Borago officinalis


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From 8 ratings

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Key information

Plant type

Hardy annual

Flower colour





Half hardy

Skill level


Borago officinalis

Plant details

To ancient Greeks and Romans borage, Borago officinalis, was a potent medicinal herb guaranteeing courage in battle. Now, though, these casually sprawling plants are more grown for their ornamental and culinary value. Their open blue flowers add colour and flavour to summer drinks, while the young leaves are sometimes included in salads.

Borage flowers are particularly attractive to bees – after a bee has visited a flower it refills with nectar within two minutes, making borage a great pollinator-friendly plant for a small garden.

Grow Borago officinalis in moist but well-drained soil in full sun. Allow plants to self-seed before cutting down. 

Family: Boraginaceae

Genus: Borago

Species: officinalis

Plant type: Hardy annual

Flower colour: Blue

Foliage colour: Mid-green

Feature: Flowers

Sun exposure: Full sun, Partial shade

Soil: Well-drained/light, Clay/heavy, Acidic, Chalky/alkaline, Moist

Hardiness: Half hardy

Skill level: Beginner

Height: 60cm

Spread: 45cm

Time to plant seeds: March to May

Reader reviews


my borage plants have just flowered and they are beautiful, i didnt realise they would grow so big, but they are well worth the extra space that is needed.


I grew blue flowered Borage from seed a few years ago, it proved to be very easy, self seeded prolifically and the bees loved it. I am about to grow it again for the first time since moving here nearly 11 years ago. I'm also sowing some white flowered Borage this year as I've never grown it before.


My borage seems to have decided it's a perennial.
I grew from seed a few years ago, and planted it in a border. It has come up each year, despite the cold winters. Wonderful plant for the bees etc, though it does getting a bit big and unsightly.

Michael Sands

I grow this plant for the bumble bees as they love it.

Michael Sands

I grow this plant for the bumble bees as they love it.


Borage seeds contain an oil, typically 15 - 20% called GLA - Gamma Linoleic acid, similar to Safflower oil but a bit less concentrated, and has been used for centuries as a herbal remedy for various conditions. I eat the seeds (in moderation of course) look up on Wilkipedia for fascinating information. Bees love it and it is ideal for a 'wild corner' of the garden.


I'm experimenting with companion planting and have read that planting Borage with strawberries brings out the flavour of the strawberries. Has anyone had any experience with this?

daisy potts

The flowers are great decoration for cakes. I pop a few in pimms. Always good to enjoy the fruits of my labours

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