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Edibles Grow Sheets


  • Scientific Name
    Borago officinalis
  • General Information

    A historic medicinal herb, Borage is a Mediterranean annual also known as starflower, bee bush, bee bread, and bugloss. Photo, Piqsels
    A historic medicinal herb, Borage is a Mediterranean annual also known as starflower, bee bush, bee bread, and bugloss. Photo, Piqsels
    Borage is an exuberant annual that grows two to three feet tall and is covered with many striking blue pendulous flowers. It is a prolific self-seeder and may become invasive. 

  • When to Plant

    Sow in late spring to early fall.
    Thin so mature plants stand a foot or two apart.

  • Planting

    Seed in place in March and April. Borage does not transplant well.
    Can be container grown. Be aware that it will self-seed.
    Full or nearly full sun.

  • Soil Requirements

    Not fussy about soil. May not grow quite as tall in poorer soil.

  • Water Requirements

    Keep plants evenly moist.

  • Fertilizing

    Feed monthly with a balanced organic fertilizer at half the recommended rate.

  • Pollination

    Loved by pollinators!
    A favorite of honey bees but also attracts bumble bees and small, native bees.

  • Harvesting

    Tastes mildly of cucumber.
    Harvest in the morning after dew dries but before the sun gets hot to retain the distinctive flavor.
    Use only young, tender leaves. As the leaves mature they become quite hairy.
    Eat flowers with or without fuzzy sepals. Remove sepals by pulling on stamens.
    Use both leaves and flowers in salad. The blooming tops and leaves can be steeped in boiling water for tea. 
    As a garnish, the flowers can be floated in iced tea or punch, or they can be candied for use on baked goods.
    Makes an attractive cut flower in bouquets.

  • Storage

    Best if used when fresh.
    Flowers can be frozen with water in ice cube trays to add to drinks.

  • Good Varieties for Marin

    Common borage (pictured above) is the most familiar.
    There is also a variegated variety with a more subtle blue flower and green leaves mottled with white. 
    Borage officinalis ‘Alba’ is a variety with white flowers.
    Creeping borage sprawls and is a short-lived perennial.

  • Helpful Tips

    While edible, this plant also attracts bees that pollinate other plants encouraging pollination of other plants in your garden. 
    If planted in a container, you can move the plant around the garden to encourage bees where needed.
    Borage is a prolific self-seeder, which means you will likely always have some in your garden after planting just once.
    As with all herbs start by consuming sparingly to be certain it can be tolerated. 

  • Common Problems

    If self-seeding produces too many plants or in undesirable places, volunteers are easily pulled. Wear gloves since stalks are
    Deadheading can prevent volunteers and encourage continuous bloom.

  • Pests- Diseases & More

    Not generally bothered by pests.
    Can be affected by mildew if there is not sufficient spacing to allow for air circulation.