Borage is a tall, attractive plant, often grown in flowerbeds with bright blue star-shaped edible flowers. Also known as “starflower,” the borage herb is a beautiful perennial with blue flowers that self-seed. Its flowers are cucumber-flavored, and all parts of the plant, except the roots, have medicinal or culinary uses.
Quick Growing Guide
Botanical Name: Borago officinalis
Botanical Family: Boraginaceae
En français: Bourrache officinale
Water: IS drought tolerant
This plant is best grown in herb or wild gardens. Its. leaves may be used in cold drinks, salads, fruit salads, or as cooked greens. Borage flowers serve as pretty and attractive garnishes.
Borage can be a fresh vegetable or dried herb. Medicinally, it is a source of gamma-linolenic acid (GLA). It is also used in personal care products such as skin creams. Borage is also said to improve the taste of tomatoes. The leaves are high in vitamins A and C, iron, and niacin.
Borago officinalis can also be used as a fertilizer. Borage oil also has various anti-inflammatory properties and can help relieve asthmatic symptoms. Add borage flowers to ice cubes to flavor your lemonade.
Borago officinalis does not require starting indoors and is a fairly easygoing plant. Simply scatter the borage seeds into the ground or into a planter. Mid-April to early May is the best time to sow, until the first of July, but not after that. You can transplant young plants that are purchased around the middle of May.
Grow the plant in a sunny spot with well-drained fertile soil. It requires a dedicated space in the garden. It is highly recommended for butterfly or vegetable gardens as it helps attract pollinators. Planting with strawberries attracts bees. Companion plant suggestions include strawberries, tomatoes, and zucchini or squash.
In nature, borage has been known to grow in refuse piles or highway ditches.
Trichomes, which are tiny hairs, are present on the leaves and stems. The lance-shaped, dark green leaves can reach a length of 10 to 15 centimeters. Depending on the cultivar, borage plants bloom in either white or blue between May and July.
The drupe-like fruits that are produced after the star-shaped flowers are pollinated are a characteristic of the Boraginaceae family. The seeds are housed within the four nutlets that make up each drupe.
Propagating Borago officinalis
Borago officinalis dies down in the winter, but you will not need to buy seeds as it self-seeds quite vigorously and spreads around the garden. Luckily, it is so attractive that it adds to the general design.
If Borage pops up in unwanted garden spaces, weed out your planting beds is very easy.
Start seeds indoors in peat pots or sow directly in garden beds in early spring. Seeds are best sown in the full or partial sun under 1cm of soil and then covered with a bit of soil or compost. This annual will remain in the garden from year to year by self-seeding.
Consider planting borage in your vegetable garden with strawberries, tomatoes, and zucchini/squash.
If the plant appears in unwanted garden spaces, simply weed it out of your planting beds, which is very easy.
Pruning Bourrache officinale
Cut back just before it flowers if you want to enrich the soil and suppress weeds. However, they won’t set seed if you cut them back early. If your primary goal is to attract pollinators, cut back after the flowers have finished blooming. This will result in self-seeding.
Although Borage is now mostly grown commercially as an oilseed, it was once used for both culinary and medicinal purposes. Both the fresh vegetable and the dried herb borage are used. Borage is a fresh vegetable that tastes like cucumber and is frequently added to salads or used as a garnish.
The flower is frequently used to garnish sweets and drinks, most frequently frozen in ice cubes. It has a sweet, honey-like flavor. Other benefits of Borage are mentioned below:
- The herb contains significant amounts of minerals calcium, potassium, magnesium, iron, manganese, copper, and zinc. Potassium, a vital component of physiological fluids and cells, regulates blood pressure and heart rate.
- Borage is one of the wholesome sources of the B-complex vitamins that aid in lowering blood cholesterol levels.
- Omega-6 fatty acids, which are present in Borage, are essential for the restoration of joint health, immunity, and good skin and mucosa.
- Its benefits on wound healing, antiviral activity, and immunological boosting when combined with those of other antioxidants.
Borage is commonly used as a garnish or in potpourri.
Borage Seed Oil Medicinal Uses
A dietary supplement called borage seed oil is full of important fatty acids that can control inflammation in the joints and the immune system. According to the available research, its’ seed oil may lessen the signs and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, aging, viral infections, and other conditions. Traditionally, Borago officinalis was used to treat ailments like jaundice or kidney problems. It was also used as a sedative and to treat seizures.
Borage deters pests from many plants.