Is there an easy way to create a new plant of Symphytum orientale, white comfrey, at a different location by cutting a bit of stem or root?
Comfrey can be propagated by stem cuttings, however this requires a large amount of time and intensive care.
It is much quicker and easier to increase your population of this plant by digging up most of your existing plant/s and dividing the roots.
There are many demonstrations of this process on YouTube so it might be worth watching a couple of these.
In short, this is the process I followed recently and it worked perfectly...
- Using a fork, dig up the existing comfrey plant;
- Remove all soil from roots (by gently tapping or massaging the soil clod);
- Using secateurs or sharp scissors, remove all but the youngest leaves from all existing shoots;
- Using secateurs or sharp scissors, cut roots into pieces, with or without leaf shoots, about 2 inches / 5 centimetres length;
- Plant these cuttings horizontally into good potting mix to a covered depth of 1 inch / 2.5 centimetres. This is a task best undertaken in spring (or wet season in tropical areas). Use pots, seed trays or a Styrofoam box.
- Keep soil moist until the first leaves appear and plant out once the leaves are 4 inches / 10 centimetres tall.
I’ve added a photo to help identify which roots are suitable for successful and speedy propagation.
The roots marked with a green tick are perfect for propagation and will make for excellent cuttings.
The roots marked with an blue question mark are small and may or may not survive... longer lengths of these will help their chances... if you have the time, space and patience and don’t want to waste viable material, prepare the larger of these smaller roots for propagation also.