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A picture of a Borage


Borago officinalis

Also known as

Cool Tankard, Talewort, Tailwort, Beebread, Beeplant, Common Borage, Starflower

Photo by quaint_onion1 (All rights reserved)

Full Sun
Easy care
Moderate watering
Frost Hardy


RHS hardiness


Minimum temperature

Expected size








1 years to reach maturity


  • spring
  • summer
  • autumn
  • winter

This plant has a mild fragrance

More images of Borage

A photo of Borage
A photo of Borage
A photo of Borage
A photo of Borage
A photo of Borage

Borage Overview

Borago officinalis is commonly known as Borage, it is a pretty, coarsely hairy, herbaceous annual plant from the Boraginaceae family that has a variety of uses, both culinary and medicinal. The leaves and star-shaped flowers are both edible and taste of cucumber and honey respectively. This plant also deters hornworms from laying eggs on tomatoes, making them a great companion plant. Borage is great for beginner gardeners and those that like low maintenance gardens. Borage was once used to flavour wine and was historically used to give men courage. This species is part of the Royal Horticultural Society “Plants for Pollinators” initiative to showcase plants which support pollinator populations by providing ample amounts of nectar and/ or pollen. A great choice for encouraging pollinating insect wildlife into your garden!

Common problems with Borage

Foliage may be damaged by slugs, leaf-mining flies or affected by powdery mildew. Overall pest and disease resistant.

Borage Companion Plants

Strawberries, eggplant, tomatoes, gourds, cucumber

How to harvest Borage

Harvest leaves throughout the year and flowers during the summer and autumn, preferably in the morning. Borage should only be used fresh, as it loses its flavour once dried. Leave flowers to self-seed after flowering.

How to propagate Borage


The flowers can be cut at the stalks and put into dry paper bags to help them dry out over a couple of weeks. When the flower heads are completely dry, shake the bag to release the seeds from the heads and remove the dead flowers. Sow seeds shallowly in spring or summer. Germination takes 7-10 days.


Divide rootstocks in spring.


Plant shoot cuttings in summer or autumn in sandy soil in a cold frame.

Special features of Borage

Attracts useful insects

Known to attract bees.

Crop rotation

Borage is a light feeder and plants do not need a lot of nutrients.

Repels harmful insects

Repel hornworms.

Attractive flowers

Attracts bees

Great plant for short tongued bumblebees and honeybees

Other uses of Borage

Culinary, medicinal, compost improver This plant suits being included in planting schemes for exposed or sheltered locations with east, south or west-facing aspects or wildlife-friendly gardens, informal and cottage gardens or mixed flower borders.



Deer Resistant Plants

Although never fully deer proof - they are less likely to eat these.

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