Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Borage
Borago officinalis

Family: Boraginaceae
Genus: Borago (bor-AH-go) (Info)
Species: officinalis (oh-fiss-ih-NAH-liss) (Info)

11 vendors have this plant for sale.

84 members have or want this plant for trade.

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12-18 in. (30-45 cm)
24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

6-9 in. (15-22 cm)
18-24 in. (45-60 cm)

Not Applicable

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun


Bloom Color:
Medium Blue

Bloom Time:
Late Spring/Early Summer
Mid Summer
Late Summer/Early Fall
Blooms repeatedly


Other details:
Flowers are fragrant
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall

Seed Collecting:
Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds
Wear gloves to protect hands when handling seeds
Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored

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There are a total of 60 photos.
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20 positives
3 neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive FlowerGem1 On Apr 15, 2014, FlowerGem1 from San Francisco, CA wrote:

Borage is such an easy plant to grow. I've grown it successfully in both part shade and in full sun. I grow it specifically to eat the flowers, which are delicate and delicious. The plant can look scraggly after awhile, so I plant some new seeds ever month or so to get the healthy, new plants growing and I just pull up or cut back the old plants when they start to look awful. Bees love this plant.

Positive Kim_M On Jul 10, 2013, Kim_M from Hamburg, PA (Zone 6b) wrote:

I love the smell of borage....It has a light cucumber scent. I make borage tea (tisane) from the leaves and flowers. I chop and dry the leaves and store them dry. It has such a smooth crisp taste and one of my favorite teas. It's been traditionally used to make a tea to rid the body of a fever. But also has been said to promote lactation, possessing anti-inflammatory properties, and helping relieve cold symptoms. Including making you feel happy after drinking a cup of borage tea :-)

Positive crwilley On Apr 17, 2013, crwilley from Pittsfield Township, MI (Zone 6a) wrote:

I grew borage from seed in 2007 or 2008. I planted two, and got absolutely monstrous plants from the seeds. I never saw the plants without 3-4 bees buzzing around them. I got really good yields off my tomatoes that year.

The one complaint? The next year, I had about 20 seedlings come up in that area, and some as far as 10-12 feet away. I didn't want borage there, and pulled out whatever seedlings I could find. I don't think I missed any, but the year after that, I was still finding borage seedlings, and the year after that, I was still finding borage seedlings... I think they're finally licked... but on the bright side if you like the plant and like where you put it, that one packet of seeds will last you a lifetime.

Positive rntx22 On Mar 20, 2013, rntx22 from Houston, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

Purchased this last October & planted it in part sun. It survived winter with
No special care at all. Once it started warming up it has grown rapidly & now has flower buds. Very carefree plant, I really haven't had to do much to it & it is very happy.

Positive arsilab On Jul 31, 2011, arsilab from Paddock Lake, WI wrote:

The plant was easy to grow, beautiful, even though i might have confused it with a weed when it first appears. I have done some research on it and apparently the richer the soil, the more spiky it is. It is great for bath infusions, it is anti-inflammatory and relaxing in the tub.

Positive thetripscaptain On Jul 7, 2011, thetripscaptain from Racine, WI (Zone 5a) wrote:

The vegetative growth of Borage is rather weedy, but the flowers are very nice blue stars with dark red stems. The entire plant is covered in trichomes which makes me not really want to eat it even though the tag says it is edible. I am aware this has medicinal uses of some sort but I don't know exactly what they are. This year I just grew it as an ornamental piece and I am rather pleased with it. Does well in a clump of five or six plants growing in a large container.

Positive imapigeon On Oct 11, 2009, imapigeon from Gilroy (Sunset Z14), CA (Zone 9a) wrote:

Although this plant self-sows a little too readily in my garden, it makes up for it with its beautiful blue blooms, and by being a bee-magnet in early spring when my fruit trees are coming into bloom. The seedlings are easy to pull, and I've ready that it is a particularly good plant to add to compost. Around here, it blooms again in the fall.

Positive bonehead On Jul 13, 2009, bonehead from Cedarhome, WA (Zone 8b) wrote:

I find this a happy-go-lucky plant that self sows itself at will. It is easy to pull out unwanted plants, and I typically thin them to not closer than 3 feet from another one, which adds a touch of blue throughout my herb labyrinth without having the borage become a thug. Attracts bees. Try sugaring the blossoms (paint with egg white, dip in superfine sugar, let dry).

Deb, Pacific Northwest

Positive lehua_mc On Jun 18, 2009, lehua_mc from Portland, OR (Zone 8b) wrote:

I've started mine from seed on Memorial Day, courtesy Territorial Seed Company, and they are just about leaping out of the ground. Talk about instant gratification!...and update, victim of my own success. They grew 3-4' tall, massive, and then with over 100 degree heat and erratic watering (and water-er), they have all fallen, with all the vigor of the vegetable they are. Crushed you can really get a good whiff of the cucumber!

Neutral Robubba On Dec 30, 2008, Robubba from Moulton, IA wrote:

It's a good companion with most plants. Tomatoes, squash, and strawberries are good companions. Attracts bees and wasps like chocolate for children. Deters hornworms and cabbage worms. It might increase its neighboring plant's resistance to disease and pests. Borage is said to increase flavor of strawberries.

Positive Anitabryk2 On Apr 24, 2007, Anitabryk2 from Long Island, NY (Zone 6b) wrote:

This plant winter sowed very well.

Positive htop On Mar 23, 2007, htop from San Antonio, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

Borage (Borago officinalis), an intorduced native plant in many states, makes a beautiful showing in late winter and spring in my area. In warmer regions, plant the seeds in October so the plants bloom in the cool months. In areas with cold weather, the seeds can be planted in the spring. It is a great nectar plant for adult butterflies. The foliage and flowers do not emit a fragrance; however, they produce a fresh, cucumber like flavor. After seedlings are up and prospeing, keep the soil on the dry side because over-watering will kill the plants. This plant does not transplant ell because of its deep taproot. The plants might get very top-heavy and need support. It can crush smaller plants nearby or shade late-growing herbs causing them to not prosper.

Borage is high in calcium and potassium . But, when consumed over a long period of time and in large quantities, liver damage and/or liver cancer can occur. So, use in moderation and persons that have liver problems woud be wise to avoid eating this plant.

Positive jenhillphoto On Jul 20, 2006, jenhillphoto from Danbury, CT (Zone 6a) wrote:

I have borage in my vegetable garden to attract pollinators. Bees love it. Once the borage flowered, I had plenty of bees in my garden. I can see them milling around it from my window in the morning. The blossoms are indeed very pretty. I'm sure I will have lots of little borages popping up next year and that is fine with me.

Wanted to add. Looked out the window the other day and there was a hummingbird checking out my borage. He stayed a while going from flower to flower. The best look at a hummer I've ever had.

Neutral dyrdiegyrl On Jul 15, 2006, dyrdiegyrl from Leicester, MA wrote:

This plant does seem to trip along it's own path in my garden, it does almost as well in part shade as full sun. I've seen hummingbirds attracted to it. The compost pile chomps up it's mineral rich leaves.

Positive sltxgardener On Feb 12, 2006, sltxgardener from Sugar Land, TX wrote:

I planted this is late fall '05 from a 4" pot. It is now 18" tall and at least 12" around and has beautiful blue blooms in winter. It still looks great after a light overnight freeze.

Positive AlaskaGirl On Aug 13, 2004, AlaskaGirl from Fort Wainwright, AK wrote:

I found the Borage in several garden beds in Interior Alaska (Fairbanks). They were very hardy and blooming profusely. We are quickly heading into fall with cool early morning temperatures (50F) which warm to 70F in the afternoon.

Positive Popi On Aug 13, 2004, Popi from Sevilla
Spain wrote:

This plant grows wild in Spain. From late winter to late spring.

Positive csirmons On Jul 14, 2004, csirmons from Novato, CA wrote:

I found this plant growing in my mom's un-cared for pile of dirt backyard in Novato. I think the area might of gotten a bit of water when the concrete was poured for a patio - but otherwise they are thriving (and spreading) completely without my help!

Positive bill_casey On Jun 12, 2004, bill_casey from Valdosta, GA (Zone 8a) wrote:

Very easy plant to grow and flowers are a nice blue.

Positive hashash On Dec 16, 2003, hashash from Cairo
Egypt wrote:

I finished my (MS.c) Master degree in Agriculture science on Borage plant & i found alots of surprised, for more information pls. Don't hesitate to contact me on my e.mail:, or my mobile:+20101634433

yaser hashash

Positive welshherblady On Sep 21, 2002, welshherblady from Isle of Anglesey,North Wales
United Kingdom (Zone 8a) wrote:

Be aware that Borage self seeds itself everywhere.

Positive Weezingreens On Aug 7, 2002, Weezingreens from Seward, AK (Zone 3b) wrote:

I greatly enjoy borage plants every year, though I don't utilize them for culinary purposes. The tall, course stems and leaves are an interesting contrast to the beautiful starlike blue flowers. It will always have a place in my garden... especially since it self-seeds so readily!

Neutral Baa On Sep 26, 2001, Baa wrote:

An erect, bristly annual which is native to Southern Europe but is widely naturalised.

Has large, ovate - lanceolate, mid green leaves covered in stiff hairs as they age (walk barefoot with caution). The further up the main stem the leaves become stalkless, clasping and much smaller and pointed. Bears small, star shaped, 5 petalled blue flowers which face downwards. Buds have a soft, downy white appearance. Anthers are purple/black and shaped into a cone.

Flowers anytime between April and September

It favours well drained, poorish soils in full sun.

Borage is the traditional flower of courage and imparts cheerfulness. Ladies would embroider silk hankerchiefs with borage flowers as 'favours' for jousters and soldiers who would collect them as they were dropped.

Borage for Courage is an old saying which appears to have some truth as a chemical present acts on the adrenal gland.

It was used to treat lung problems, chest disorders, cleanse blood, reduce fever, make a good gargle for sore throats and mouth ulcers as well as being good for sore eyes when made into a tea/lotion. Cosmetically it makes a good bath water. The plant must be young and fresh for any use and even now it is used for the above by herbalists.

The young leaves (non-prickly) have a slight cucumber taste and can be used as such in salads and sandwiches. The flowers are also edible but the black parts need to be removed, they make a great summer decoration in ice cubes for cold drinks. The flowers were also made into a drink and tart desserts.

Its a very useful companion plant as bees adore it and will spend much time fliting around a patch of borage. Borage and strawberries encourage each other in growth and it deters tomato worm too.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

, (2 reports)
Fort Wainwright, Alaska
Seward, Alaska
Phoenix, Arizona
Alameda, California
Amesti, California
Berkeley, California
Cypress, California
Encinitas, California
Laguna Beach, California
Long Beach, California
Martinez, California
Merced, California
Novato, California
Oakland, California
Sacramento, California (2 reports)
San Anselmo, California
San Francisco, California (2 reports)
San Jose, California
San Leandro, California
Santa Clara, California
Willits, California
Danbury, Connecticut
Wilmington, Delaware
Delray Beach, Florida
Oviedo, Florida
Carrollton, Georgia
Valdosta, Georgia
Winnetka, Illinois
Indianapolis, Indiana
Peru, Indiana
Brodhead, Kentucky
Calvert City, Kentucky
New Orleans, Louisiana
South China, Maine
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Bay City, Michigan
Aurora, Missouri
Belton, Missouri
Saint Louis, Missouri
Billings, Montana
Red Lodge, Montana
Bayville, New Jersey
Roswell, New Mexico
Deposit, New York
Ronkonkoma, New York
Elizabeth City, North Carolina
Pineville, North Carolina
Raleigh, North Carolina
Toledo, Ohio
Boise City, Oklahoma
Hulbert, Oklahoma
Portland, Oregon
Salem, Oregon (2 reports)
Wilsonville, Oregon
Brookhaven, Pennsylvania
Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania
Heath Springs, South Carolina
Belton, Texas
Houston, Texas (2 reports)
Pearland, Texas
San Antonio, Texas
Salt Lake City, Utah
Leesburg, Virginia
Kalama, Washington
Seattle, Washington
Stanwood, Washington
Yakima, Washington
Milwaukee, Wisconsin (2 reports)
Racine, Wisconsin
Salem, Wisconsin

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