The Borage (Borago officinalis) belongs to the family of Boraginaceae. It is an annual plant native to Syria that is commonly found in Europe. It grows spontaneously in ditches, fallow land, wasteland, but also in our gardens where it is often considered a weed. However, Borage can be cultivated because its leaves, flowers, seeds and stems have been recognized for their medicinal properties since ancient times. So let’s see how to grow this condiment vegetable plant that brings an ornamental touch to the garden and of which different parts can be eaten.
Planting Borage officinalis
You can opt for borage seed sowingin between mars et June, when the risk of severe spring frosts is no longer to be feared. For each square meter, you need about 1 gram of seeds. The procedure is as follows.
- Draw a furrow,
- Make a hole 2 cm deep every 35 cm,
- Sow in little bitsi.e. by placing 3 Borage seeds in each hole,
- Cover the seeds with a thin layer of soil,
- Tamp down,
When the Borage plants have 5 leaves, about 4 weeks after sowing, they can be transplanted in the ground or in a pot. Flowering begins 8 to 9 weeks after sowing.
To cultivate Borage in pot, it is recommended to choose a container of about thirty centimeters in height and diameter in order to be able to install a maximum of two plants in it because the root must have sufficient space. It remains to place the pot in a corner of the sunny garden, but still benefiting from a slight shade during the afternoon.
If possible, plant Borage in a rich, moist, well-drained and light soil although this plant tolerates any type of soil, even poor and stony. In terms of exposure, it is preferably installed in partial shade so that it does not suffer the harmful effects of the scorching rays of the sun in summer.
Borage grow everywhere : in the vegetable garden, in the ornamental garden or even in a square reserved for aromatic herbs.
Note that Borage can be used as green manure because it decompacts the soil thanks to its rapid growth which slows down the development of weeds and its racine pivot which sinks deep.
Caring for Borage
This plant is able to grow quite independently. She is therefore very easy to grow since it requires no maintenance apart from regular weeding during the month following planting and, only if the rains are extremely rare, watering from time to time. Potted Borage should be watered more frequently, as soon as the substrate begins to dry out.
Contain the semi-spontaneous seeds
This plant reseeds itself spontaneously and can quickly become invasive. To overcome this little problem in the garden, you simply have to take the precaution of cutting the Borage before the appearance of the very first flowers. This prevents the formation of seeds.
Of the late sowing of Borage, between July and September, not giving the plant time to produce flowers, represent the ideal solution to avoid being invaded.
Pests and diseases
Borage is not prone to pest attacks.
As far as diseases are concerned, she can at most be affected by thepowdery mildew, identifiable by mold on the leaves. Of course, the leaves affected by powdery mildew must be eliminated and under no circumstances eaten.
The borage leaves have a flavor reminiscent of cucumber. They are eaten freshly picked and when they are still tender. It is best to harvest them before the flowers appear.
Depending on the climate, Borage flowers from March to September. Depending on the variety, the color of the star flowers is intense blue or less commonly pink and white. Edible, they are appreciated for their subtly iodized flavor. Rich in nectar, they attract many pollinators, which is a plus in the garden. For harvest borage flowers, delicacy is required. You have to keep the stem behind the sepals and pull on the corolla.
The borage stalks can also be used once dried to flavor drinks. Finally, in autumn, after flowering, achenes are formed, containing a multitude of seeds which reseed themselves with disconcerting ease. But the borage seeds are also used in traditional medicine and the famous Borage oilrich in omega 6, perfect to preserve the youthfulness of the skin and to improve the beauty of dry hair.