© RHS / Hayley May



Botanical name: Borago

Borage is a herb noted primarily for its sky blue flowers. It has a cottage garden feel and a delicious cucumber smell from its bristly foliage. The leaves and flowers are edible, but the dainty flowers are prefered for garnishing summer drinks and salads. Pollinating insects love them too.


The most commonly grown borage, Borago officinalis produces clumps of bristly leaves. Loose clusters of star-like blue flowers dangle in summer from upright stems to a height of around 50-70cm (up to about 2ft). They're annual plants but will self-seed so they usually reappear each year. A few cultivars differ from the species: the white-flowered Borago officinalis 'Alba' and variegated B. officinalis 'Bill Archer'. There's also a shorter creeping perennial, Borago pygmaea


Grow in any average garden soil that is in full sun. Plants tolerate dry soil, though growth may be shorter. 


Plants dislike permanently wet soil or heavy shade.

Did you know?

The flowers are edible and can be used to garnish summer drinks and salads. They can also be frozen in ice cubes for decorative effect all year long.

Growing guide

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Useful advice

Edible flowers

Edible flowers

Hardy annuals: sowing in spring

Hardy annuals: sowing in spring

Herbs in containers

Herbs in containers

Herbs: growing

Herbs: growing

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