Borage, Borago officinalis, is native to the Mediterranean region. It is also known as starflower, bee bush, bee bread, and tailwort. It is typically grown for its bright blue star-shaped flowers. The flowers and leaves have a cucumber-like flavor, and can be used in salads or as dessert or beverage garnishes. Pollinators are very attracted to the bright blue flowers.
How to grow
- Type: Summer annual
- Light: Full sun to partial shade
- Soil: Well drained; will tolerate poor soil
- Water: Dry to medium moisture; will tolerate some drought
- Size: 1–3' high x 9–18" wide
When to plant/propagate
- From seed: Sow seeds in early spring
- Propagation: Will readily self-seed once established
- Harvest leaves when young and tender. They quickly become coarse and hairy, giving them an unpleasant texture for eating.
- Harvest flowers as needed.
- Both leaves nor flowers lose their flavor when dried, so are best used fresh or frozen. Ice cubes with borage flowers make a pretty garnish for beverages.
Common pests & diseases
Indoors: Borage can be grown as an indoor plant with 5–6 hours of bright light from a sunny window, or 12–16 hours of supplemental light provided by cool white fluorescent or LED lamps. Borage has a tap root, so plant in a deep container.
Other: Borage is a historic medicinal herb and contains small amounts of pyrrolizidine alkaloids, which may cause liver issues when the plant is consumed as a major part of the diet
- Borago officinalis, Missouri Botanical Garden
- Borago officinalis, North Carolina State University Cooperative Extension