Borage: How to Grow This Edible Annual

Borage (also known as Starflower; Latin name Borago officinalis) is one of the old-fashioned plants you’ll find in traditional cottage gardens. It has bristly stems, grows in clumps, and self-seeds. For the gardener that means flowers throughout the season!

Borage blue flowers
Borage. Photo by MWMS1916/Flickr

 

The coarse, hairy leaves and star-shaped flowers are edible, though I’ve never tried them; people say they’re best in drinks, salads, and on desserts. You pick the leaves in spring and summer when the blooms appear.

Jeff Spurrier of the Los Angeles Times has said Borage tastes like “cucumber with a splash of honey,” and cautions that pregnant and nursing women shouldn’t eat them. Some people consider it a sedative and have been known to make tea from it, as well as candy.

 

You can direct sow Borage seeds in the soil, both in spring and fall. It’s also great in herb gardens, beds, borders, and as companion plantings to strawberries, tomatoes and squash, where it attracts bees while repelling destructive insects.

Borage Plant Facts

TYPE: Annual

LIGHT REQUIRED: Full Sun to Partial Shade

HEIGHT: 12 to 36 inches

SPREAD (WIDTH):  12 to 36 inches

FLOWER COLOR: Blue

FOLIAGE COLOR: Dark green

SEASONAL DETAILS:  Blooms early to late summer

SPECIAL FEATURES:

  • Low maintenance
  • Good for containers
  • Attracts butterflies
  • Attracts beneficial insects
  • Attracts birds
  • Deer tolerant

HOW TO PROPAGATE: By Seed

COMPANION PLANTINGS:

Tomatoes

Strawberries

Squash


Do you grow borage? Any suggestions?

Travis Neighbor Ward is an award-winning editor in chief, magazine and web writer, and a best-selling author of fiction and nonfiction. She has written extensively about interiors, lifestyle, travel, gardening, and health. To read more about her fiction writing, visit www.travisnward.com.

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