Borage is a robust annual herb hailing from Europe and belongs to the Boraginaceae family of plants, which includes Pulmonaria, comfrey, Echium, heliotrope, forget-me-nots and Cynoglossum. It grows to approximately 75 cm in height and has hairy leaves with a distinct cucumber smell and flavour. It has pretty blue star-shaped flowers in spring and summer; sometimes pink flowers can be observed on the plants.
is best grown from seed sown direct into the ground in autumn or very early spring: thereafter it will self-seed prodigiously. It grows best in a sunny, well-drained position, but it will tolerate part-shade. It will cope with dry times. The flowers and the young leaves are used in salads and are considered an essential ingredient in the drink Pimms No. 1 Cup. Note that though the leaves and flowers are edible, some people are allergic to this plant. In general, it's best not to eat the older leaves, which can be incredibly bristly. (The name 'borage' is said to come from the Latin word 'borra', meaning 'hair of the beast'!) When using the young leaves, it is a good idea to chop them finely to reduce their hairiness. A white-flowered version (f. alba) exists. Borage attracts bees to the garden: so it useful for vegetable growers. It looks at home growing with plants that enjoy hot, sunny positions, such as Marguerite daisies, lavender, bearded irises and statice.
Best grown from seed.