Borage: the underrated herb
We’re all familiar with basil and cilantro and rosemary and all those common cooking herbs. They’re an awesome addition to your garden because there’s no comparison to fresh herbs in your culinary life. This is indisputable!
But most people don’t know about the herbs we don’t always cook with. Let me tell you about this little herb we like to call Borage. I’ve grown it for 8 years now and I can tell you that I’ve been mispronouncing it for at least that long! Pronounced “BORE-idge,” (rhymes with porridge), it’s an herb that’s also known as the starflower and is known for its bright blue-purple flowers.
As an herb, it’s leaves and flowers are edible and are also used in teas. It has a cucumber-like flavor!! The seeds can also be used to make borage seed oil which can be topically used for hair and skin Every. Part. Is. Usable.
But that’s not even why I’m writing about them! Here’s why:
1. It attracts tons of pollinators
This is a gardening website, and if I can pinpoint one single most important contributor to a healthy garden, it’s our pollinators. Borage is a VERY easy flo
wer to grow that is a pollinator hotspot in my garden. The bees—honey, bumble, all of them—love borage! And so do our beloved hummingbirds.
2. They're Beautiful. Seriously. They’re so bright and make an ornamental addition to my vegetable beds that is both practical and useful. Each one gets to be 2.5 to 3 feet tall and produces tons of bright blue flowers.
3. Pest Control
Borage is known to repel hornworms and cabbageworms, so they’re great to plant near your tomatoes and brassicas. Yes that’s right—I said they repel hornworms. Is this stuff magic?!
Pictured above: tomato hornworm. When these suckers are through, they've eaten entire leaves, branches, and even tomatoes! They're the WORST
4. Companion Planting
Borage is a fantastic companion plant. Planted near strawberries or tomatoes can improve their flavor and helps them grow faster. They work well planted with literally everything because they add trace minerals to soil. Also, because they attract pollinators, planting them near your flowering vegetables, like squashes, melons, tomatoes, and peppers, means that they’ll experience higher pollination rates, producing higher yields.
These gorgeous flowers are the perfect addition to your garden and you didn’t even know it. You can easily purchase organic seeds online, and I also have a great crop ready to go home to gardeners in my shop. Plant some! You will not regret it!