Propagating Comfrey Through Root Division

Today we're taking a second look at root division, this time with the perennially-loved (see what I did there?) comfrey.

As we look at the comfrey plant, we see that its leaf is soft and tears easily. There is not much happening aboveground; even the comfrey flower doesn't call attention to itself. This all suggests that more is happening belowground than above, and that root division would be the best way to propagate more comfrey. So let's dig up a chunk and head over to our Plant Propagation Station.

Unlike taro, which had a lot of similarities with plant division, comfrey is a straightforward case of root division: we dig up a root, cut it into small pieces, and plant those pieces. Cut the root into 1-2" segments for planting. Even the thin bits of root can be planted and will grow. It does not matter that there are no leaves, nor does it matter that they will be planted more shallowly than they were before. Comfrey root can be propagated either in bags, individually, or 60-80 in one tray. As you can see in the video, we'll get about 15 new comfrey plants from that one initial plant! As you get to the top of the root, where some leaves may be growing, don't forget the Root-Shoot Ratio: trim those leaves back! 

For planting, use the same rule of thumb as for seeds and plant each root about twice as deep as its diameter. Within a month, you'll start to see shoots and by about two months they will be ready for transplant. Happy gardening!

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Studying Permaculture and Natural Building in Central America offers amazing opportunities to learn from indigenous cultures, rich natural patterns, and enormous diversity. Permaculture in Central America is representative of the edge effect or Edge Valuing Principle of Design. As one of the world’s centres of biodiversity, Guatemala attracts people from all over the world interested in learning through nature. Permaculture practices and can be seen in action via the surviving indigenous traditions that are common in Guatemala. Studying permaculture and natural building in Central America offers designers great opportunities to learn from diverse groups of people in incredibly diverse natural settings.