Growing Borage from Seed to Harvest Posted on 13 Jan 04:01 , 9 comments

January is Plant for Pollinators month at Mary's Heirloom Seeds so this how-to article is just in time! Borage (Borago officinalis) is an amazing plant to grow in your garden to attract pollinators.

Borage plants can grow up to three feet tall, producing gorgeous blooms.

The flavor of Borage is similar to a cucumber.  Borage has bright blue, star-shaped flowers that explode in a blue profusion all summer attracting honey bees.  The flowers and young leaves may be used to garnish salads, dips and cucumber soups.

Borage is also a companion plant for Tomatoes, Peppers, Squash, Strawberries and more.


Growing Borage from Seed

Borage is a hardy annual, which means that the plant will die in a frost . A word of caution, if you let Borage mature to produce seeds, you will have LOTS of borage next year.

Borage plants produce the most flowers in full sun, but they can also tolerate partial shade. Choose a planting area that gets at least six hours of sunlight per day for best results.

Sow seeds 1/2 in deep in moist, well draining soil. Water regularly so the area does not dry out.

If you have a container garden, Borage should be planted in a container that is 12 inches deep or more.

This hardy plant can thrive in hot and cool weather so it's prefect for just about every garden zone.


Companion Planting with Borage

Companion plant. Companion planting borage next to strawberries and tomatoes can increase their fruit yield, while also fending off tomato hornworms. Borage attracts beneficial insects, pollinators like honeybees, bumblebees, and butterflies, while also serving as a deterrent to cabbage moths.



Harvesting Borage

As we mentioned early, Borage can easily go to seed and "pop up" next year in your garden. Remove flower heads towards the end of their lifecycle to prevent self-seeding. 

Both the flowers and the leaves are edible. Smaller leaves are my favorite as the larger leaves can be prickly.

The gorgeous flowers make an excellent garnish for baked good and savory dishes.

If you end up with LOTS of Borage, you can feed some to livestock or even make a fertilizer tea. Yes, that's a 5 gallon bucket of borage leaves! Our chickens love it!

I use scissors to clip off flowers and leaves. It's easy to collect them in a bowl or bucket. The larger leaves can be prickly so it would be a good idea to wear gloves when working with Borage.

Borage is a hardy annual, which means that the plant will die in a frost, but the seeds can survive in the frozen ground.

Read more at Gardening Know How: Borage Seed Growing – How To Plant

If you have additional questions, please feel free to ask!