A fast growing hardy annual with dainty blue flowers in summer. Highly attractive to bees and pollinating insects.

Family: Boraginaceae
Botanical Name: Borago officinalis
Common Names: Borage, cool tankard, talewort, tailwort.

Foliage: Deciduous, large oval, mid-green leaves, covered in coarse grey hairs.

Flowers: Pendulous, star-shaped flowers. Pink in bud, opening brilliant blue, with prominent black anthers. Also available in white and pink.

Flowering Period: June-September.

Soil: Well-drained, poorish soil (chalk, clay, sand or loam). Acid, alkaline or neutral pH.

Conditions: Full sun or partial shade. Plant in an east, west or south facing aspect.

Habit: Bushy.

Type: Hardy annual.

Origin: Europe.

Hardiness: Hardy throughout the UK.

Planting and Growing Borage

Borage will grow easily on virtually any well-drained soil type. Self-seeds readily once established.

The leaves and flowering stems are useful in flower arrangements.

Taking Care of Borage

Pruning Borage

Deadhead regularly to prevent excessive self-seeding.

Pests and Diseases

Can be affected by slugs and leaf-mining flies. Susceptible to powdery mildews .

Propagating Borage

Direct sow seed where it is to flower from spring to early autumn. Thin seedlings to 1ft (30cm) apart. Dislikes transplanting. Succession sow every few weeks for a continuous supply of leaves and flowers.

Readily self seeds around the garden. Once you grow it you'll never be without it.

Culinary Uses

The flowers and foliage have a refreshing, cucumber-like, flavour and are often added to fruit drinks, hence is common name 'cool tankard'. The fresh young leaves and flowers can also be used in salads or used as a culinary decoration.

Harvesting Borage: Pick and use the leaves while young and fresh. Not suitable for drying but the leaves can be frozen for use later.

Varieties of Borage

Borago officinalis is a vigorous, hairy, blue-flowered annual herb, easily grown from seed. Height 1.5-3ft (45-90cm), spread to 1ft (30cm). For sale at Van Meuwen. Variety 'Alba' (white borage) is a white flowering form. For sale at Crocus.