Borage is a less common flowering herb with beautiful blue flowers. It’s easy to start from seed and grow in your garden. This uncommon herb offers many benefits both in the garden and holistically in the home. Learn why you should grow borage and how to plant and grow this herb from seed.
How to Grow Borage
Borage is an annual with a cucumber taste originally from a Mediterranean climate. Normally producing blue flowers, there is another variety that also produces white flowers. These plants are self seeding, so although they are annuals, it’s common for them to re-seed and grow back year after year.
Growing Borage from Seed
Borage seeds can be started indoors, or sown directly into the soil after the last date of frost. Plant seeds 1/4 to 1/2 inch deep. Germination for borage usually take 7-10 days with soil temperatures of 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
Plant these herbs 15 inches apart as they can grow to a maturity of 3 feet tall and 12 inches wide.
Soil and Sun Conditions for Borage
This herb prefers nutrient rich, well drained soil. Borage likes a full-sun location, but can still thrive in partial shade as long as it stays warm enough. They prefer a soil pH of 6.0-7.0, but can adapt to slight changes in that range.
Borage likes to be watered regularly, but doesn’t like to have wet roots. Water a couple times a week and be sure that your soil drains well for the most success.
If you clip the tops off your borage plant, you can encourage the herb to grow bushier instead of growing taller. This, however, will prevent your plant from flowering as heavily.
Pests and Diseases
Borage is hardy and pretty resilient to most pests and diseases. However, there are still a few issues that can effect this flowering herb.
Aphids, Japanese beetles and grasshoppers tend to be the only pests that bother these plants. Japanese beetles and grasshoppers can be kept away with chickens, or you can remove them yourself. Aphids can be killed using neem oil, spray liberally and frequently until you no longer see aphids.
Borage doesn’t really suffer from any diseases. However, like any plant, it can suffer from mildew if there is not enough circulation in the garden. Do not crowd your plants, and this will not be a problem. If you discover mildew, remove the leaves and trim back plants to encourage air flow.
Root and stem rot can also be a problem if the plant is overwatered. Do not allow the plant to sit in water, and be sure your soil drains well.
Borage is edible and has medicinal properties. If you are interested in harvesting, both the leaves and the flowers are edible. Leaves can be harvested at any time once the borage has grown to full size.
Flowers can be harvested at any time, but growing additional borage plants can provide more flowers for harvest. If you are using borage to attract pollinators, leave the flowers as they provide a nice source of pollen for bees and butterflies.
The Benefits of Growing Borage
Borage is a great plant to have in the garden, it’s also useful in the home. Check out the many reasons borage should be added to your garden this season.
This flowering herb is a great companion plant in the garden. Borage is great at attracting predatory insects such as bees and tiny wasps. This helps repel tomato worms and cabbage worms.
It’s also said that borage improves the flavor of strawberries and tomatoes, by adding specific nutrients to the soil.
Plant borage with: Tomatoes, Cabbage, Squash and Strawberries.
The immature leaves and flowers are both edible and have a lovely cucumber taste. They are a great addition to salads or used as a garnish in drinks or on dishes.
The leaves are also ground up and steeped, used in herbal tea.
The benefits of borage are seen most when eaten or used fresh. Dried borage offers little benefit.
Borage is said to improve your immune system and help regulate hormones. Borage is high in vitamins A and C, helping your body build up a defense against outward threats.
This herb is also great at reducing inflammation. Eat these flowers and leaves daily or use them daily in a tea to prevent inflammation in the body. This is especially helpful with arthritis, and even inflammation and itching on the skin.
Creating a poultice with borage leaves can help relieve insect bites by relieving the irritation and itching through contract with the skin.
Growing this wonderful herb can offer so many benefits to your garden, as it acts as a companion plant. It’s also great to have in the home for culinary uses and for homemade teas and tinctures. Growing borage from seed and easy and the plants are deer resistant, making it a great option for your garden!
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