The Bounty of Borage

Adding just a single borage plant to your garden will reward you with a variety of advantages all summer long.

Borage is one of the most popular plants for bees to visit and pollinate. Photo by Gennaro Leonardi Photography.

Borage (Borago officinalis) seems like nothing more than a pretty little flower to keep in your garden, but a true gardener knows the powerful benefits that this plant can pack. Borage provides nutrients for the garden, works wonderfully at attracting beneficial insects, and deters troublesome visitors. Additionally, it can be eaten or used for medicinal purposes.

Borage is an annual that you can sow directly in late spring or start earlier indoors before planting it out in your garden. If you wish to have borage in a certain location in your garden, it’s best to start it indoors and then transplant; borage tends to spread far and wide, so transplanting it later on gives you more control over its core location. It’s a resilient plant and can withstand extended wet or dry periods, but its mature size — 3 feet high and 2 feet wide — makes it susceptible to being blown over by the wind, so take that into account when planning its future location. Borage prefers anything from full sun to part shade, and has no special soil needs.

Although an annual, borage will readily reseed itself. Each year, I have a handful of seedlings that pop up throughout my gardens. I tend to leave only a few to grow where they wish, so long as they’re not in an inconvenient location; the others, I pull and add to the compost pile. Because it reseeds proficiently, you may find you only need to introduce borage to your garden once.

Be prepared for a big harvest; borage plants spread far and wide when planted outdoors. Photo by Getty Images/PicturePartners.

Beneficial Borage

It’s hard to believe that such a simple plant can have so many uses and benefits, but borage truly is the plant that keeps giving. I look forward to this beauty popping up in my garden every season, and I can hardly wait to reap its rich rewards.



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