This self-seeding annual is often grown in home gardens to attract pollinators or as an indoor potted herb to add more fresh ingredients to your diet. The bushy plants grow to about a foot tall and bear beautiful vivid blue flowers. All parts of the plant are edible, except the roots.
Borage has an interesting mild cucumber-like flavour and can be used for teas and mixed in dried herbal blends. The bright starry blue flowers are an original tasty addition to salads, appetizers and summer cocktails.
- Life Cycle: Annual
- Days to Maturity: 60-70
- Planting Depth: 1 cm
- Plant Spacing: 20-30 cm
- Growth Habit: 60-90 cm tall
Borage is often used as a cover crop to absorb and store hard-to-reach nutrients, while loosening up the soil. The dainty, blue flowers produced attract plenty of pollinators. They are refreshing and nutritious when eaten. Borage attracts beneficial parasitic and predatory insects, such as ladybugs and lacewings. It is known to deter tomato hornworm and cabbage moths.
As an annual herb, it will die off in winter, but drops plenty of seeds leading to a volunteer crop the following spring. Borage does all of this and more as one of the most well-documented companion plants.
Seeds can be sown directly or started indoors three to four weeks before the last frost date. Plant into flats or pots, water well and provide them with warmth and light from a sunny window or grow lights. After the danger of frost has passed and the soil has warmed up, harden off seedlings to prepare for transplanting.
Sow directly seeds about 1 cm deep into the garden bed. Cover with an organic mulch like straw and water well. Plant plenty of seeds and thin out slow-growing seedlings, leaving the strongest plants 45 cm apart.
A site with full sun will produce the bushiest plants with the most flowers. Borage will survive in harsh conditions, like dry and nutrient-deficient soil. It will thrive, however, in moist, well-drained soil.
Keep seedlings moist, but allow borage to dry out in between waterings after it’s established. Add compost at the time of planting to improve the quality of the soil. Borage will only require light feedings if grown in poor soil. It can adapt to both hot or cold regions but will be killed by a hard frost.
Borage should be deadheaded to maximize blossom production and can be cut back by half in midsummer to stimulate new growth. Seeds can be saved by shaking them out of faded flowers. Or, let borage propagate on its own by dropping seeds to produce volunteers for next spring.
Borage plants break down easily and make a good addition to compost piles. Leaves can be harvested to make a nutrient-rich compost tea by just adding water. When grown from seed, this interesting plant can be truly appreciated as its blue flowers, foliage and roots all benefit the entire local ecosystem.
- Borage, also known as ‘’starflower,’’ is originally native to the Middle East and the Mediterranean region.
- Long cultivated for its culinary and medicinal properties, borage is now mostly grown commercially as oil seeds.- Borage seeds will remain viable for 3 years if stored in a cool, dark place, ideally between 4 and 10⁰C. After that, the germination rate may start to go down.
OUR SEED GUARANTEE
You know that a lush, fruitful garden needs good soil, frequent watering, and sunlight to grow, but it’s the seeds that really make the harvest.
Picked and bagged for 2023 the vast majority of our seeds have germination rates of over 85%. The seeds are all-natural, non-GMO, non-hybrid, untreated, and open-pollinated for seed saving.
We have put a lot of thoughts into the design and packaging of our seed packets. Our seeds are all carefully packed in food grade kraft paper/aluminium zipper lock bags, and then are shipped in eco-friendly padded mailers.
We heat-seal each of our seed packet for even more protection from moisture, odour and light, allowing you to store your seeds for up to 3x longer than paper or plastic. Plant them all, germinate some indoors, save some for next season - it’s up to you!