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Why Grow Borage in Your Garden

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Why grow borage in your garden?

We really can’t think of a reason why you wouldn’t want to grow borage in your garden!

Yes, borage may be a little bit prickly-fuzzy. But that’s easy to get past. That’s because easy-to-grow borage has so many wonderful qualities to offer!
honeybee on borage

Top 10 reasons we grow borage:

If you aren’t already convinced to grow borage in your food or ornamental garden, consider all this generous plant has to offer:

  1. Borage is a magnet for all the pollinators. In fact, borage lures in bumblebees, wasps, hover flies, hummingbirds & many others. Plus, they’ll come again and again. That’s because this plant’s flowers keep refilling with delicious nectar, fast.
  2. And planting borage near fruiting crops like tomatoes may mean you get more food. That’s because pollinators will visit all the flowers near your borage.
  3. Plus, borage is edible. And it tastes a bit like cucumber. Moreover, true blue borage flowers are gorgeous decorations on cakes and in salads.
  4. As well, borage has a thick, drill like root that breaks up dense soil. But, it isn’t hard to pull out to remove the plant. So once an annual borage plant fades for the season, it’s easy to pull out of the soil.
  5. Too, borage makes a fantastic black aphid lure trap. So, when you grow borage, they may help keep pests off of other crops. Plus, wild birds and wasps will feast on the pest insects.
  6. And borage forms tiny thistle-like seeds to feed wild birds.
  7. Plus, borage self-seeds. So, once you have borage, you’ll always have borage. But again, if it pops up where you don’t want it, it’s easy to remove.
  8. As well, once it self-seeds, you’re likely to have several generations of borage refresh your garden in just one season.
  9. Moreover, chickens love to feast on borage plants past their prime.
  10. Finally, bunnies and deer steer clear of borage, so that’s a great reason to grow borage!

Top Reasons to Grow Borage in Your Garden

Where to grow borage in your garden?

Borage does best in full sun. And, it usually gets to about 18″-24″ tall and wide. But, I’ve seen some stay much smaller and others get taller and wider. Often when they get tall, they will get top heavy and begin to flop over and crack apart. But, if the original begins to outgrow its space or time in your garden, a self-seeded baby borage is likely not far behind.

So when the older ones start looking their worst, just pull them out. And let the youngsters take their place! (And toss the ones you pull in with your hens to enjoy as a cucumbery snack.)

Can I transplant borage easily?

If you dig up very young seedlings, it may be possible to transplant borage babies from one part of the garden to the others. But the big root on larger plants doesn’t forgive being dug up. And those plants may simply wilt to the ground if you try to move them around. As well, if you buy a borage start that is already blooming, don’t be surprised if it doesn’t last long before giving up the ghost. It’s an annual after all. Really, growing it from seed is a great way to go!

Looking for true blue flowers?

Who doesn’t want a true blue flower in their garden? And, have you noticed how few flowers are really blue? Many blue flowers are actually tinted purple, but not borage. It’s truly blue. Sometimes, under stress, it will flush pink, but that’s more rare than common.

Rumors (or are they truths?) about borage?

You may have heard that borage deters tomato hornworm, and maybe it does. We’ve grown borage by our tomato plants for many years without a hornworm showing up once — but we have no proof that the borage is what kept the hornworm away. If you have experience with borage and hornworm, let us know!

Also, Robin’s mom always says, “Borage for courage!” She claims this is based on the idea that borage was fed to Roman soldiers before battle to give them the guts to fight. Whether that’s true or not, we hope it doesn’t really require a lot of courage on your part to grow borage in your own garden.

Try it from seed; it germinates readily and generously! And that’s the truth.

14 comments on “Why Grow Borage in Your Garden

  1. Mary Price on

    borage flowers turn pink after they have been pollinated, like pulmonaria. “a garden without borage is like a heart without courage” is the quote I am familiar with. I have also read that the plant accumulates calcium. when it gets bothersome (it can get quite large) I feed it to my chickens and yes, they love it

  2. Chris on

    Thanks for the informative article. I started borage in my garden last year. I didn’t realize how late the plants could get, but I did enjoy the beautiful blue flowers and all the bees they brought. This year they did come back as you promised. However, they are all full of aphids now, which I never had before. Where did they come from?! Should I just not grow the borage at all so that the aphids won’t contaminate my other plants?

  3. Garden Mentors on

    Borage is often grown as an aphid attractor. While doing this won’t guarantee that you don’t have aphids elsewhere in your garden, you can try building an isolated bed of borage to attract aphids away from other areas of the garden. And, you’ll be able to (likely) watch hummingbirds eat the aphids and feed from the borage flowers too!

  4. Garden Mentors on

    Mark, thanks for your question. We’ve added some notes on just this to the article. But, so you don’t have to dig through again: Borage usually gets about 18″-24″ tall, but it cn get bigger or stay much smaller. And, it’s a sun lover. Good luck & thanks for writing in.


    I grew borage this year and covered my allotment with it … the borage provided the happiest Summer with bees constantly visiting the beautiful blue flowers … the big ones do fall over but I staked them with old raspberry canes and yesterday I found a baby borage growing and transplanted it where it could grow undisturbed, it is fine …I have transplanted larger plants but have taken a block of soil out with them to avoid droop it works sometimes if you have one growing in the wrong place… mind you, I had one growing in a crack in the path and couldn’t bear to kill it and couldn’t get the seedling out , so I left it and it became big and beautiful and bee full , albeit in the way a little but who cares ! …I dried some borage flowers with camomile flowers … my question is how to dry the flowers so they stay the same colour and shape … does anyone know ? Janice

  6. Garden Mentors on

    Janice, I love your love of borage! They’re tough to dry, but it can me done. Harvest when they’re dry. Carefully place them on a drying screen with the petals spread out and seed side up. Allow them to dry passively in dry space. It takes careful work, and a toothpick can help with spreading the petals. But, keeping them this shape when they’re dry may be very tough because they’re so delicate. Good luck. Let us know how it works out for you.

  7. Gary on

    I saw this strange, interesting plant in my wild flower patch and found out it is borage. Something of a super food and as I’m asthmatic, quite interesting. Had a nibble on the flowers, quite nice. Tried the leaves. Not a fan. So, I’ll expand the wild flower patch a bit and let borage have some fun. Gonna call my borage Boris, ‘cus it has a mad mop of ‘hair’ looks a bit droopy and might just last the winter.

  8. Ross Abram on

    Be warned! Once you’ve got it it’s a devil to get rid of. I planted some two years ago and it’s still coming up. I wish I had never seen it, Leave it to the farmers.

  9. Garden Mentors on

    Thanks for sharing your experience Ross. In our experience, while Borage will generously self-seed, it’s very easy to remove unwanted plants. Plus, we find the benefits it provides easily outweighs any easy-to-pull “weeding” it might also give. Hope you can find the silver linings in this wonderful plant too!

  10. Meg Hayward on

    I picked a big bunch of borage to adorn my kitchen table.
    Soon after my home was full , absolutely FULL of blow flies. Do you see this as coincidence or are the two related ?

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