Forest herbaceous perennial plant Comfrey (Symphytum), is a representative of the Borage family. In nature, it can be found from the British Isles to the western regions of Asia. This genus unites about 20 species, but the typical species is the medicinal comfrey, which is also called the larkspur. The Latin name for such a plant comes from the Greek word translated as "connect" or "splicing". The fact is that comfrey has been used for a long time in the treatment of bone injuries. Even among the people, comfrey medicinal is called vis-grass, greasy root and bone breaker.
The large root system of comfrey has thick, branched roots and numerous processes. The outer surface of the roots is almost black, but inside they are juicy and have a white color, greasy to the touch. There is pubescence on the surface of straight thick shoots with spreading branches. Large alternate leaf plates are ovoid and pointed at the top. The upper leaf plates are practically sessile, while the lower ones are petiolate, and there is a rough pile on their surface. Bell-shaped flowers can be colored lilac, red or purple. They are part of the racemose inflorescence, which has the appearance of a one-sided curl that grows at the top of the stem. Over time, the flowers turn cream or blue. This plant blooms in May – July. The composition of the fruits includes 4 single-seeded nuts with a smooth surface, their ripening is observed in July – September.
In nature, comfrey prefers to grow on moist, nutritious soil. It can be found in river floodplains, along streams, and also in damp meadows.
Growing comfrey in the garden
For growing comfrey, you can choose both a well-lit and shaded area. However, it will grow best under the lacy shade of trees. When grown in open ground, this plant is considered quite aggressive, it actively grows and at the same time captures the territories in which other crops grow. This plant is undemanding to the composition of the soil, but it has been noticed that it grows poorly on heavy, dry or overly acidic soil.
Before proceeding with planting, the selected area is subjected to digging to the depth of the bayonet of the shovel, while organic matter must be added to the soil (for 1 square meter of the site from 5 to 6 kilograms of humus or compost). Sowing comfrey seeds is carried out in prepared grooves in spring or late autumn. The row spacing should be about 0.6 m. If you decide to sow in the spring, then the seed material must first be stratified. To do this, it is combined with moistened sand and placed on a refrigerator shelf designed for vegetables for 6-8 weeks.
If the sowing was carried out in the spring, then the first shoots should appear in 15–20 days, however, as a rule, they will be rather rare and uncooperative. But after the autumn sowing in spring, the seeds germinate together. In the first year of growth, only a basal leaf rosette is observed in the bush. And already from the second year flowering and fruiting are observed. Comfrey can be grown in the same place for three to four years.
Comfrey Garden Care
Such a herbaceous plant is undemanding to care for. Water it sparingly. However, during a prolonged drought or on hot days, make sure that the soil on the site does not dry out. Remember that there should always be order on a bed with comfrey, which means that you need to pull out weeds in a timely manner, and after each watering or rain, loosen the soil surface between the rows.
This plant does not particularly need feeding. However, it responds well to the introduction of organic matter into the soil, for example, a solution of bird droppings or mullein. This plant is highly resistant to frost, so it does not need shelter for the winter. In order to avoid overgrowth in the garden, such grass should be systematically mown.
Diseases and pests
Comfrey is very resistant to both harmful insects and various diseases. But if it is grown in very unfavorable conditions, then in extremely rare cases it can be affected by rust. As a rule, this herbaceous perennial is grown as a medicinal plant, and therefore experts do not advise using fungicidal preparations for its treatment. Instead, rusty bushes should be sprayed every half month with a solution consisting of 4 liters of water, 1 small spoonful of liquid soap, 1 aspirin tablet, and add 1 large spoonful of vegetable oil and soda to it. However, before proceeding with the processing, it is necessary to dig out all the heavily affected bushes and destroy them.
Plant a comfrey in the garden. Collection of flowers for the garden.
Types and varieties of comfrey with photos and names
Not a very large number of comfrey species are cultivated by gardeners, while some of them have both healing properties and a decorative appearance.
Comfrey rough (Symphytum asperum), or rough, or hard
Under natural conditions, this species can be found in the Caucasus, while it prefers to grow in meadows, forest edges, and also along the banks of mountain springs, streams and rivers. This species is widely cultivated as a fodder plant. On the surface of the foliage and shoots there is a hard pubescence, and the bushes are decorated with blue flowers.
Foreign comfrey (Symphytum peregrinum)
This species is considered a Caucasian endemic. Outwardly, the bush is very similar to rough comfrey, but its pubescence is less rigid. These two species have a lot of similarities and, most likely, that is why some experts believe that foreign comfrey is just a kind of hard comfrey.
Caucasian comfrey (Symphytum caucasicum)
This perennial long-rhizome plant reaches a height of about 100 cm. Flowers are deep blue, lush bloom is observed in June and July. This species also has a white-flowered garden form.
Large comfrey (Symphytum grandiflorum)
In nature, this plant is found in the Caucasus in mountainous mixed forests. There is no need to care for such a carpet-like shrub, its stems are about 0.3 m high. There is pubescence on the surface of the oval dark green leaf plates. Blooming is observed in May. Inflorescences of a tubular shape of a creamy yellow hue are part of the bundles. Popular varieties:
- Goldsmith - green leaf plates have edging, which is a greenish-creamy green strip.
- Hidcoal Blue - the height of a wide bush is about 0.4 m, the inflorescences are white-blue.
Comfrey tuberous (Symphytum tuberosum)
This species is native to the northwestern part of Turkey, the Pyrenees and the Balkans. Its underground rhizome is very powerful. The height of the bush is about 50 cm, in the first summer weeks, yellow flowers open on it.
Comfrey (Symphytum officinale)
This species has a short rhizome. It is widespread in Western Siberia, Central Asia, Eastern Europe and the Caucasus. Such a plant prefers to grow in the chernozem zone on moist soil. The height of the shoots is about 100 cm. The oblong large leaf plates appear winged. There is pubescence on the surface of foliage and shoots. The curls are composed of dark purple or pink flowers.
Hybrid comfrey (Symphytum x uplandicum), or variegatum comfrey
The height of such a perennial is about 0.45 m. In summer, the bush is decorated with tubular flowers, reaching 20 mm in diameter, they have a pink or blue color. This species has a high frost resistance, it is not afraid of a drop in air temperature to minus 23 degrees. But if the bushes are planted in a well-lit area, then burns may appear on the surface of their leaf plates.
Comfrey properties: benefits and harms
In comfrey, foliage is used to make soups and salads. The rhizome of such a plant has healing properties; it is harvested at the beginning of the spring period or in the fall. The rhizome contains tannins, mucus, gums, resins, allantoin, alkaloids, as well as other useful substances necessary for the human body. Means made on the basis of the rhizome of such a plant are distinguished by an astringent, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, enveloping and hemostatic effect. This plant is used in the treatment of gout, arthrosis, arthritis, bone tuberculosis and inflammation of the periosteum. In alternative medicine, compresses, baths, washing, tinctures of comfrey with alcohol and ointments are made from it, which are used in the treatment of skin diseases, wounds, fractures, bruises and ulcers. Infusion of rhizomes in milk helps with diseases of the lungs and kidneys, as well as inflammation of the oral mucosa. A decoction of rhizomes is used in the treatment of stomach ulcers, and the tincture is used for uterine tumors. Decoctions and ointments are suitable for external use.
Comfrey contains poisonous substances, in this regard, it must be used with great care and only under the supervision of the attending doctor. Comfrey-based preparations cannot be used during pregnancy, as well as for people who have individual intolerance. If you have no contraindications to the use of such a plant, then before using it for the first time, you still need to consult with a qualified specialist.
Description of Agapanthus
The birthplace of the appearance of Agapanthus is considered to be South and Central Africa. He is a representative of the Agapantov family.
The root system is shallow, wide, creeping, fleshy, most of it is concentrated quite close to the surface of the earth. The leaves are long, about 50-70 cm in length, linear, with a dark green color, forming a dense basal system.
In the periods between flowering, it continues to release new leaves, forming a kind of voluminous green bush.
By the beginning of the flowering period, strong, smooth, bare peduncles about 50 - 120 cm long grow from the center of the root system.A large round inflorescence with a diameter of up to 25 - 40 cm is formed at the end of the peduncle.Agapanthus flower has a funnel-shaped, bell-shaped shape, the color can be white, blue, blue, purple. Up to 100 buds can form in one inflorescence. Flowers grow from the top of the peduncle, each on its own stalk. The length of each flower in the inflorescence is 3 - 5 cm. The buds do not bloom at the same time, because of this Agapanthus has a blooming appearance for a rather long time, from July to October.
Agapanthus is often grown as a houseplant. At home, it has the property of absorbing heavy metals in the air, and also helps to cleanse the air from pathogenic and harmful microbes.
After the flowering season, a fruit is formed on the peduncle - a box with seeds.
The Agapanthus genus cannot boast of a variety of varieties; interesting hybrids can form when flowers are over-pollinated.
The most widespread varieties are African Agapanthus, bell-shaped, oriental and umbrella.
Frequently asked Questions
Can you plant rosemary in your garden?
Unfortunately, the shrub is sensitive to frost and is recommended as a pot plant. Having decided to plant it in the garden, you should ensure optimal soil conditions, watering, sunny location and good protection of the bushes for the winter. Its aroma makes it an excellent plant to plant along garden paths and near the porch.
What temperature does rosemary stand?
In climatic zones where the temperature does not drop below 10-15 degrees below zero, rosemary does not need protection. It should be placed near the south wall to provide protection from the wind and provide additional warmth.
Can you prune rosemary when you feel like it or when you need to wait for the right moment?
The plant naturally grows up to 90-120 cm in height and width. Collect fresh leaves as a culinary spice. Large pruning should be planned from early spring to mid-summer. Stems that are darker than young or woody should not be trimmed, they probably will not grow back. It should be remembered that the bush will never take the shape of a perfect ball, because in nature the plant grows upward. But you can get the bush to take on a more regular shape by pruning it correctly.
If leaving rosemary in a pot for wintering, should it be pruned to stimulate growth?
Early spring is a great time to prune almost any perennial plant. First, the dead stems, free of leaves, are removed, then the plant is given the desired shape. Very old stems do not need to be cut, they are unlikely to grow back. If the size and shape of the bush suits, pruning is not necessary.