Borage is such a beautiful plant, and, also, one that I have grown. I love when it starts to bloom and all the bees come around for a nice, luxurious sip of its nectar. This beauty self-seeds, so if you don’t want it slowly taking over a portion of your gardening area, you’ll want to make sure you clip those flower buds before they have a chance to seed.
Borage is extremely easy to grow. It has some preferences but will grow in almost any soil, though soil that is too wet will make the plant rot. In the vegetable garden, sprinkling these seeds around and raking them into the soil will provide a great bee attractant for pollinating your veggie plants, resulting in higher yields, especially when it comes to squash, strawberries, cabbages, and tomatoes. This plant is also great for keeping horn worms away from your tomato plants and cabbage worms away from your cabbage. At the end of the season, pull the plants (they’re an annual) and mix them into your compost pile. This will add calcium and potassium to the compost, which will enhance your vegetables the following year, and the seeds left in the soil from the previous year will grow more borage, bringing more bees, more veggies, etc. There is no waste with this multi-purpose herb.
The leaves are said to have a cucumber taste to them that goes nicely in salads, though only the young leaves should be used because, as the leaves mature, they become covered with a prickly fuzzy. The flowers may also be added to salad for a unique look and the light cucumber taste they provide, but use moderation until you know how ingesting the flower affects you. The flowers are said to have a mild laxative effect. Flowers may also be added to soups, dips, drinks, and frozen inside ice cubes for a very unique, colorful, and pleasing appearance.
Borage essential oil is derived from the seeds. Though most commonly used as a carrier oil (an oil used to dilute essential oils so that they may be used safely on the skin), borage has some wonderful medicinal properties itself. The oil acts as a moisturizer, providing relief of dry skin, psoriasis, and eczema, and also has some anti-inflammatory properties. Though I’ve never tried this myself, borage oil is known to cause an uplifting, almost euphoric, effect and may help with managing mood swings.
Whether used in the vegetable garden or the flower garden, borage is a great addition to any garden. Because of its amazing bee attracting abilities, I think it should be a part of any garden and, with its beautiful, blue/purple flower, will bring a smile to everyone.