But it turns out that comfrey is a little powerhouse of a plant. It can be used for medicinal purposes because it contains allantoin, which stimulates cell growth and repair, and as a high-protein animal feed, but that’s not why I’ve got my eye on it.
You can also put a few leaves near plants prone to slug damage. Apparently it is so tasty to slugs that they will forego eating anything else in favor of attacking the comfrey. I’m not sure howI feel about that logic as it’s a little bit like feeding the deer in your yard and expecting them not to eat your garden, but it might be interesting to try.
I ordered Russian comfrey (Symphytum x uplandicum), a variety called Bocking 14, which is said to be sterile, so at least I don’t have to worry about it reseeding all over the place, although cutting off the flowers before they set seed would also work (this is so much easier said than done). Apparently it is best to use it before it flowers, or right as it starts flowering. This strain is not great for animal feed—apparently it is more bitter than other strains—so I’m hoping that it won’t be tasty to deer.
I’m going to find a little patch that’s out of the way. I’m still worried about it getting aggressive, but I think if I can provide it a nice little spot away from the main garden areas, I can let it be true to its nature. There is a variety that is supposed to be sterile and I may seek that one out to help keep it in check,