Seed Swaps


Borago officinalis

Borage is part of the Borago genus and its scientific name is Borago officinalis. The officinalis part of this plant's botanical name means 'used medicinally'.

Borage is an excellent provider of organic potassium, calcium, and other natural minerals of benefit to plants. Honey bees like to feast on the blossoms. 2

Borage is an ingredient in the traditional recipe for a Pimm’s Cup. Improves the flavor of tomato vines when grown within a few feet of them. Young leaves and flowers have a cucumber flavor. Young leaves can be eaten raw or steamed and flowers can be eaten raw or used as decoration. The stems can also be eaten, just peel and chop similar to celery. Borage aids the growth of almost anything that is planted near it. 4

This variety typically blooms in the following colours:   Palatinate blue and   Lavender magenta and   Ghost white. The mature flowers take a clustered form, with an approximate petal count of 5. The leaves of this particular variety normally show as   Grade 1 Paint Green and   Napier green

It is a flowering edible herb / flower that typically grows as an annual/perennial, which is defined as a plant that can matures and completes its lifecycle over the course of one year or more.

Borage is known for growing to a height of approximately 1.98 feet (that's 61.0 cm in metric) with a shrub-like habit. Expect blooming to occur in early summer.

This plant is a great attractor for bees, so if you are looking to attract wildlife Borage is a great choice.

Consider Blue, White, Bill Archer, Alba and Bianca to grow as they are very popular with home gardeners.

Syrian Arab Republic is thought to be the country of origin for Borage.

Borage is great for inexperienced gardeners and those that like low maintainance gardens.

This plant info is provided by the myfolia gardener's wiki. All details about Borage have been kindly provided by our members.

How to grow Borage

  • Full Sun

  • Partial Sun

  • Medium

Borage will grow in most soils, even poor soils, but prefers well drained. It is drought tolerant, needs part sun-full sun, and doesn’t like too much fertilizer (too much nitrogen will cause less flowers to form). Borage re-seeds easily and is easy to grow.

from Om: It can be contained. Trim, pinch, hack it back. Also it won’t grow into non-sunny space, so other plants could out compete it. You can also put it in a container and move it around to which crop needs it now. At the end of the season, the roots are harvested for medicinal uses and also for use in stir fries and other mixed veggie dishes. They are nutritious, but don’t have a lot of flavor on their own. The do produce a long tap root, but do fine in containers. Um, due to concentrations of potassium nitrate [aka saltpeter], which makes them good for the compost or just burying or mulching with also (in small doses of course).

Try to plant in a location that enjoys full sun / partial sun and remember to water moderately. As a rough idea of the types of climates Borage does best in, check to see if your local area is within USDA Hardiness Zones 5 and 10. Borage requires a sandy and loamy soil with a ph of 4.3 - 8.5 - it grows best in moderately acidic soil - weakly alkaline soil. Keep in mind when planting that Borage is thought of as hardy, so this plant will survive close to or on freezing temperatures.

See our list of companion Plants for Borage to see which plants you should plant in close proximity to encourage growth.

Growing Borage from seed

Can be sown outside when danger of heavy frost has passed. Sow in early spring and again in midsummer. In mild climates it can be sown outside anytime. Not recommended to start inside as will not transplant well. The seeds need darkness to germinate.

It self-seeds quite readily in the garden

Ensure a distance of 11.7 inches (30.0 cm) between seeds when sowing - look to sow at a depth of approximately 0.16 inches (0.4 cm). Soil temperature should be kept higher than 20°C / 68°F to ensure good germination.

Transplanting Borage

Transplanting is not recommended after the plant has reached the 4-leaf stage, as it has a long tap-root.

Ensure that temperatures are mild and all chance of frost has passed before planting out, as Borage is a hardy plant.

Harvesting Borage

Borage should only be used fresh, as it loses its flavour once dried.

If you are going to use the leaves, harvest before flowers appear 5. If using flowers, harvest in the morning. Most people crystallize the flowers, but you could also make ice-blocks for a colourful addition to a summer punch bowl!

Seed Saving Borage

Cut the flowering stalks and put in a paper bag to dry out for week or so. Shake the seeds out into the paper bag and check each of the flowers for seeds.

How long does Borage take to grow?

These estimates for how long Borage takes to sprout, grow and harvest are from real observations from real gardeners, right around the world.

Start logging and journaling your observations to participate!

Days to Germination How long does it take Borage to germinate?
10 days

Average 10 days | Min 2 days | Max 25 days (174)

Days to Transplant How long until I can plant out Borage?
+ 37 days

Average 37 days | Min 1 days | Max 69 days (29)

Days to Maturity How long until Borage is ready for harvest / bloom?
+ 50 days

Average 50 days | Min 15 days | Max 422 days (14)

Total Growing Days How long does it take to grow Borage?
= 97 days

Borage Etymology

Might be the Latin Borago or Corago from cor (the heart), and ago (I bring). Also could be from the Latin Burra meaning flock of wool. Or the Celtic term Barrach -a man of courage. The botanical epithet is from the Latin officinalis meaning “used medicinally”

Borage Folklore & Trivia

Borage is supposed to give strength of heart, courage, and joyfulness to anyone who eats the leaves or drinks wine in which the flowers or leaves are floating. It was given to warriors before going into battle and also sneaked into the drinks of men so they would propose. It was used as an anti-depressant.

smuggle some borageinto the drink of a prospective husband to give him courage to propose marriage 1

from Om: Dried borage leaf and flowers are also a fun party trick as they pop and sizzle when burned.

Other names for Borage

Starflower, Tailwort, Bugloss

Echium amoenum

Misspellings: Boreage, Burrage

Latest Borage Reviews

  • Bees enjoyed. Still to learn more about how to use herbs. (Approx dates/ amounts for second half of season in 2014)

    4 stars

    WBJohn about growing Borage
  • Borage is a favourite in our cottage garden, the pretty blue flowers attract native bees which also love our tomatoes. Once planted borage will just keep popping up all over. A great compost addition.

    5 stars

    Ollie about growing borage

See all Borage reviews and experiences »


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