Star-shaped borage (Borago officinalis) flowers hang in clusters and are a beautiful blue color. Bees love the bright blooms and rely on the herb as a nectar source, literally covering the plants some days. Leaves and stems are covered with fine, silver or white hairs and appear to be almost woolly.
Borage flowers can be used to decorate cool, summertime party drinks and add color to salads and desserts. Both the flowers and leaves are edible and provide a light cucumber flavor. Grows well in containers and may be used as a companion plant with tomatoes and squash. Plants are 2-3 feet tall and self-sow readily.
Give this hardy annual some space because it will spread out.
Heirloom herb seeds — not the sort you’ll find in box stores — have been passed down through the generations and are cherished for their outstanding characteristics, such as superior flavor, vibrant color, adaptability and hardiness. Planting instructions are included with each packet and shipping is FREE!
Quick Guide: Planting, Growing & Harvesting Borage
- Low-maintenance plant that draws in bees and beneficial insects
- Easy to start from seed inside or out
- Plant in full sun and well-amended soil in a wind-protected location
- Fresh blooms and small leaves can be used in salad; large leaves are good in soups or cooked like collard greens
- Very few pests or diseases
Sunlight: Full sun to partial shade
Maturity: 55-75 days
Height: 18 to 36 inches
Spacing: 12 to 24 inches apart
Container gardens — both indoors and out — and outside herb gardens work well for growing borage. The culinary herb prefers full sun, but will tolerate partial shade and rich, moist soil.
Choose a site that is well protected from wind, as plants are easily blown over, and work in plenty of organic compost prior to planting. Read our article how to prepare garden soil for planting to learn more.
How to Plant
Grown from seed, borage can be started indoors 3-4 weeks before the last frost or direct seeded just after the danger of frost has passed. Plant the small, black seeds just beneath the surface of the soil and thin seedlings to at least one foot apart. Trim back occasionally to keep plants tidy and upright.
Harvesting and Storage
Harvest leaves and flowers as they are needed. They have a refreshing, mild cucumber flavor and may be used to garnish salads, dips, and soups. Young leaves are best used fresh as plants do not dry well (see Harvesting and Preserving Herbs).
Tip: Freeze borage blossoms in ice cubes for a festive and fun way to cool down summer drinks.
Insect & Disease Problems
Insects and disease are not typically a problem for borage.
Seed Saving Instructions
It’s very easy to save borage seeds. Just keep a close eye on the blooms and when they begin to fade and turn brown, pick the seeds. Be sure to get them before they fall as borage is very good at seeding itself for the next season, even without your help.
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