant. Cutting back stems promptly after flowering may encourage a rebloom.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Symphytum grandiflorum, commonly called comfrey or large-flowered comfrey, is generally a coarse, hairy, rhizomatous perennial that is typically grown in borders and shade gardens for its dense attractive foliage and its spring flowers. It typically forms a low-spreading foliage clump to 18” tall consisting of both ascending flowering stems and decumbent sterile stems. Crinkled, elliptic to ovate, medium to dark green leaves grow to 7” long on decumbent stems but to only 2” long on flowering stems. Tubular, bluebell-like, creamy yellow to white flowers appear in drooping clusters (scorpiod cymes) in mid-spring to early summer.

Genus name comes from the Greek words symphyo meaning to grow together and phyton for plant as the plant was believed to help heal wounds.

Specific epithet means large-flowered.


No serious insect or disease problems. Slugs and snails may attack the foliage.


Borders. Naturalize in woodland gardens, shade gardens, cottage gardens or wildflower meadows where plants can form an attractive ground cover over time.