Growing Borage, also Burrage, Bugloss

Borago officinalis : Boraginaceae / the borage family

Jan F M A M J J A S O N Dec

(Best months for growing Borage in USA - Zone 5a regions)

  • P = Sow seed
  • Easy to grow. Sow in garden. Sow seed at a depth approximately three times the diameter of the seed. Best planted at soil temperatures between 10°C and 25°C. (Show °F/in)
  • Space plants: 20 cm apart
  • Harvest in 8-10 weeks. Use leaves before flowers appear, otherwise they will be 'hairy'. .
  • Compatible with (can grow beside): Strawberry, tomatoes, zucchini/squash. Deters pests from many plants.
  • Borage (CC BY-SA 2.0 David Wright)
  • Borage flowers

A tall, attractive plant, often grown in flowerbeds. Bright blue star-shaped edible flowers. Grow in a sunny spot with well drained fertile soil. Borage dies down in the winter, but probably you will not need to buy any more seeds as it self seeds quite vigorously and spreads around the garden. Luckily, it is so attractive that it adds to the general design.

Will grow almost anywhere but prefers well-drained soil. Can be transplanted when young but older plants do not move well.

Culinary hints - cooking and eating Borage

Has a slight cucumber taste which goes well in salads and when cooked with silverbeet or cabbage.
The flowers make a pretty drink decoration when frozen in an iceblock.

Your comments and tips

04 Jan 24, Linda (United Kingdom - warm/temperate climate)
Something is nibbling my overwintering borage! Some tiny insect is invading it. What might it be and how do I stop it, please?
19 Jan 24, Celeste Archer (Canada - Zone 5a Temperate Warm Summer climate)
It's probably aphids --- you didn't give a description -- but aphids LOVE borage. Additionally, ANTS enslave aphids, placing them on borage. Ants can tear the wings off of aphids. A recent study has shown that ants can use semiochemicals to stop the aphids from developing wings and to impede their ability to walk away. Ants farm aphids because they produce honeydew, a sugar-rich material that fulfills the nutritional requirement of ants. Your best course of action is to: Support the plant with one hand, and use a blast of water from a watering hose to wash the aphids off the plants. You need to take action immediately as the aphids are feeding on your plants. If the aphids are on a fruit/veggie bearing plant their feeding impedes the ability of the plant to produce nice fruits since its energies are being used to battle the aphids (or their energy is being sucked up by the aphids). Your aphid situation will MOST LIKELY GET WORSE is you ignore it... they multiple pretty quickly.
03 Jan 22, Barbara (New Zealand - sub-tropical climate)
Although all the plant books say borage is pest free, I find that for some years now it has been colonised in my Auckland garden by a leaf miner, presumably the echium leaf miner Dialectica scariella ,self introduced here from Australia 20 odd years ago. They were trying it over there as a biological control for Paterson's curse ( didn't work very well). This infestation causes really unsightly brown patches on the leaves. I have noticed it also on my Pride of Madeira, another echium, but since those leaves are bigger it is not so obvious.
19 Oct 21, Phillip (Australia - temperate climate)
I live in Perth which has hot dry summers. Borage may not survive direct sunlight and heat through the day. The planting location will be hence and with espaliered citrus….?
20 Oct 21, (Australia - temperate climate)
Plant where they might receive some shade morning or afternoon. When hot water more often.
31 Jul 20, Rita (Australia - temperate climate)
Contrary to the growing season of Borage I'm in Central Victoria and we have had it growing since autumn rains came. We have had several severe frosts this season and it is still going gang busters. I have noticed though that there is tending not to be seeds being produced, most likely from the lack of bees around in the cold. Something to do with climate change maybe?
03 Aug 20, Anonymous (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
This website is only a general guide for planting. DO read the statement at the bottom of the page, local conditions come into play. I (and I am not part of Gardenate) believe most of the planting guidance here is from soil temperatures required to germinate seeds. People say don't plant corn until it is warmer weather, probably Sept/Oct. I had corn self germinate in my garden two weeks ago, middle of winter. Tomatoes another warm weather crop has been germinating all winter. I had borage last autumn/winter, was going no where until the winter solstice then it took off, plants 1.5m wide and 1m high. The year before I has 1 bee come each morning, with the borage I had 80-100. Disease has wiped out a big % of the worlds bees. Plant some flowers etc to encourage them to come to your garden and increase their numbers. Miss used words, climate change, where I live, is it changing from sub-tropical to tropical, I don't think so.
07 Jun 20, Mateo G Gomez (USA - Zone 8a climate)
Hello, I live in the american southwest so I don't have the ability to grow in ground. I really want to grow borage and see the beautiful blue flowers and use it as a calming recipe in my teas. Is there any tips you could give me please? Best wishes Mateo G. Gomez.
08 Jun 20, Chris (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Hi Mateo, Borage is pretty tough and will grow easily in a container.
23 Apr 20, Susan (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Please note that bugloss is an echium. Think Vipers Bugloss (Echium vulgare), common in Otago and also makes great honey; and Pride of Madeira (Echium candicans). The Boraginaceae was split into eleven distinct families in 2016, of about 2000 trees shrubs and herbs including comfrey and forget-me-not - see the wikipedia entry for more information.
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This planting guide is a general reference intended for home gardeners. We recommend that you take into account your local conditions in making planting decisions. Gardenate is not a farming or commercial advisory service. For specific advice, please contact your local plant suppliers, gardening groups, or agricultural department. The information on this site is presented in good faith, but we take no responsibility as to the accuracy of the information provided.
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