Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Russian Comfrey
Symphytum x uplandicum 'Axminster Gold'

Family: Boraginaceae
Genus: Symphytum (sim-FY-tum) (Info)
Species: x uplandicum (up-LAN-dee-kum) (Info)
Cultivar: Axminster Gold

8 members have or want this plant for trade.


6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)

4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)

USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)
USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)
USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)
USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

Sun Exposure:
Sun to Partial Shade

All parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:

Bloom Time:
Late Spring/Early Summer
Mid Summer

Grown for foliage

Other details:
Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:
Unknown - Tell us

Patent Information:
Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:
By dividing the rootball

Seed Collecting:
N/A: plant does not set seed, flowers are sterile, or plants will not come true from seed

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4 positives
No neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive coriaceous On Sep 28, 2014, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

A vigorous plant grown for its bold gold-variegated basal foliage. This makes a great focal point in shade. It was a rare (but widely coveted) plant in the US before its mass distribution this season.

Very shade tolerant, it goes well with hostas, and grows well where hostas grow. It needs some protection from hot afternoon sun even here in Boston Z6a. The leaves are hairy, which makes it deer-resistant.

The flowers are a washy lavender-pink and not very showy. The foliage tends to deteriorate after flowering, so I cut out the flowering stems before they bloom for the sake of the basal foliage. Flowering stems can reach 5', but the basal foliage reaches about 18".

This performs better in the north than in the hot humid US southeast.

It took regular watering to keep this looking good its first season, but it develops deep roots and I suspect that next year it may do fine without irrigation.

It spreads by rhizomes, sometimes aggressively, though shade slows it down. It can be hard to dig out completely, as it can regenerate from small pieces of root.

Some people develop a skin irritation from contact with the hairy leaves.

Propagate by division or root cuttings.

Positive potting_zoo On Sep 27, 2014, potting_zoo from Gary, IN wrote:

This plant is definitely not weak, as some variegateds are! It's been in the ground 3 months and is flourishing in a mostly sunny spot. It grew from a quart-sized plant to something that would need a 2-gallon pot in that time. My soil is very sandy and it's been irrigated often to help it settle in.

Positive gardengrammy8 On Mar 26, 2014, gardengrammy8 from Rivergrove, OR wrote:

I have had this plant, but now having trouble finding it!

I LOVED it--only negative is that it sometimes reverts to plain green. The yellow variegation is so spectacular--the last thing I wanted was plain green comfrey!!

Positive JCG On Jun 17, 2012, JCG from Anchorage, AK wrote:

What a beautiful plant..It is very hardy here in Anchorage, Alaska.
I have had it for about 5 years now and what a statement it makes..
a very large plant

I began splitting it after 3 years and now others can enjoy it.

partial shade to deep shade and heavy soil..


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Gary, Indiana
Halifax, Massachusetts
Roslindale, Massachusetts
Hilton, New York
Lake Oswego, Oregon
Salem, Oregon
Pennsburg, Pennsylvania
Beaver Dam, Wisconsin

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