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. I’ve never grown borage, but I love adding anything that brings the bees! Did you direct sow these? If they self seed, I’m guessing you could probably sow them in autumn? Great post!

    • I actually bought a plant – it was an impulse purchase (I’m a terrible spendthrift). Pretty sure they are hardy annuals, and I will have lots of seedlings come spring. They can duke it out with the dill and the fennel.

  2. 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?

  3. Never even heard of it until now, Jason, but it sure is pretty. And you can never have enough blue! I love that you are doing something for the bees. Cheers.

  4. Lovely photos. I like that you like that the bees like the borage flowers. (Say that rapidly 6 times!)

    I was given a start once but it didn’t take. I haven’t tried again but will sometime in the future.

  5. It’s a very good self-sower; and along with gin, it’s one of the main ingredients of Pimms šŸ™‚

  6. 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.

  7. It’s on my list of plants to try. Anything that attracts bees is worth a go. Beautiful photos Jason.

  8. 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.

  9. Beautiful photos and such happy bees! I don’t have borage, but it grows well here in Central Texas.

  10. I grow it to keep the cucumbers company, and because it’s gorgeous. šŸ™‚

      • 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.

  11. Herbal lore has it that Borage brings courage. It was often woven into pennants and banners back in Medieval times. I add the flowers to salads and into ice cubes for pretty drinks

  12. It has a pretty blue flower. Glad it has attracted the bees as promised. It’s been a good year for many kinds of bees around here (central NC).

    • Glad to hear that! Seems like it has been a decent year for bees in this area, though still fewer than what used to be normal.

  13. 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.

  14. Lovely photos! Which reminds me that I need to master Macro on my mysterious, but capable, camera.

  15. I’ve never grown borage but do love its flowers. I’m not sure I have room for any more sun loving plants, though. Need more garden…… šŸ˜‰

  16. I have never grown or tasted borage. The flowers are lovely! And it deserves a place if only for the bees alone.

  17. A friend of mine planted borage last year and like you said, she has it bigger and better this year! I love plants that do this. I also love plants that the bees love…and those little blue flowers. I have room now…maybe I need to plant some borage! ~Julie

  18. I have never grown it but I am in if the bees love it! And edible as well makes it that much more desirable for the garden! Stunning photos Jason! Nicole

  19. I have grown it and am trying it again in my new garden. I love and your photos show why. It is very pretty frozen in an ice cube tray with water making the prettiest ice cubes for summer drinks such as Pimms. Cheers!

  20. I have never planted borage but it crops up everywhere in my garden and yes, bees love it. . I use the flowers to decorate salads. As for eating the leaves, yuck a bit too hairy for me.

  21. Wonderful images of the borage and bees! I love borage, I don’t think any garden is complete without it.xxx

  22. Thanks for growing flowers for the bees! It’s a great summer flower for them. I grow borage every year and interplant with my tomatoes. It is a companion to tomatoes and is said to bring out the flavor of the tomato.

  23. 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.

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