Borage, also known as starflower, is an annual herb native to the Mediterranean region. It is a versatile plant with a wide range of uses, making it a valuable addition to any garden or homestead. With its vibrant blue, star-shaped flowers and fuzzy, cucumber-flavored leaves, borage is both beautiful and functional.

Usually available: April to November
Life cycle: Annual
Height: 60cm – 1m
Position: Sun / part shade
Soil preference: Well drained

Garden Use

Borage is an excellent companion plant, attracting pollinators like bees and beneficial predatory insects that help control pests. Its deep taproot helps to break up and aerate the soil, improving overall soil health. Borage is also known to accumulate potassium, making it a valuable addition to compost or as a green manure.

Culinary Use

The leaves, flowers, and stems of borage are all edible. The young leaves have a refreshing cucumber flavor and can be added to salads, sandwiches, or used as a garnish. The beautiful blue flowers make an attractive addition to desserts, drinks, and salads. Borage flowers can also be candied or frozen in ice cubes for a decorative touch to beverages.

Medicinal Use

Borage has been used in traditional medicine for centuries. It is rich in gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), an omega-6 fatty acid with anti-inflammatory properties. Borage oil, derived from the seeds, is often used as a supplement to support skin health, hormonal balance, and joint comfort. The leaves and flowers can be steeped to make a soothing herbal tea, which may help reduce stress and promote relaxation.

Other Uses

Borage can be used as a natural dye, yielding a lovely blue color. The flowers can also be pressed and dried for use in crafts or as a decorative element in candles and soaps.

In a survival situation or for those interested in prepping, borage can be a valuable plant to cultivate. Its edible leaves and flowers provide a source of nutrition, while its medicinal properties may help support overall health and well-being. Borage’s ability to attract pollinators and improve soil health can also contribute to the success of a survival garden.

Additionally, the plant’s fast growth and self-seeding nature make it a reliable and regenerative food source.

Growing Conditions and Climate

Borage is well-suited to the diverse climates found in Australia. It thrives in full sun to partial shade and prefers well-drained soil. Borage is relatively drought-tolerant once established and can handle poor soils. It is a self-seeding annual, so it will readily regenerate in the garden year after year. In frost-free areas, borage can be grown year-round.

Interesting Facts and Gardening Tips

  • Borage is an excellent plant for attracting pollinators, particularly honey bees. In fact, borage is sometimes referred to as “bee bread” due to its high nectar content.
  • The flowers of borage are refillable, meaning that they can produce nectar throughout the day, making them a reliable food source for pollinators.
  • Borage is a fast-growing plant and can reach heights of 60-90 cm (2-3 feet) in just a few months.
  • Companion plants for borage include tomatoes, squash, strawberries, and brassicas. Borage can help deter tomato hornworms and improve the flavor of tomatoes when planted nearby.

Scientific Studies

A study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found that borage leaves are a rich source of antioxidants, including rosmarinic acid and caffeic acid (Bandoniene et al., 2002). Another study in the journal Phytotherapy Research demonstrated the anti-inflammatory effects of borage seed oil, suggesting its potential use in managing inflammatory conditions (Kast, 2001).



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