Herbs forum: Borago officinalis - Borage

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Name: Deb
Pacific Northwest (Zone 8b)
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Bonehead
Oct 22, 2015 11:46 AM CST
This is one of my favorite re-seeding annual herbs. It pops up all over my herb garden, and I allow it to just roam at will, although I do limit it to one every 10' or so as they tend to sprawl. Calendula is another self-seeder, and the two make a nice combination. Borage flowers are a true blue and attract bees like a magnet, and also hummingbirds. Some folks can be mildly irritated by the hairy leaves, I find them a bit prickly but no lasting effect. The leaves and flowers have a slight cucumber flavor and can be added to fresh salads. New shoots can be chopped and infused in milk to counter depression. The flowers are easily crystalized by dipping in beaten egg white and then sugar and dried - beautiful as cake decorations. A poultice of leaves can be helpful for inflammed swellings.



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Name: Margaret
Delta KY
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Mindy03
Oct 22, 2015 1:26 PM CST
One of my favorite herbs.
I
I like the taste but not the fuzzy leaves. The I can confirm its usefulness to reduce swelling which is what I use it for.
I like the taste but not the hairy leaves.
It is known as the honey plant among bee keepers because they produce more honey when foraging borage.thus herb
it does make me feel more cheerful when I use it so I can believe it would be useful fir depression.
Name: Deb
Pacific Northwest (Zone 8b)
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Bonehead
Oct 22, 2015 1:35 PM CST
Borage can also produce pink blooms along with the more usual blue. There is a term for this which is eluding me, but @SongofJoy captured it well in this photo:

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central Arkansas - zone 8a/7b (Zone 7b)
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Myles
Feb 17, 2016 12:03 PM CST
First year growing this herb. I am starting seed of Borage this season and plan to grow it among tomatoes and strawberries. Basil is another herb that is recommended to grow with tomatoes so trying Thai Basil this year, too.

I've read that Borage seed needs complete darkness to germinate. For anyone who grows this herb, does that mean I should cover the seedling pot with something dark to eliminate light or does it only mean the seed should be well covered with potting mix? Thank You!

Myles
Name: Caroline Scott
Calgary (Zone 4a)
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CarolineScott
Feb 17, 2016 5:14 PM CST
This year I obtained seeds for a white flowering borage.
I just tossed the seeds mixed with a little soil as a direct winter sowing.
I did it that way because Borage self sows here.
I get the odd pink one sometimes, among the regular blue plants.

Thai basil is growing under lights here.
It is supposed to have a faint liquorice flavor?

Also did Cinnamon Basil and Purple Basil, and some of the large green leafed one.




Name: Linda
Carmel, IN (Zone 5a)
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mom2goldens
Feb 17, 2016 6:20 PM CST
I love borage for it's taste, color, and ability to attract pollinators. At our demonstration herb bed at the fairgrounds, we have had a white borage that regularly appears in amongst the blue. I prefer the blue, but don't mind the white volunteers. Have never seen pink!

Borage doesn't like to be moved.....so plant it where you want it, or transplant when very young.

Thai basil is a little stronger/spicier than typical pesto-type basil, such as Genovese. We grow Siam Queen thai basil all of the time. It is the one basil I let flower because the flowers are so stunning.

Which purple basil did you grow @carolinescott?
Name: Caroline Scott
Calgary (Zone 4a)
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CarolineScott
Feb 18, 2016 6:33 AM CST
It was called Purple Petra Basil, a plain leafed purple.
It was not the ruffled leaf one.
Name: Caroline Scott
Calgary (Zone 4a)
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CarolineScott
Feb 18, 2016 7:56 PM CST
On the borage appearing pink: Do you think it does that when it is in a warmer, dryer area of the garden?

I had a few pink Laurentia flowers show up last year too.

Now, I am seeing Browallia under fluorescent lights flowers in purple,
but the ones in a south window are a proper blue color.
Name: Cindi
Wichita, Kansas (Zone 7a)
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CindiKS
Feb 18, 2016 9:41 PM CST
Oh I didn't know the 2 borage colors I was seeing were 2 different plants! I thought they were like Lungwort and the colors changed from blue to pink! My bees absolutely love the borage. I need to start some more of it.
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Name: Eric
North Georgia, USA (Zone 7b)
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CommonCents
Feb 27, 2016 10:08 AM CST
CarolineScott said:On the borage appearing pink: Do you think it does that when it is in a warmer, dryer area of the garden?

If I had to guess, it's more likely the pink flowers are in an area with more alkalai soil (higher pH).
As an experiment I might put some composted fireplace ashes in one corner of my borage and see what happens.
I do put borage blossoms in ice cubes sometimes as a decoration. I don't eat the leaves or flowers.
Borage contains pyrrolizidine alkaloids, which are toxic to your liver. PA's in borage are at a very low level. It won't kill you if you eat a few leaves, but don't serve it to a pregnant woman or a woman who is breastfeeding. You also might want to avoid it if you take medications that stress the liver.
Myles said:First year growing this herb. I am starting seed of Borage this season and plan to grow it among tomatoes and strawberries.

I grow borage to keep hornworms away from my tomatoes. It does seem to work well for that purpose.
Myles said:I've read that Borage seed needs complete darkness to germinate. For anyone who grows this herb, does that mean I should cover the seedling pot with something dark to eliminate light or does it only mean the seed should be well covered with potting mix? Thank You!

Myles

I planted my seeds directly with in the ground about a week before transplanting my tomatoes. Direct sowing seems to be the recommended practice for borage. I've read that it doesn't move well.
I planted my seeds about a half inch deep an covered them with soil. I didn't do anything to shade the seeds beyond covering them with soil.

Name: Margaret
Delta KY
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Mindy03
Feb 27, 2016 12:57 PM CST
Good thing I didn't read about borage being unsuitable for transplanting because I did just that when I started them from seed a couple of years ago. It could be I had success doing that because I transplanted them while still pretty small. Then I accidnetly pulled the plants before they set seed so I'm on the lookout for more seeds. Around here no one seems to carry borage seeds.
Name: Caroline Scott
Calgary (Zone 4a)
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CarolineScott
Feb 27, 2016 6:11 PM CST
Thanks for the idea on the pH being the factor for pink Borage flowers.
If I remember this summer,--- I will experiment on that theme.
Name: Betsy
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piksihk
May 3, 2016 11:19 PM CST
This is the first year that I've grown this plant from seed- the blooms are so dainty and pretty.
Thumb of 2016-05-04/piksihk/0c4eda

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Name: Margaret
Delta KY
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Mindy03
May 4, 2016 7:21 AM CST
Beautiful Betsy
Now I need to locate my seeds and plant mine
Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
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Weedwhacker
May 4, 2016 7:47 AM CST
I haven't had any borage for quite a few years, but have some seeds started in the greenhouse which hopefully won't mind too much being transplanted... the last time I grew it, the plants became completely infested with some not-very-attractive caterpillars Sticking tongue out . So I sprayed them with BT, and ended up pulling out the plants because they had been pretty well demolished -- and then discovered they were Painted Lady babies Crying . This year the borage will all be going in my "butterfly garden," so no spraying of the butterfly babies!
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Name: Deb
Pacific Northwest (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Organic Gardener Herbs Dragonflies Dog Lover Keeper of Poultry
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Bonehead
May 4, 2016 7:50 AM CST
I let borage self seed and limit it to one plant every 10' or so. Lovely blue flowers and such a bee magnet.
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
Name: Margaret
Delta KY
I'm A Charley's Girl For Sure
Forum moderator Charter ATP Member Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Beekeeper
Seed Starter Permaculture Region: Kentucky Garden Ideas: Master Level
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Mindy03
May 4, 2016 9:01 AM CST
Sandy borage doesn't mind being transplanted
At least when small. I started mine indoors then set outside. I tend to set my plants out when they are still small but big enough for me to remember what the heck I planted in that spot.
Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
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Weedwhacker
May 4, 2016 2:07 PM CST
I'm pretty sure that every time I've grown it over the years I've started it indoors and transplanted it... and I have a dozen or so plants started (in individual pots), surely I can't kill ALL of them Hilarious!
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Name: Sean B Murray
Riverhead, NY (Zone 7a)
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Whitebeard
May 4, 2016 3:49 PM CST
I've never grown it, but now am thinking about giving it a go. Thanks for the tips.
Name: Deb
Pacific Northwest (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Organic Gardener Herbs Dragonflies Dog Lover Keeper of Poultry
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Bonehead
May 4, 2016 5:18 PM CST
Give it a lot of room, it is not a dainty plant.
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.

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