11 Uses for Borage Posted on 1 Jun 06:18 , 4 comments

I LOVE BORAGE! Yes, I am that excited to share this info with you. Borage is an old plant that has a number of medicinal properties and culinary uses. It is beautiful!


What is Borage?

Borage (Borago officinalis) is an annual herb that grows quickly but self-seeds, so it continues to reappear year after year. ***Those reappearing plants are what I call free food***

So how can we use it?

-Companion Planting in your garden

It is a companion plant to Tomatoes, Peppers, Cabbage, Squash and Strawberries.

The borage companion plant is said to repel tomato worms and cabbage worms because borage attracts beneficial insects, such as bees and tiny wasps. As we know these are great plant pollinators, but they also repel garden pests. Additionally, borage works well in the garden alongside many types of herbs and flowers

-Attract Beneficial Insects

Another way that you can use borage in your garden is to attract beneficial insects and pollinators.

Honeybees, bumblebees, and butterflies love those pretty, bright, blue flowers. Grow borage in pots near your vegetable garden or along a fence close to your fruit trees.


-Eat the flowers!

These flowers are delicious and add a delicate touch to a homegrown salad

-Eat the volunteer sprouts that pop up each year

These volunteers are FREE FOOD and can be eaten as a garden snack or brought inside, rinsed off and added to a salad or meal


-Chicken food

Borage plants provide and abundance of leaves that can be continuously harvested to supplement your feed bill



If you end up with "too much" borage or you pull out the volunteers, you can always add them to your compost to provide organic matter for future gardens


-Borage Poultice

A crushed borage poultice can help with bug bites, bee stings, swelling, bruising, rashes, and boils. With summertime being a busy time in the garden (and bug bites), Borage is a handy herb to have on hand.


-Borage Tea

Borage tea has many uses. Herbalists use borage tea to reduce fevers, relieve stress, and stop coughing. As an added bonus, it's a refreshing iced tea on a hot day.


-Borage Tincture

If you are unfamiliar with tinctures, we have a few recipes on our blog. I prefer using dry herbs for my tinctures.


-Borage Salve with Calendula and Lavender

This recipe combines three potent, healing herbs to create the perfect salve for skin problems. You can use hemp or olive oil for your calendula, lavender, and borage salve. I like using olive oil. You could definitely add Borage leaves to our Calendula Infused Oil recipe if you like to "tweak" recipes


-Borage Lemonade

The leaves need to be mixed with lemonade, adding a hint of cucumber to your drink. This would be a great addition to our Basil Lemonade Recipe. A refreshing, naturally PINK drink with a hint of cucumber sounds delicious!

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

Growing Borage from Seed to Harvest Posted on 13 Jan 04:01 , 6 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!