Sparkling periwinkle-blue blooms dance atop borage’s fuzzy stems and leaves. A beauty in the garden, annual borage faithfully comes back from seed each year, quickly filling in a space. Harvest edible flowers to beautify salads, summer drinks, or desserts. Toss blooms onto fanned tomato and mozzarella slices for a festive Fourth of July feast. Freeze flowers in ice cubes to decorate drinks with cool color. Borage will flower indoors in containers if given heat and plenty of light. In the garden, pull seedlings judiciously in spring.
Type: Annual, Herb
Height: 1 to 3 feet
Width: 1/2-2 feet
Flower color: Blue
Seasonal features: Fall bloom, Reblooming, Spring bloom, Summer bloom, Winter bloom
Problem solvers: Deer resistant, Drought resistant
Special features: Attracts birds, Good for containers. Low maintenance
Herb cultivation just takes a little gardening know how. Grow borage in an herb or flower garden. Prepare a garden bed that is well tilled with average organic matter. Ensure that the soil is well drained and in a medium pH range. Sow seeds directly into the garden after the last date of frost. Plant seeds ¼ to ½ inch under the soil in rows 12 inches apart. Thin the borage herb to at least 1 foot when the plants measure 4 to 6 inches tall.
Planting borage with strawberries attracts bees and increases the yield of fruit. It has limited culinary use in today’s foods, but the borage flower is often used as a garnish. Traditionally the borage plant was used to treat many ailments, from jaundice to kidney problems. In medicinal use today it is limited, but the seeds are a source of linolenic acid. Borage flowers are also used in potpourris or candied for use in confections.
Borage can be perpetuated by allowing the flowers to go to seed and self sow. Pinching the terminal growth will force a bushier plant but may sacrifice some of the flowers. Borage herb is not a fussy plant and has been known to grow in refuse piles and highway ditches. Be assured you want the plant to regrow annually or remove the flowers before it seeds. Growing borage requires a dedicated space in the home garden.
Borage Herb Harvest
Sowing the seeds every four weeks will ensure a ready supply of borage flowers. The leaves may be picked at any time and used fresh. Dried leaves have little of the characteristic flavor so the plant is best consumed after harvest. Leave the flowers alone if you are hosting a honeybee colony. The blooms produce an excellent flavored honey.