Thursday, 7 July 2016

Symphytum grandiflorum/Dwarf comfrey.

Symphytum grandiflorum | Green Light Plants
There are 35 species of Symphytum.
It is a perennial herb and can have blue, pink, white or yellow flowers that are bell-shaped or tubular.
The broad hairy leaves are generally green but there are variegated types, such as S. x uplandicum 'Variegatum' Award of Garden Merit (AGM) which has creamy variegations.
Growing tips
Symphytum will grow eagerly as long as you can provide some shade and moisture (a hedge bottom, a ditch or under a deciduous tree in moist soil would be ideal). Cut down the stem quickly after flowering to promote a second flush and to limit self-seeding. Remember, only plant S. ibericum or grandiflorum cultivars - the ones with the yellow-edgd flowers - if you want to cover whole tracts of the garden.
Where to buy
- The Cottage Herbery, Mill House, Boraston near Tenbury Wells, Worcestershire WR15 8LZ (01584 781575). Send four second-class stamps to receive seeds.
- Bernwode Plants, Kingswood Lane, Ludgershall, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire HP18 9RB (01844 237415). Send £2 for a catalogue

- Symphytum orientale/white comfrey
- a lovely wine-red comfrey called 'Romanian Red'
- But, remember, if there is a hint of tobacco-stained edge on that flower, walk away.
The plants spread far too quickly. Removing them from a flower bed, once the mistake was realised, was an impossibility - they grew back from tiny pieces of root and self-seeded vigorously.

In focus: comfrey - Telegraph

- To make a compost tea from comfrey (Symphytum officinale usually, but S. asperum and S. x uplandicum have similar properties) pack a water butt with leaves and steep in the water until it has digested and cogitated.
There will be an unholy smell but this is the price you pay for getting liquid fertiliser, rich in nitrogen, potassium, phosphorous and calcium.

Symphytum | Horticulture Week

S. asperum has branching stems and drooping clusters of ruby-red buds, which open to display intense gentian-blue flowers. Height 91 cm.

S. azureum has bright blue flowers in early summer. Height 45cm and spread 75cm.

S. caucasicum Award of Garden Merit (AGM) has grey-green pointed leaves and clusters of sky-blue tubular flowers, on arching stems. Height 61cm.

S. cordatum is a neat, clump-forming species with heart-shaped foliage and clusters of pale-yellow bells in spring. Height 20cm.

S. 'Goldsmith' has creamy-yellow bordered green leaves with pale blue flowers in May and June. Height 45cm.

S. grandiflorum forms a mound of dark green leaves and has cream flowers which appear in April. Height 50cm.

S. 'Hidcote Blue' forms excellent ground cover, smothering weeds in its path. It has branching stems that bear red buds, which open to reveal blue and white tubular flowers. Height 45 cm.

S. 'Hidcote Pink' is similar to 'Hidcote Blue' but bears pink and white flowers. Height 45cm.

S. ibericum has burnt-orange buds that open to reveal creamy-yellow bell-shaped flowers in spring. Height 30 cm.

S. ibericum 'All Gold' has large leaves that are yellow when young and gradually mature to green. Branched stems carry lilac tubular flowers in early to mid summer. Height 45 cm.

S. ibericum 'Blaueglocken' forms spreading clumps of heavily veined leaves. It has upright branching stems that bear coral-red buds, which open to reveal narrow tubular flowers of light blue in May-June. Height 38 cm.

S. ibericum 'Wisley Blue' has red buds and then pale cream and blue flowers in April and May. Height 20cm and spread 30cm.

S. 'Lambrook Sunrise' produces mounds of yellow foliage with blue flowers in spring and early summer. Looks particularly attractive under deciduous trees and in other shady places. Height 75cm.

S. officinale is common comfrey, the species most usually grown to provide green manure.

S. 'Rubrum' has dark-green leaves and red flowers from May to July. Cut back spreading shoots to the core of the plant after flowering to prevent it taking over. Height 30cm.

S. tuberosum is a clump-forming species. It produces pale-yellow bells on branched stems in spring and summer. Height 45cm.

S. x uplandicum is Russian comfrey, with large leaves and blue flowers. One of the favourites for making green manure.

S. x uplandicum 'Axminster Gold' has golden variegated foliage. Its flowers are on tall stems, but look insignificant, so it is recommended they are cut down to show off the leaves.

S. x uplandicum 'Bocking 14' is the sterile form of Russian comfrey bred for organic gardeners. Stock can be increased from root cuttings.

S. x uplandicum 'Moorland Heather' was a chance seedling found at Moorland Cottage Plants in South Wales. It has striking dark violet flowers from April through to June.

S. x uplandicum 'Variegatum' AGM has green and white variegated leaves and purply-pink flowers in the summer. An erect, clump-forming type. Height 90cm.

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