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 50°F and 77°F. (Show °C/cm)
  • Space plants: 8 inches 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

11 Jan 11, Marlene (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Borage has self sown all over the garden however all the plants are thin and straggly and look very different to the vigerous and beautiful parent plants. Does anyone know why this would happen?
23 Feb 11, (Australia - temperate climate)
I have heaps of self-sown borage. It looks very pretty, but has anyone found a use for it?
24 Feb 11, borage back at ya (Australia - cool/mountain climate)
If the borage has flowers still (mine was dying off a while ago), you can pick them. You can use many of them by using them in salads. Or you could use as a garnish. (The flowers are totally edible by the way.) When I was a kid, if we had special drinks or made a big bowl of punch, we would always put borage flowers in to pretty it up. An effective way to pick them is to pluck the flower by the black stamens/spikes. This way the flower comes away easily and leaves behind in green part of the plant. :)
24 Feb 11, Dominique Chanovre (Australia - temperate climate)
Borage is a dynamic accumulator, it is great at absorbing nutrients from the soil. So you pull up the plant, soak in water and make a tea which you use on your plants as a fertiliser. The flowers are also edible.
09 Aug 11, Graham (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Very interesting Dominique. Do you know of any other uses for Borage?
24 Feb 11, Sue (Australia - temperate climate)
Thanks for the answers. Now I'll make tea for my veggie plants and as I still have flowers, pretty salads for myself. Don't think my stick-in-the-mud husband will eat flowers though!
25 Aug 11, Elizabeth (Australia - temperate climate)
Bodage is a great companion plant for strawberries.
18 Oct 11, Sophie Molnar (Australia - temperate climate)
I have just started my kitchen garden. The only place I could have it is in the front yard.I removed all the rocks and black matting, its all been dug over with compost added. It took four weekends to do. I have planted quite a few strawberries( about 30 plants), in one whole section. The borage sounds like a good idea. What can I use this for other than to be kind to my strawberries and encourage then to reward me with lots of fruit. In my other side of my garden I have parsley, sage, garlic chives, chives, capsicum (3 from last year that I planted in a pot too late) and 2 tomato plants, (one that I planted too late last year and it was also in a pot) and three baby asparagus plants, ( I have taken on board the three year wait, I was told that by a customer when I purchased my asparagus). I have also planted many, many petunas on either side of my two new garden beds, until such time as I know what to plant. I don't really want to waste the water on just flowers. Any suggestions, I live in South Australia in the Western suburbs. And I'm a newbee at this. Any help will be greatly appreciated.
28 Oct 11, Duncan (New Zealand - cool/mountain climate)
Borage is a dynamic accumulator, which means that it collects and stores a lot of nutrients within its biomass. It sends down a long taproot, extracting nutrients from the sub-soil and massing them within the plant. The easiest way to benifit from this is to simply cut the plant back and use it as mulch. Also, the small leaves and be eaten within salads etc, and the larger ones cooked like spinach/silverbeets. They have a slight cucumber flavour to them. The flowers contain a chemical thought to help prevent cancers, although this could use more research.
04 Mar 12, Eve (Australia - cool/mountain climate)
I have heard you can make a borage tea which has positive medicinal properties. A quick google will provide information as the site would not let me paste a link. I feed my chooks borage from time to time among other herbs and vegetable greens.
Showing 1 - 10 of 51 comments

Ask a question or post a comment or advice about Borage

Please provide your email address if you are hoping for a reply

All comments are reviewed before displaying on the site, so your posting will not appear immediately

Gardenate App

Put Gardenate in your pocket. Get our app for iPhone, iPad or Android to add your own plants and record your plantings and harvests

Planting Reminders

Join 60,000+ gardeners who already use Gardenate and subscribe to the free Gardenate planting reminders email newsletter.

Home | Vegetables and herbs to plant | Climate zones | About Gardenate | Contact us | Privacy Policy

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.
We cannot help if you are overrun by giant slugs.