Looking for the perfect plant to grow? Medicinal herb, pollinator flower, companion plant, and fresh vegetable - Borage Does It All! We’ll walk you through how to grow and harvest borage so you can start using this amazing herb.
Borage is a vigorous self-sowing annual flower with a multitude of benefits. The blue flowers are rich in nectar, which makes them highly attractive to bees. Honey made from the nectar of borage flowers is a delightful treat! Not only is borage known for its many medicinal properties, but it also makes an excellent companion plant and has culinary uses, too. Don’t miss out on the benefits of growing borage in your garden!
How to Grow Borage
Borage develops a deep taproot, so transplanting is not recommended.
For best results, direct sow borage seeds outdoors after all danger of frost has passed. Choose a location that receives full sun and has well-drained soil.
Sow seeds ¼” deep and space 12” apart. Keep the soil moist, and seeds will germinate in 7 to 14 days.
Borage starts flowering in the late spring to early summer. It will continue blossoming if the flowers are picked regularly.
Borage is a vigorous self-sower. To prevent self-sowing, snip bloom heads off of any plants you do not want to reseed.
How to Harvest Borage
You can harvest both the borage leaves and flowers. Borage leaves change flavor as they mature and they become hairy. Harvest the leaves while they are still young for the best flavor. Flowers can be harvested as soon as they open.
Dry borage leaves by placing them on a cookie sheet for several weeks away from moisture. Once dried, store in an airtight container, such as a glass jar. The longer the leaves have been stored, the lesser the medicinal properties. Replenish your borage supply annually.
Borage Culinary Uses
The leaves, when harvested young, have a slightly salty, cucumbery flavor and can be eaten cooked, made into tea, or served raw in salads.
Fresh borage flowers make an attractive garnish for salads, sandwiches, and refreshing beverages. The flowers can also be brewed into a refreshing tea.
Borage seeds are also edible and nutritious!
How to Make Borage Tea
Steep 1 tablespoon of dried borage leaves in 1 cup of hot water for 5-15 minutes, depending on your desired taste and potency. Add honey for a touch of soothing sweetness!
Borage as a Companion Plant
Plant borage next to cabbage, cucumbers, strawberries, squash, and tomatoes.
As a companion plant, borage is known to repel tomato hornworms and cabbage worms while attracting pollinators like bees, butterflies, and other beneficial insects!
The strong scent of borage keeps deer and rabbits from eating it.
Borage Medicinal Uses
Borage leaves contain low levels of pyrrolizidine alkaloids and other compounds that are toxic to the liver, so those with liver disease should not use borage. For some, borage can cause skin dermatitis. Pregnant women and persons with schizophrenia or epilepsy should avoid using borage.
Whether you grow borage for its medicinal uses, companion planting benefits, or just for its flowering beauty, you can’t go wrong with borage. Try growing borage in your medicinal herb garden.
Written by Ashley Clark