Also known as
Cool Tankard, Talewort, Tailwort, Beebread, Beeplant, Common Borage, Starflower
Borago officinalis. Locatie, De Kruidhof by Dominicus Johannes Bergsma (CC BY-SA 4.0)
1 years to reach maturity
This plant has a mild fragrance
More images of Borage
Borago officinalis is commonly known as Borage, it is a pretty, coarsely hairy, herbaceous annual plant from the Boraginaceae family that has a variety of uses, both culinary and medicinal. The leaves and star-shaped flowers are both edible and taste of cucumber and honey respectively. This plant also deters hornworms from laying eggs on tomatoes, making them a great companion plant. Borage is great for beginner gardeners and those that like low maintenance gardens. Borage was once used to flavour wine and was historically used to give men courage. This species is part of the Royal Horticultural Society “Plants for Pollinators” initiative to showcase plants which support pollinator populations by providing ample amounts of nectar and/ or pollen. A great choice for encouraging pollinating insect wildlife into your garden!
Common problems with Borage
Foliage may be damaged by slugs, leaf-mining flies or affected by powdery mildew. Overall pest and disease resistant.
Borage Companion Plants
Strawberries, eggplant, tomatoes, gourds, cucumber
How to harvest Borage
Harvest leaves throughout the year and flowers during the summer and autumn, preferably in the morning. Borage should only be used fresh, as it loses its flavour once dried. Leave flowers to self-seed after flowering.
How to propagate Borage
The flowers can be cut at the stalks and put into dry paper bags to help them dry out over a couple of weeks. When the flower heads are completely dry, shake the bag to release the seeds from the heads and remove the dead flowers. Sow seeds shallowly in spring or summer. Germination takes 7-10 days.
Divide rootstocks in spring.
Plant shoot cuttings in summer or autumn in sandy soil in a cold frame.
Special features of Borage
Attracts useful insects
Known to attract bees.
Borage is a light feeder and plants do not need a lot of nutrients.
Repels harmful insects
Great plant for short tongued bumblebees and honeybees
Other uses of Borage
Culinary, medicinal, compost improver This plant suits being included in planting schemes for exposed or sheltered locations with east, south or west-facing aspects or wildlife-friendly gardens, informal and cottage gardens or mixed flower borders.
Annuals are mostly, self seeders and flower every year giving you lots of bang for your buck.