Author Topic: Growing Comfrey in heavy shade  (Read 375 times)

davholla

  • Hectare
  • *****
  • Posts: 793
Growing Comfrey in heavy shade
« on: August 20, 2019, 14:16:43 »
In November I will be moving some Gooseberries because it is too shady for them.  According to the Bumblebees  conservation trust, comfrey is a good plant for bumblebees in shade but everything I can find on how to grow comfrey says it needs good sun.
Can it cope with heavy shade?  What is the best way to grow it?
I have noticed that snowdrops in this area take 3 weeks longer to flower than in full sun.

Allotments 4 All

Growing Comfrey in heavy shade
« on: August 20, 2019, 14:16:43 »

Obelixx

  • Hectare
  • *****
  • Posts: 2,246
  • Vendée, France
Re: Growing Comfrey in heavy shade
« Reply #1 on: August 20, 2019, 17:17:07 »
I have a gardening friend in Belgium whose garden is heavily shaded by trees and she used comfrey - a creamy yellow flowered version - as ground cover around her tree trunks.  If you can enrich the soil so they have good fertility and moisture retention to get them going I'm sure yours will do fine, if a bit later to flower than they would be in sun.  Have to say hers never looked as tatty as mine did later in the season in full sun.
Obxx - Vendée France

Deb P

  • Hectare
  • *****
  • Posts: 4,431
  • Still digging it....
Re: Growing Comfrey in heavy shade
« Reply #2 on: August 21, 2019, 12:20:06 »
I also crow abundant cream flowered comfrey in dry shade beneath a hedge and trees and it is very resilient and looks great in Spring when in flower. I mow it and put the shredding under roses...
If it's not pouring with rain, I'm either in the garden or at the lottie!

http://www.littleoverlaneallotments.org.uk

Obelixx

  • Hectare
  • *****
  • Posts: 2,246
  • Vendée, France
Re: Growing Comfrey in heavy shade
« Reply #3 on: August 21, 2019, 14:27:07 »
Mowing it is a brilliant idea!   I shall move mine to a mowable spot this autumn.
Obxx - Vendée France

davholla

  • Hectare
  • *****
  • Posts: 793
Re: Growing Comfrey in heavy shade
« Reply #4 on: August 21, 2019, 14:34:09 »
How did you all plant it?  As plants or seeds?  When etc?

Deb P

  • Hectare
  • *****
  • Posts: 4,431
  • Still digging it....
Re: Growing Comfrey in heavy shade
« Reply #5 on: August 22, 2019, 15:20:45 »
I think I bought about three small plants and it just spread on its own! The roots are easily dig up where you don’t want it but it does like to wander! Mine only grows to about a max of 8” high and has pretty cream flowers.
If it's not pouring with rain, I'm either in the garden or at the lottie!

http://www.littleoverlaneallotments.org.uk

Obelixx

  • Hectare
  • *****
  • Posts: 2,246
  • Vendée, France
Re: Growing Comfrey in heavy shade
« Reply #6 on: August 22, 2019, 20:35:53 »
Always plants for me too.   It spreads with gay abandon when happy but is easy enough to pull up and great on the compost heap or made into a tea - foul smelling so use a bucket/bin with a lid!!!
Obxx - Vendée France

ACE

  • Hectare
  • *****
  • Posts: 6,826
Re: Growing Comfrey in heavy shade
« Reply #7 on: August 23, 2019, 11:15:18 »
Think about it, do you really want to plant this plague on your allotment.

Obelixx

  • Hectare
  • *****
  • Posts: 2,246
  • Vendée, France
Re: Growing Comfrey in heavy shade
« Reply #8 on: August 23, 2019, 12:27:40 »
Yes, if it's containable.   Best feed for roses and tomatoes and, no doubt, clematis so essential.
Obxx - Vendée France

ACE

  • Hectare
  • *****
  • Posts: 6,826
Re: Growing Comfrey in heavy shade
« Reply #9 on: August 23, 2019, 13:35:33 »
Downright cruel if you ask me. davholla  you will agree is a novice with gardening, nothing wrong with that we all have to start somewhere and if we can help why not. But to encourage somebody to grow a thug of a weed like Comfrey is not really on. This is not for fertiliser it is for bees. Plenty of nicer plants for that  and even if he did want to make a brew I would suggest borage, same stuff but an annual and easier to manage. I took over an allotment last year from somebody who had all the gear, no idea and I should think it will be at least 5 years before I get rid of the scourge of comfrey.

Obelixx

  • Hectare
  • *****
  • Posts: 2,246
  • Vendée, France
Re: Growing Comfrey in heavy shade
« Reply #10 on: August 23, 2019, 14:46:09 »
OK.  I'd missed the bee friendly requirment and yes, comfrey is a thug and needs to be contained.

The GW magazine site offers this list for all year nectar for bees - https://www.gardenersworld.com/plants/plants-for-bees/ and the RHS offers an even bigger list https://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/pdfs/plants-for-bees.pdf but not all are good in shade.  However, a mahonia would be good for winter and will do well in shade then maybe snowdrops, grape hyacinth, pulmonaria, digitalis and astilbe for a succession of nectar.
Obxx - Vendée France

 

anything