Bees Love Borage

In the Herb/Cutting Bed, we’re growing Borage (Borago officinalis) for the first time. I decided to give it a try for the little blue flowers (I love blue flowers), but also because I’ve heard that it’s a great plant for bees.

DSC_0777 Borage

This is one of those plants that is covered in little hairs. The hairs catch the late afternoon light in an appealing way.

DSC_0782 borage

The bees in the front garden have confirmed the rumors about bees liking Borage. They are always hanging around the flowers.

DSC_0783 borage

Borage leaves are eaten cooked or raw in parts of Spain, Italy, and Germany. The flowers can also be eaten. Judy and I haven’t tried it yet, though.

DSC_0785 borage and bee

It’s also been used medicinally to treat a variety of ailments. People make it into a tea or take it as Borage seed oil. I’m not sure if its efficacy has ever been scientifically documented.

All I know is that I like the flowers, and the bees like the flowers, and I like that the bees like the flowers.

My understanding also is that Borage self-sows freely, so that once you have Borage you will always have Borage. But I’m fine with that.

DSC_0780 borage

Do you grow Borage, and have you tried eating it?

59 Comments on “Bees Love Borage”

  1. Hi Jason, I am growing borage this year also. It’s been so fun to watch the bee’s enjoying the flowers. Mine seem to have nearly finished their life cycle though, with all our heat. Do you plan to cut yours back after they are done?

  2. Yes, it is great for bees. Bees seem to like the whole Boraginaceae family. The flowers are a lovely clear blue and look brilliant in ice cubes (they also dry well to make a nice bright blue confetti). The plants are a bit prone to mildew here in the UK.

  3. It definitely self sows. I have it everywhere, but like you I don’t care. Mr. bunny loves munching on the leaves. Hummingbirds visit the flowers. The leaves are too fuzzy to eat…at least for me but I have used the flowers in salads.

      • It attracts predator insects, which is a way of deterring pests. It also supposedly deters tomato hornworm moths (so they don’t lay their larva there). Plants that like borage nearby include cucumber, tomato, squash, strawberry, and members of the cabbage family. It’s also been reported that “most garden plants grow better and have better tasting produce when borage is grown as a companion plant with them.” Because of how it grows, tending to flop over onto the ground, it shades the ground, and, with its nutrient-accumulating roots (especially of potassium and silicon) and large soft leaves, it provides a lot of nutrient-rich mulch when chopped (like comfrey). I have borage in my veg. garden with cucumber, tomatoes, basil, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, beans, and beets, and I have it in my fruit guild with peaches, green beans, squash, cucumbers, blueberries, fennel, and strawberries.

  4. I like to put Borage flowers in ice cubes to decorate summer drinks. It thinks it is a weed, popping up anywhere and everywhere. I banished it from my last garden with great difficulty. Just this year it showed up in this one. I don’t know where it came from, but since I now have plenty of space it can stay…for now.

  5. I LOVE hairy plants! And I love the blue of Borage flowers. It almost glows. Very easy to transplant and then, watch out! Just leave it when it’s done and more will come (ooh, a tiny off-rhyme without trying). You probably don’t want it close to places where guests will be lounging–LOTS of bees.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: