Variegated Comfrey Symphytum 'Goldsmith' (v)

☠ Toxic to humans
🐾 Toxic to pets
🌸 Not blooming
🍪 Not edible
‍🌱 Easy-care
comfrey 'Goldsmith'


Symphytum 'Goldsmith' (v), commonly known as comfrey, is recognized for its vibrant foliage and appealing blooms. The leaves of this plant present a rich tapestry of colors, often showcasing a blend of green with bright golden or yellow-edged variegation that brings a splash of luminance to gardens. Comfrey's foliage can be broad and lance-shaped, providing a lush, textured backdrop for its flowers. The flowering aspect of this comfrey is also a sight to behold, as it produces clusters of bell-shaped flowers. The blossoms tend to be arranged in curls or coils at the top of the flowering stems, and their color can range from delicate pastels to more vibrant blues or purples, lending a soft but striking contrast to the golden-toned leaves. Comfrey is known for its robust and hardy nature, offering both aesthetic charm and functional benefits to gardeners. It's a plant that is often appreciated for its ability to withstand various conditions while providing a continuous display of color and form. Despite the absence of details regarding its size, comfrey's ornamental appeal is evident in its striking foliage and dainty flowers that together create a compelling visage in any horticultural collection.

Plant Info
Common Problems

About this plant

  • memoNames

    • Family


    • Synonyms

      Goldsmith Comfrey, Variegated Comfrey

    • Common names

      Symphytum 'Goldsmith' (v)

  • skullToxicity

    • To humans

      Symphytum 'Goldsmith' is a cultivar of comfrey. Comfrey contains pyrrolizidine alkaloids, which are toxic to humans. If ingested, these compounds can cause liver damage, lung damage, and potentially form tumors over time. Symptoms of poisoning may include nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and progressive liver disease. Chronic exposure to comfrey through consumption can lead to severe liver damage and is potentially life-threatening.

    • To pets

      Comfrey is also toxic to pets, including dogs and cats, due to the same pyrrolizidine alkaloids present in the plant. Symptoms of comfrey poisoning in pets may include vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, signs of liver failure, and in severe cases, ascites (fluid accumulation in the abdomen). Long-term ingestion can lead to severe and potentially fatal liver damage. If you suspect your pet has consumed comfrey, prompt veterinary attention is essential.

  • infoCharacteristics

    • Life cycle


    • Foliage type


    • Color of leaves


    • Flower color


    • Height

      2 feet [60 cm]

    • Spread

      2 feet [60 cm]

    • Plant type


    • Hardiness zones


    • Native area



  • money-bagGeneral Benefits

    • Attracts Wildlife: Symphytum 'Goldsmith', commonly known as comfrey, is beneficial for attracting bees and other beneficial insects to the garden, providing a source of nectar and pollen.
    • Soil Improvement: Comfrey has deep roots which help to mine nutrients from the soil, making those nutrients available when the leaves decompose and are used as mulch or compost.
    • Fertilizer Production: Comfrey leaves are high in nitrogen, potassium, and other minerals, making it excellent for creating a natural, homemade fertilizer when used in compost or as a mulch.
    • Erosion Control: The robust root system of comfrey helps to stabilize soil and prevent erosion, making it useful for planting on slopes or areas prone to soil degradation.
    • Drought Tolerance: Once established, comfrey is fairly drought-tolerant, requiring minimal watering and maintenance.
    • Livestock Feed: Comfrey can be used as a nutritious feed for livestock such as chickens and pigs. It should, however, be used with caution due to certain compounds it contains.
    • Permaculture Applications: Comfrey is a popular plant in permaculture gardens due to its multifunctional roles, from building soil fertility to creating beneficial guilds with other plants.
    • Garden Aesthetic: With its vibrant green foliage and attractive flowers, comfrey can enhance the visual appeal of landscape designs and garden spaces.
    • Rapid Growth: Comfrey grows quickly, meaning it can swiftly cover bare areas in garden beds, providing lush foliage and suppressing weed growth.
    • Low Maintenance: Comfrey requires very little care once it is established, making it an excellent plant for gardeners looking for low-maintenance options.

  • medicalMedical Properties

    This plant is not used for medical purposes.

  • windAir-purifying Qualities

    This plant is not specifically known for air purifying qualities.

  • leavesOther Uses

    • Comfrey ('Goldsmith') can be used as a green mulch in gardens; its leaves decompose quickly and enrich the soil with nutrients.
    • The decayed leaves of Comfrey ('Goldsmith') provide a habitat and food source for beneficial garden organisms like earthworms and soil microbes.
    • Gardeners sometimes use Comfrey ('Goldsmith') leaves to line planting holes for new plants to provide a nutrient-rich environment to support plant growth.
    • Comfrey ('Goldsmith') can be placed in the compost heap, where its high nitrogen content acts as a compost activator, speeding up the decomposition process.
    • Comfrey ('Goldsmith') leaves can be steeped in water to make a liquid fertilizer that is high in potassium, which is beneficial for fruiting and flowering plants.
    • Livestock feed can be supplemented with Comfrey ('Goldsmith') as it contains valuable proteins and vitamins, though it should be used with care due to potential toxic compounds.
    • The fibrous stems of Comfrey ('Goldsmith') can be used in papermaking as they provide strength to the paper when blended with other materials.
    • As a dynamic accumulator, Comfrey ('Goldsmith') plants can mine deep nutrients from the soil and make them available on the surface for other plants when used as mulch.
    • In arts and crafts, the flowers and leaves of Comfrey ('Goldsmith') can be used to make natural dyes for fabrics and paper products.
    • Comfrey ('Goldsmith') can serve as a trap crop, attracting slugs and snails away from other garden plants due to its lush foliage.

Interesting Facts

  • bedFeng Shui

    The Comfrey is not used in Feng Shui practice.

  • aquariusZodiac Sign Compitability

    The Comfrey is not used in astrology practice.

  • spiralPlant Symbolism

    • Healing: Comfrey, which is the Symphytum 'Goldsmith' plant's most common name, is well-known for its medicinal properties, particularly in healing wounds and broken bones, hence symbolizing healing and regeneration.
    • Protection: In folklore medicine, comfrey was often used to treat various ailments and was believed to have protective qualities, thereby symbolizing safety and protection.
    • Fertility: Comfrey's lush growth and deep roots are symbolic of fertility and abundance in both the physical garden and metaphorically in life.

Every 1-2 weeks
2500 - 10000 Lux
Every 2-3 years
Early spring
As needed
  • water dropWater

    For comfrey, including the variety Symphytum 'Goldsmith', water the plant deeply once a week, ensuring the soil is thoroughly moistened. During the growing season, comfrey prefers consistent moisture, so adjust the frequency to maintain evenly moist soil, especially during dry spells. Provide about 1 to 1.5 gallons of water per plant for each watering session, depending on the size and age of the plant and the weather conditions. It's essential to avoid overwatering, as comfrey does not like to sit in waterlogged soil, which can lead to root rot.

  • sunLight

    Comfrey thrives best in full sun to partial shade. The ideal spot for Symphytum 'Goldsmith' is an area where it receives at least 6 hours of direct sunlight daily but is protected from the harsh afternoon sun. Dappled shade during peak sunlight hours can help prevent the leaves from scorching, especially in hotter climates.

  • thermometerTemperature

    Comfrey, including Symphytum 'Goldsmith', prefers a temperate climate and grows well in a temperature range of 50°F to 85°F. It is hardy and can tolerate temperatures as low as 30°F and as high as 90°F, but the ideal growing conditions are within the aforementioned range. Avoid exposing the plant to extremes, as frost can damage young leaves and excessive heat can stress the plant.

  • scissorsPruning

    Pruning comfrey, including Symphytum 'Goldsmith', is done primarily to remove spent flower stalks and to encourage new growth. It is best to prune the plant after it has flowered, which is typically in late spring or early summer. Cut back the flowering stems to the base, and also remove any damaged or diseased leaves. Comfrey can be cut back several times during the growing season to maintain a tidy appearance and to promote a flush of fresh leaves.

  • broomCleaning

    As needed

  • bambooSoil

    Comfrey 'Goldsmith' prefers well-drained soil rich in organic matter with a neutral to slightly alkaline pH between 6.0 and 7.5. A good mix could consist of garden soil, compost, and perlite or sand for improved drainage.

  • plantRepotting

    Comfrey 'Goldsmith' does not typically require frequent repotting; it can be repotted every 2-3 years or when it outgrows its container.

  • water dropsHumidity & Misting

    Comfrey 'Goldsmith' tolerates a wide range of humidity levels, but it does best with moderate humidity, avoiding extremely dry air.

  • pinSuitable locations

    • Indoor

      Place in bright, indirect light and water when topsoil is dry.

    • Outdoor

      Plant in partial shade and water regularly to keep soil moist.

    • Hardiness zone

      4-9 USDA

  • circleLife cycle

    Symphytum 'Goldsmith' (commonly known as golden comfrey) begins its cycle when seeds are sown in the soil and germinate, typically in the spring. After germination, the seedlings grow rapidly, developing a rosette of hairy, ovate leaves. As the plant matures, it develops a deep taproot and starts to form branching stems, leading to a period of vegetative growth where the foliage becomes more abundant, and the characteristic golden-yellow leaves emerge. Come late spring to early summer, golden comfrey produces small bell-shaped flowers, usually purple or pink, which attract pollinators. After pollination, the flowers give way to small, four-parted nutlets, which are the plant's seeds. The plant may then enter a period of dormancy during colder months or may continue to grow foliage if the climate is mild, completing its perennial cycle and readying to repeat the process the following season.

  • sproutPropogation

    • Propogation time

      Early spring

    • Propogation: The plant known as Comfrey 'Goldsmith' is commonly propagated by root cuttings, a method that tends to be straightforward and effective. To propagate Comfrey 'Goldsmith' by root cuttings, one typically takes the cuttings during the plant's dormant period, which is usually from late fall to early spring. It’s important to select healthy, vigorous roots for the cuttings, ideally about 2-4 inches (5-10 centimeters) in length. The root cuttings should be planted horizontally in trays filled with a mix of sand and peat or a well-draining potting mix, barely covering them with soil. They need to be kept in a cool location with consistent moisture, and before long, new shoots will emerge from the cuttings. Once these shoots have established a reasonable root system, the young plants can be transplanted to their final location.