Quick Facts About Growing Borage
- Spacing apart: 24-26 inches apart
- Propagation: Seed is easy and can be direct sown once the soil has warmed up
- Harvesting: Flowers when “just opened” can be used as edible flowers and garnishes. Leaves when young and tender
- Use: cucumber-tasting leaves in salads and leaves as edible flowers
Borage belongs in both the vegetable and flower garden because it is both useful and extremely attractive.
I can’t imagine a garden without it (I put mine in the annual flower garden).
Growing Borage from Seed
Borage is really easily germinated from seed and because of this and the fact that it grows very quickly (getting rootbound, stretched out and harder to transplant) it should never be purchased as a starter plant. Besides, it is far cheaper growing borage from seed directly in the garden.
Plant the seed outdoors in late May. It does like a warmer soil to germinate so do not rush the season. Sow approximately one-quarter inch deep and at several seeds to the inch. Cover the seeds and gently firm the soil on top of them.
When the plants are up and approximately three to five inches tall, thin the seedlings to the strongest plant every twelve to fourteen inches. Give this plant quite a bit of room as it is base branching and
will send up large leafy shoots. Crowding your growing borage may lead to leaf fungus problems.
A mature plant will grow three feet tall and will self-sow all summer if you let it. Some gardeners in warmer climates will have this plant self-sow in the garden although it never did this for me in USDA zone 4.
Use the cucumber-tasting leaves fresh in drinks. Some gardeners recommend them as “greens” but you’ll want to stir-fry these greens before using them (they leaves are “raspy”).
The flowers can be used in drinks or candied. I quite like blue borage flowers in my lemonade.
Borage is reputed to be a gentle laxative. The blue flowers are very attractive and this plant can easily find a place in the flower border as well as the herb garden.
“According to old wives’ tales, borage was sometimes smuggled into the drink of prospective husbands to give them the courage to propose marriage.”
Mary Campbell, A Basket of Herbs