How to Grow and Care for Borage Plants (Borago officinalis)

  • jack Officer
  • May 24, 2023

Borago officinalis

Borago officinalis, generally often called borage or starflower, is considered one of a number of herbs with origins within the Mediterranean area.

It’s a member of the Boraginaceae household of vegetation, which incorporates forget-me-not and heliotrope.

Naturalized in the US, it grows in a wild and weedy trend, sporting its signature blue star blossoms in addition to fuzzy leaves, stems, and drooping buds.

Along with the botanical species, there are cultivated varieties accessible in each blue and white.

A vertical close up picture of a bright blue borage flower with characteristic reddish-brown sepals pictured on a green soft focus background. To the top and bottom of the frame is green and white text.

We hyperlink to distributors that will help you discover related merchandise. In case you purchase from considered one of our hyperlinks, we might earn a fee.

On this article, I’ll cowl the right way to domesticate borage, a flexible herb that could be grown as a decorative, an ingredient for natural and culinary use, or as a canopy crop.

Observe that its fuzzy texture might trigger a pores and skin response in delicate folks. In case you are liable to allergy symptoms, put on gloves whenever you deal with it.

Cultivation and Historical past

Based on specialists on the Flower Essence Society, B. officinalis probably originated in Syria. Right this moment it’s naturalized all through Europe and the US.

A close up of a bee landing on a bright blue, star-shaped borage flower, with unopened buds below, pictured on a soft focus background.

There are two literary references from the 1500s to an herb believed to be borage: there’s a forgetfulness-inducing herb in Homer’s Odyssey, and a temper elevator in Dioscorides’ De Materia Medica.

The leaves and flowers have lengthy been used within the jap Mediterranean area as potherbs and drink garnishes.

Additionally they have a historical past of use in natural cures to handle circumstances starting from respiratory points to adrenal issues.

The leaves have an aroma harking back to cucumber, and a fairly salty taste. The flowers are candy, like honey.

A close up of bright blue borage flowers growing in the garden. In the foreground are small unopened buds in soft focus.

The seeds comprise an oil prized for its excessive gamma linoleic acid (GLA) content material.

This fatty acid is believed to be antigenotoxic and anti inflammatory. Right this moment it’s offered as a well being complement.

Nonetheless, please observe: along with being a possible pores and skin irritant, consumption of this herb might trigger antagonistic reactions.

Borage comprises low concentrations of unsaturated pyrrolizidine alkaloids which might be hepatotoxic, or doubtlessly damaging to the liver.

When you’ve got a medical situation, please seek the advice of a doctor or different healthcare skilled earlier than consumption, to keep away from drug interactions.

A close up of a blue, star-shaped Borago officinalis flower with two buds in soft focus in the background.

Though every gorgeous flower blooms for under a day, starry B.officinalis opens frequently in the course of the summer season months, making it a wealthy nectar and pollen supply for honeybees.

To encourage optimum flower manufacturing, deadhead spent blooms incessantly, or harvest them contemporary to be used as a garnish in salads or drinks.

An annual by definition, B. officinalis behaves like a perennial. It’s a self-sower that ensures its future by dropping seeds at season’s finish that germinate the next spring.

Superb circumstances for cultivation embody a full solar to half shade location and common, well-draining soil.

Mature dimensions might attain three ft tall and as much as 18 inches vast.


One of the best ways to begin rising B. oficinalis is from seed. Seeds have a excessive germination price, and sowing them couldn’t be simpler.

Self-sowing at season’s finish ensures {that a} one-time seed funding repays the grower for years to return.

A vertical picture of a small Borago officinalis plant with star-shaped blue flowers growing in the sunshine in the summer garden.

It’s simple to begin new vegetation from seed by direct sowing outside in spring after the final common frost date has handed.

Alternatively, you may begin seeds indoors a month earlier than the final frost date and transplant seedlings to the backyard.

Learn how to Develop

That is an herb that delivers dynamic progress whenever you supply preferrred circumstances.

Present a location with full solar. Crops tolerate half shade, however might not produce as many flowers with out an abundance of sunshine.

A patch of borage with bright blue flowers and reddish-brown stems growing in the summer garden.

The soil could also be common, offered it drains properly.

To enhance the drainage of compact, clay-like soil, amend it with organically-rich materials like leaf mulch or compost, in addition to extraordinary builder’s sand. Observe that the addition of natural matter might barely enhance soil acidity.

The perfect soil pH is between 4.8 and eight.3. This can be a big selection, and it’s very probably that your soil is inside bounds.

To know for positive, you could contact your native agricultural extension workplace to conduct a soil check.

Work the soil to a depth of 10 to 12 inches, till it’s crumbly.

Sow seeds quarter to half an inch deep.

Preserve even moisture throughout germination and whereas vegetation have gotten established.

A vertical close up picture of a small blue Borago officinalis flower with furry, unopened buds in soft focus on a green background.

As soon as it’s established within the backyard, you could let the soil dry out between waterings. This species has above common drought tolerance.

You possibly can apply a layer of mulch to help in water retention and inhibit the expansion of weeds.

Herbs additionally make nice container vegetation. Choose a pot that’s at the least 12 inches vast and deep to accommodate root unfold and mature dimensions.

Ensure it has sufficient drainage holes, and fill it with a well-draining potting medium.

A crucial facet of container gardening is to recollect is that pots dry out faster than floor soil, so be vigilant.

Rising Ideas

  • Plant in full solar for an abundance of blooms.
  • Common soil is ok, offered it drains properly.
  • Amend the soil as wanted with compost, leaf mulch, and even builder’s sand to loosen it and enhance drainage.

Cultivars to Choose

When looking for seeds, you might be prone to come throughout blue botanical species B. officinalis in addition to cultivated varieties in each blue and white.

A close up square image of a hand from the left of the frame revealing seeds from a borage pod with a flower to the right of the frame.

B. officinalis

Blue species B. officinalis seeds are accessible from Earthbeat Seeds in packages of 30.

A close up of a white Borago officinalis flower growing in the garden.

B. officinalis ‘Alba’

White cultivated B. officinalis ‘Alba’ seeds are accessible from Eden Brothers.

Managing Pests and Illness

B. officinalis just isn’t liable to issues with bugs or illness. It’s valued within the backyard as a result of it attracts helpful bugs that feed on many pests, making it an amazing companion plant.

A close up of a bright blue, star-shaped borage flower growing in the garden, pictured in bright sunshine on a soft focus background.

Nonetheless, if its rising setting is lower than preferrred, hassle might come up.

The fungal infections probably to contaminate vegetation when circumstances are too moist embody: leaf spot, powdery mildew, root rot, and stem rot.

To keep away from leaf spot and powdery mildew, you’ll want to house vegetation the really helpful 9 to 18 inches aside, relying upon their anticipated mature widths.

This helps preserve ample air circulation and inhibits the buildup of extra moisture and humidity.

Root and stem rot start in oversaturated soil. Avoidance measures embody sowing in soil that drains properly, and never overwatering.

Within the occasion of a fungal outbreak, take away affected foliage or complete vegetation and discard them within the trash.

You may additionally apply a food-safe fungicide in response to package deal directions.

It’s unlikely that your vegetation might be bothered by deer or rabbits, because the fragrant leaves and fuzzy texture don’t appear to enchantment to them.


Take into account that the fuzzy texture of borage might trigger pores and skin irritation, and consumption might trigger antagonistic reactions.

To choose flowers, grasp the brownish middle and pull gently to launch them from the inexperienced calyxes beneath.

A close up of a wooden surface with Borago officinalis seeds, flowers, leaves, and a small glass jar with essential oil.

You possibly can harvest the leaves when they’re clean younger sprouts, as “microgreens,” or at a later stage when they’re bigger and fuzzier.

To reap the leaves, use your thumb nail to pinch them off on the base.

B. officinalis is an “indeterminate” grower that could be harvested many occasions.

You can also accumulate seeds after the flowers have completed blooming.

When a flower is brown and withered, maintain a bag beneath it, and rub the dry petals along with your thumb and forefinger to launch the seeds into the bag.

Retailer the seeds in a labeled envelope in a cool, dry place for as much as one 12 months to sow subsequent season.

A close up vertical picture of two glasses with cucumber and borage flowers as a garnish.

Use the leaves and flowers when they’re contemporary, as quickly as attainable after harvesting.

Add a couple of greens to salads, or to the soup pot.

Or you may strive freezing the flowers in ice cubes for an additional particular drink attraction.

You possibly can sweet the star-like blossoms for ornamental cake gildings. Discover the recipe now on our sister website, Foodal.

Finest Backyard Makes use of

Whereas I’m a fan of native species, I really feel this plant has a lot to supply.

Do you might have a strawberry patch, squash mound, or row of tomato cages?

Plant some borage between these vegetation to chase away frequent pests. Simply bear in mind you’re sowing a vigorous grower, and don’t let it take over!

A close up of a Borago officinalis plant growing in front of a wooden fence in the summer garden, with blue star-shaped flower and unopened buds.

And when you’ve got fallow land ready for a cool-weather crop, you may sow B. officinalis as a canopy crop to assist stop erosion, retain moisture, and inhibit weed progress.

Plow this cowl crop below for contemporary inexperienced manure previous to planting your veggies.

With its capacity to draw a number of helpful pollinators, there’s no motive to restrict borage to the veggie or herb backyard.

Along with its culinary and medicinal makes use of, it makes an enthralling decorative.

How about sowing it in a sunny meadow with room to self-sow and unfold?

There’s nothing lovelier than a area of blue buzzing with glad bees, butterflies, and different bugs on the job.

Fast Reference Rising Information

Plant Sort: Self-seeding annual herb Flower / Foliage Coloration: Blue, white/gray-green
Native to: Syria, jap Mediterranean Tolerance: Deer, drought, rabbits
Hardiness (USDA Zone): 2-11 Soil Sort: Common
Bloom Time / Season: Summer season Soil pH: 4.8-8.3
Publicity: Full solar to half shade Soil Drainage: Effectively-draining
Spacing: 9-18 inches Attracts: Useful bugs and pollinators
Planting Depth: 1/4-1/2 inches Companion Planting: Strawberries, squash, tomatoes
Peak: 1-3 ft Order: Boraginales
Unfold: 9-18 inches Household: Boraginaceae
Water Wants: Low to average Genus: Borago
Upkeep: Low Species: officinalis
Widespread Pests: Snails and slugs on tender seedlings Widespread Illness: Leaf spot, powdery mildew, root rot, stem rot

A Versatile Companion

Borage is prepared and keen to take up residence in your yard. Will you make room for it this 12 months?

Is that this an herb that you simply sow for medicinal or culinary use? Tell us within the feedback part beneath.

In case you take pleasure in rising herbs in your backyard, take a look at these guides subsequent:

Source link

Related Post :

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *