Borage

Borago officinalis

Bourrache officinale

A tall, attractive plant, often grown in flowerbeds. Bright blue star-shaped edible flowers. Best grown in herb or wild gardens. 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). and 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.

Borage can also be used as a fertilizer. The barage oil also has various anti-inflammatory properties, and can help relieve asthmatic symptoms. Add borage flowers to ice cubes to flavour your lemonade.


Grow in a sunny spot with well drained fertile soil. Borage requires a dedicated space in the garden. It is highly recommended for butterfly gardens or vegetable gardens as it helps bring in pollinators. Borage is commonly used as a garnish or in potpourris. Planting with strawberries attracts bees.

In nature Borage has been known to grow in refuse piles or highway ditches..

Also known as “starflower”, the borage herb is a beautiful perennial with blue flowers that spreads by self-seeding. Its flowers are cucumber-flavoured and all parts of the plant, except the roots, have medicinal or culinary uses.

Video on Borago officinalis


Planting Borago officinalis

Borage 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. Start seeds indoors in peat pots or sow directly in garden beds in early spring. Seeds are best sown in full or partial sun under 1cm of soil and then cover it with a bit of soil or compost. This annual will remain in the garden from year to year by self seeding.

Companion plant suggestions include Companion Plants: Strawberries, tomatoes, zucchini/squash.

Caring for Borage

If borage pops up in unwanted spaces in your garden, they are very easy to weed out of your planting beds.

It is happiest in Tolerates poor soils and drought.

In terms of water, Borage needs Prefers moist soils.

Pruning Bourrache officinale

Cut borage back just before it flowers if you want to enrich the soil and supress weeds. However, if you cut them back early, they won’t set seed. If your primary goal is to attract pollinators, cut back after the flowers have finished blooming. In doing this, borage will self seed.

Other

Borage deters pests from many plants.

Traditionally, borage was used to treat ailments like jaundice or kidney problems. It was also used as a sedative and to treat seizures.