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  • Comfrey: Your Compost Companion

    April 13, 2011
    by Briscoe White

    Once used as a medicinal herb, Comfrey has a new calling in your garden! Long-loved for its ability to help heal sprained or broken bones, sores and other ailments, Comfrey is one of the hottest green composting trends this season. Long, deep-reaching roots absorb nutrients that are found far below the depth that many other plants’ roots stretch to, and are then stored in the plants many, broad leaves. Yielding lots of large, nutrient-rich leaves from just a few plants, these energetic growers thrive in wet, shady areas and aren’t too picky about the type of soil they’re given. When firmly established, Comfrey leaves can be gathered repeatedly throughout the season, much like Basil.  The leaves break down quickly when harvested and can be added directly to your compost pile, to a sealed container and left to decompose to make a liquid fertilizer, or just scattered about your garden. Especially beneficial to tomatoes and fruiting plants, Comfrey can also improve the health of your houseplants when made into a compost tea. Comfrey is very high in Potassium and contains two to three times more than livestock manure which is commonly used as fertilizer. Go green and try adding Comfrey rather than manure to your garden, which will also reduce the risk of polluted runoff.

    Comfrey Compost Tea


    • Fresh Comfrey Leaves (as many as you want, or have room for!)
    • 1 5-Gallon Bucket with a Sealable Lid
    • A Brick, Rock or Broad, Heavy Object

    1) Fill your bucket with as many fresh Comfrey leaves as you would like

    2) Lay your brick or heavy object on top of the leaves to weigh them down. Compressing them will speed up the decomposition process and give you more “tea” in a very quick manner

    3) Seal the bucket tightly. If there is a spout on the bottom or side of the bucket, make sure it is sealed as well. (This can make pouring your compost tea a bit easier later on…think of it as the gardener’s version of a teapot)

    4) Some recipes call for water to be added to the leaves as well. You can add water if you would like, but this will dilute your tea, making it weaker, and it will also begin to smell really badly once the leaves break down. They can decompose on their own with less smell.

    5) Keep the bucket sealed for about six weeks or so to allow the leaves to fully break down.

    6) Drain off the dark brown liquid that has accumulated in the bottom of the bucket and you can add the rest of the leaves directly to your garden or compost pile to help activate the soil and encourage the health of your garden or houseplants.

    You can continue to “brew” your “tea” all season long to keep your plants healthy and happy!


    1. Glad to hear Comfrey has made a comeback! Combine it with Borage and you’ll have super compost. I’m a member of the Northern KY Herb Soc., so we are interested in all herbs and their uses.

      Posted by: Grace Weaver at October 18, 2011 10:00 pm

    2. We LOVE Comfrey here, Grace! What an all-around wonderful herb! Thanks for the tip on combining it with Borage, we’ll have to try that. We’d love to hear more about your herb society, too, and if you guys ever need any advice or growing info, please let us know!
      Thanks for the comment!

      Posted by: Briscoe White at October 19, 2011 5:04 pm

    3. There is noticeably a lot to know about this. I believe you made some nice points in features also.

      Posted by: My Homepage at December 9, 2011 6:55 am

    4. You’ve really impressed me with that answer!

      Posted by: Emeline at January 11, 2012 8:39 am

    5. i have used it for my cancer.

      Posted by: mary mcclintock at January 29, 2012 12:57 am

    6. Hi Mary! Although I’m very sorry to hear about your health, I am glad that you’ve found a natural remedy that your body will respond to. I’m very interested in how you’ve been able to use Comfrey for your cancer. How has it helped? Thank you so much for reading and for your feedback, we look forward to hearing more from you.

      Posted by: Briscoe White at January 30, 2012 2:54 pm

    7. I see Mary has used Comfry for cancer. My mom used this in our home to help cancer patients and people who had tumors and difficulty healing. Mom is deceased and I dont remember “how” she prepared the comfry. Id like to know if someone can speak on this from experience?

      Posted by: Lee Williams at March 12, 2013 4:58 pm

    8. I have a fractured heel due to an automobile accident 20 months ago. I would like to try
      comfrey to complete my healing. Can I use
      dry leaves to make a poultice or do I need to use fresh leaves? If I need to use fresh leaves can I grow them indoors successfully in the winter under lights? Or is there any place I can purchase the plant leaves in the winter. Does any body have any success stories using comfrey to heal themselves?

      Posted by: craig hayes at September 9, 2013 6:55 pm

    9. Hi All I read about comfrey in Maryjanes had a salve recipe and i lost it . if someone has it could you please send it to me. Thanks Rudy

      Posted by: Rudy Jensen at October 24, 2013 8:07 pm

    10. Hello, this is very interesting information regarding liquid compost. Can you tell me what the NPK numbers are for this fertilizer? Thanks.


      Posted by: Debbie Andrews at February 2, 2014 12:02 pm

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    1. [...] can comfrey benefit your other plants? Read our previous blog about comfrey’s amazing ability to activate your compost and fertilize your garden! Looking [...]

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