Growing borage belongs in both the herb and flower garden because it is both useful and extremely attractive.
I can’t imagine a garden without it.
How To Grow Borage from Seed
Borage is really easily germinated from seed and because of this and the fact that it grows very quickly (getting rootbound, stretched out and harder to transplant), it should never be purchased as a starter plant. Besides, it is far cheaper growing borage from seed and sowing it directly into the garden.
Caveat: The only time I’d buy started plants is if it were one of the newer variegated varieties that do not come true from seed.
How To Start Seed Indoors
- Plant on the surface of soil and cover with 1/4 inch of soilless mix
- Keep warm – a seed mat will increase your germination considerably
- Transplant when the seedling has four true leaves (not before and not after as seedlings can resent being moved)
- Give it full light right from the beginning.
How To Start Borage Seed Outdoors
Plant the seed outdoors in late May. It does like a warmer soil to germinate so do not rush the season. Sow approximately one-quarter inch deep and at several seeds to the inch. Cover the seeds and gently firm the soil on top of them.
When the plants are up and approximately three to five inches tall, thin the seedlings to the strongest plant every twelve to fourteen inches. Give this plant quite a bit of room as it is base branching and will send up large leafy shoots. Crowding your growing borage may lead to leaf fungus problems.
A mature plant will grow three feet tall and will self-sow all summer if you let it. Some gardeners in warmer climates will have this plant self-sow in the garden although it never did this for me in USDA zone 4.
How To Use Borage Right Out Of Your Herb Garden
Use the cucumber-tasting leaves fresh in drinks. Some gardeners recommend them as “greens” but you’ll want to stir-fry these greens before using them (the leaves are “raspy”).
The flowers can be used in drinks or candied. I quite like blue borage flowers in my lemonade.
Borage is reputed to be a gentle laxative.
The blue flowers are very attractive and this plant can easily find a place in the flower border as well as the herb garden.