Borago officinalis (Borage)

Scientific Name

Borago officinalis L.

Common Names

Borage, Common Borage, Starflower, Cool Tankard, Talewort, Bee Bread, Bee Plant, Bourrache (French), Borretsch (German), Einjähriger Borretsch (German), Gurkenkraut (German), Boragine (Italian), Borandella (Italian), Boragem (Portuguese), Borraja (Spanish), Gurkört (Swedish)


Borago hortensis

Scientific Classification

Family: Boraginaceae
Subfamily: Boraginoideae
Genus: Borago


Color: Blue
Bloom Time: Continuously for most of the year


Borago officinalis is a large annual plant with white, stiff, prickly hairs. It grows up to 3.3 feet (1 m) tall. The round stems are fleshy, branched, and hollow. Large laves are alternate, wrinkled, deep green, oval and pointed, up to 3 inches (7.5 cm) long and about up to 1.5 inches (3.8 cm) wide. Flowers, which terminate the cells, are bright blue and star-shaped, distinguished from those of every plant in this order by their prominent black anthers, which form a cone in the center. In a temperate climate, its flowering season is relatively long, from June to September. In milder climates will bloom continuously for most of the year. Fruits consist of four brownish-black nutlets.

Borago officinalis (Borage)

How to Grow and Care

Borage grows best if direct-seeded. Barely cover the seeds with soil and keep well watered. They are tolerant of any soil, even poor dry soil. However, a sunny location with rich, well-draining soil is optimal.

If you choose to start seedlings, transplant before they become pot bound. Plan to start seedlings about 3-4 weeks before the last expected frost and don't transplant outdoors until the soil has warmed. Once seedlings are about 2 to 3 inches (5 to 7.5 cm) tall, thin to approximately 12 inches (40 cm) apart.

Plants in poor soil will benefit from periodic feeding with any fertilizer labeled for use on edible plants. Something with a high phosphorous number (the middle number on a fertilizer package) will help keep them in flower. Plants can be pinched or pruned to encourage branching and keep them shorter. See more at How to Grow and Care for Borage.


Native to Aleppo (Syria) but now naturalized in most parts of Europe.


Borago officinalis 'Alba'


BACK TO genus Borago
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