Cool Tankard, Talewort, Tailwort, Beebread, Beeplant, Common Borage, Starflower
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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!
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.
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.
Attracts useful insects
Known to attract bees.
Borage is a light feeder and plants do not need a lot of nutrients.
Repels harmful insects
Western Mediterranean, Syria
Warm to temperate
Full Sun, Partial Shade, Partial Sun
Chalk, Clay, Loam, Sand
Soil PH preference
Culinary, medicinal, compost improver
Purple, Pink, Blue
Foliage may be damaged by slugs, leaf-mining flies or affected by powdery mildew. Overall pest and disease resistant.
Strawberries, eggplant, tomatoes, gourds, cucumber