Sparkling sky-blue blooms dance atop the fuzzy stems and leaves of borage. A delicate beauty in the garden, annual borage faithfully comes back from seed each year, quickly filling in empty spaces. (Deadhead flowers or pull seedlings judiciously in spring if volunteers are not to your liking.) Harvest its edible flowers to beautify salads, summer drinks, or desserts. Toss borage blooms onto fanned tomato and mozzarella slices for a festive Fourth of July feast. Freeze flowers in ice cubes to decorate drinks with cool color. Use the leaves (which taste somewhat like cucumber) in salads and cold drinks. BTW: Borage will flower indoors in containers if given heat and plenty of light.
Using Borage in the Garden
Plant borage in the herb garden where it will add height above parsley, thyme, oregano, and other ground-hugging herbs. Borage is also a valuable addition to the perennial garden where its clean, medium-green foliage is a verdant backdrop for lilies, roses, and a host of bold-flowering perennial plants. Borage can be grown in containers, too. As it ages, this annual develops a somewhat loose habit and may benefit from staking to remain upright in late summer.
Caring for Borage
Borage grows best in full sun and moist, well-drained soil. It tolerates a variety of soil conditions, including quick-draining sand and heavy clay, but produces its best lush, leafy growth and a bevy of flowers in well-drained loam. Easy to start from seed, borage can be sown indoors 4 to 6 weeks before the last predicted spring frost or directly into the garden. Direct sowing in the garden is preferred as seedlings develop long taproots—which means they're tough to transplant. Once seedlings are established, thin them to stand 12 to 18 inches apart. Borage doesn't require fertilization and rarely needs watering once established. Water during extended periods of drought. Harvest borage flowers any time throughout the growing season.
More Varieties of Borage
Borago officinalis 'Alba' has intense white flowers on sturdy stalks. Normally blooms later in season than its cousin with sky-blue flowers. Annual