Borage is a herb that has been used for centuries for its medicinal and culinary properties. It is also known as starflower due to its star-shaped blue flowers that bloom in the summer. Borage is an easy-to-grow plant that can be grown in almost any type of soil and requires minimal care.
In this article, we will discuss five reasons why you should consider growing borage in your garden.
From its edible leaves and flowers to its ability to attract pollinators, borage has many benefits that make it a valuable addition to any garden. Whether you are a seasoned gardener or just starting out, borage is a plant that is worth considering.
So, if you are interested in learning more about this versatile herb and how it can benefit your garden, keep reading to discover five reasons why you should grow borage.
Benefits of Growing Borage
Reason 1: Attracts Pollinators
Borage is a powerful attractor of pollinators, including bees, butterflies, and other beneficial insects.
The plant produces a lot of nectar and pollen, making it a valuable addition to any garden. You can improve pollination rates and increase yields by planting borage alongside other crops.
Reason 2: Use as a Mulch
Borage can be used as a natural mulch to help retain moisture, suppress weed growth and provide nutrition.
Simply chop up the leaves and stems and spread them around the base of your plants.
Borage grows fast and big, meaning you can cut it several times in a single season. Much like comfrey, the leaves are also packed with nutrients.
Reason 3: Edible and Nutritious
Borage is a highly nutritious herb that can be eaten raw or cooked. Both the leaves and the flowers are edible.
The flowers have a mild cucumber-like flavour and can be used in salads, soups, and stews. The flowers are also used as a garnish in drinks.
Borage is rich in vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, calcium, and potassium.
Reason 4: Companion Planting
Borage is an excellent companion plant for a range of crops, including tomatoes, cucumbers, and strawberries.
The plant’s strong scent reportedly repels pests such as tomato hornworms and cabbage moths, while its deep roots help to aerate the soil and improve nutrient uptake.
It is also an excellent insect attractor. This means it often brings in predatory insects such as hover flys, which prey on many common garden pests like aphids.
Reason 5: Nutrient Accumulator
Borage is a natural accumulator of nutrients, including nitrogen, potassium, and calcium.
By planting borage in your garden, you can help to improve soil fertility and reduce the need for synthetic fertilisers. The plant’s deep roots also help to break up compacted soil and improve drainage, making it an excellent choice for heavy clay soils.
How to Grow Borage
Borage is easy to grow and care for, making it a great addition to any garden. Here are the steps to follow for growing borage successfully:
Choosing the Right Location
Borage prefers full sun but can also grow in partial shade.
Choose a location that receives at least six hours of sunlight per day. It can grow in most soil types, but well-draining soil is essential.
Preparing the Soil
Borage grows best in soil that is rich in organic matter. Add compost or well-rotted manure to the soil before planting. The ideal soil pH is 6.5, but borage will grow in most soils..
Sow borage seeds directly into the ground after the last frost in early spring. Sow seeds a half-inch deep in well-draining soil.
If planting multiple rows, allow 12 to 18 inches of space between seeds. Prolong your growing season by staggering your plantings and sowing borage seeds every few weeks.
Watering and Fertilising
Water the planting area regularly to establish the seedlings. Borage doesn’t require feeding or much ongoing care at all.
Harvesting and Storing
Borage leaves and flowers can be harvested throughout the growing season.
Overall, borage is an easy-to-grow herb that has many culinary and medicinal uses. By following these simple steps, anyone can grow borage successfully.