Borago officinalis
Common Name: borage 
Type: Annual
Family: Boraginaceae
Native Range: Europe
Zone: 2 to 11
Height: 1.00 to 3.00 feet
Spread: 0.75 to 1.50 feet
Bloom Time: June to August
Bloom Description: Blue
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Annual, Herb
Flower: Showy
Tolerate: Deer, Drought


Easily grown in average, dry to medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun to light shade. Tolerates poor soils and drought. Start seeds indoors in peat pots or sow directly in garden beds in early spring. This annual will remain in the garden from year to year by self seeding.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Borago officinalis is native to the Mediterranean region. It is a rough, sprawling annual that grows to 1-3’ tall. It features showy, open racemes of drooping, star-shaped, bright blue flowers in summer atop branched stems clad with wrinkled, edible, dull gray-green leaves (to 6” long) having the taste and fragrance of cucumber. Stems and leaves are covered with bristly hairs. Tender leaves may be eaten raw or cooked in somewhat the same manner as spinach. Leaves lose their flavor when dried.

Genus name possibly comes from the Latin word burra meaning hairy garment a reference to the hairy leaves of some species.

Specific epithet means sold is shops and was applied to plants with supposed medicinal properties.


No serious insect or disease problems. Powdery mildew may occur.


Best grown in herb or wild gardens. Leaves may be used in cold drinks, salads or as cooked greens. Flowers serve as attractive garnishes.