Borage, commonly known as starflower, is an easy, fast-growing, annual herb in the flowering plant family Boraginaceous. Borage herb contains delightful blue-purple flowers; its leaves and seed oil are all used for medicinal purposes. The leaves are rich in vitamin C, calcium, potassium, and mineral traces.
The borage seed oil contains an omega-6 fatty acid called gamma-linolenic acid, therein used for skin disorders. It even treats hormone disturbances. Borage flowers and leaves are used in combating fever, cough, and depression. It is a low-care plant with pests and disease-free herbs.
Borage provides immense pollination and nectar, attracting beneficial insects such as parasitic wasps, lacewings, hoverflies, alluring honeybees, hummingbirds, and butterflies.
Attract bees in the garden. Since the flowers of borage are eatable, it’s been prepared in plating dishes such as salads and desserts.
Keep certain animals out of reach, such as horses, cats, and dogs, as they are toxic to borage. Borage even acts as a slug and snail trap, deterring garden pests.
Why Does Borage Need Companion Plants?
Companion planting is a crop rotation technique that allows you to have a certain specific plant species. The Americans often planted companion plants in a certain way; as a result, it gave protection and support to your primary plant. It is also known as intercropping or mixed cropping.
Below are a few points covered, which will benefit understanding the need to plant companion planting for any garden admirer.
1. Increase in Soil Nutrients
Borage enriches the soil with minerals, bringing calcium and potassium from the soil depths and making them available to their neighboring plants. Heavy feeders like tomatoes, melons, pumpkins, cucumbers, and squash will benefit when planted with borage.
2. Bring in Pest Predators
Borage plant acts as a pest deterrent. It draws predatory wasps that further eradicate caterpillars and other predatory insects that eat pests. Planting similar plants with pest-repelling benefits from the predator, borage invites.
3. Repelling of Insects
Borage is usually grown next to another plant as an insect deterrent. Conversely, Borage will deter pests from any plant you place next to it. Some of the plants include pumpkins, radishes, basil, cabbage, cucumbers, strawberries, eggplant, grapes, marigolds, melons, peas, peppers, beans, squash, and tomatoes fall under this category.
4. Benefit to Borage
Peas and beans are the supportive greeneries that benefit from borage in maintaining nitrogen-fixing and thereby making an availability to borage for it to grow better.
5. Benefit From Borage
The benefit of borage comprises that certain plants taste and grow better around borage. These include strawberries, basil, and marigolds.
Best Borage Companion Plants
Here are some of the companion plants that benefit borage and the other way around are listed below:
Peas are a type of green manure that fixes nitrogen in the soil for the benefit of other plants. Peas deposit enough nitrogen, i.e., promoting better plant growth and development in the soil for borage.
In exchange, borage deters insects from eating the peas. Additionally, borage invites pollinators and other beneficial insects to the peas.
Therefore it is beneficial to plant peas with borage because of their compatibility.
Tomatoes are edible juicy fruits that develop more effectively and produce better taste when planted nearby borage. Further, rich in antioxidant, tomatoes enriches the soil with all the nutrients favorable for better growth of borage.
Planting a border of borage around tomato plants can keep leaf-eating caterpillars like hornworms and pests such as aphids and whiteflies away. Borage attracts bees and other pollinators to tomato plants.
Beans excrete excessive nitrogen into the soil because they fix enough nitrogen than they can utilize. This excessive nitrogen-fixing is then released down deep into the soil in addition to important nutrients that become useful for borage.
In exchange, Borage eliminates pests and attracts pollinators, which helps your bean plants produce more fruits by pollinating them. Thus creating a good friendly atmosphere in the garden.
Basil acts as a natural insect-repelling, so planting them nearby benefits borage. It also draws beneficial insects, lady beetles, praying mantis, butterflies, hoverflies, and lacewings as companion plants.
Borage enhances the flavor of basil. Borage attracts pollinators to crossbreed the basil. It also draws parasitic wasps and pests, which destroy basil bugs.
This member of the gourd family, cucumbers, minimizes the competition for space, nutrients, or water that inhabit borage propagation. Planting both of them together will increase their yield.
Borage brings calcium and potassium to the soil’s surface for cucumbers to use. Borage also repels insects that attack the cucumbers, attracts beneficial insects that feed cucumber pests, and encourages pollinators to the cucumber plants.
Planting friendly strawberries in your garden serves as a mulch, retaining moisture in the soil and keeping the weeds away. It is also useful in keeping the soil refreshing and moist.
Borage brings mineral traces into the soil’s surface, wherein strawberries promote healthy growth. Borage also draws bees and other pollinators, which helps the strawberries reproduce. Since they are vulnerable to several pests, companion planting will substitute pesticides.
Worst Companion Plants For Borage
The three worst companion plants for borage are:
1. Black Walnuts
Borage cannot grow if planted near black walnuts. Black Walnuts tend to suppress all other plants planted next to them, making it difficult for growth. Thus, black walnut and borage are the worst companion plants.
Fennels are toxic when planted next, causing root damage to other plants. It has strong chemicals that kill other plants in a row. Planting fennel beside a borage plant is not a good idea for your garden.
Potatoes are from the nightshade family; avoiding planting potatoes near other family members is better. Potatoes can spread potato blight to borage and further collapse the plant. It is also not a friendly planting for borage. Do not plant potatoes next to the borage.
What Are Borage’s Growing Requirements?
- Light: Full sunlight or partial shade during hot summers
- Soil: pH: Acidic, neutral, alkaline
- Type: Borage can thrive even in dry, nutrient-poor soils. Prefers a moderately moist, well-drained soil
- Height: 1′ – 3′ tall, 9-18 wide
- Water: Irrigate every few days to keep the soil evenly moist.
- Temperature and Humidity: heat and cool tolerant weather / it won’t withstand a hard frost / No humidity needed.
- Fertilizer: Poor soil will benefit from periodic feeding. Fertilizers that are high in phosphorus will aid in flower production.
- Pollination: Borage self-pollinates and attracts bees and other pollinators to the garden.
- Blossom: It blossoms from early summer to the first frost.
Grass Diseases And Pests
There are some pests or diseases related to borage.
- Diseases: Powdery mildew in high humidity growing conditions.
- Pests: Japanese Beetles, Aphids, slugs, snails, and leaf-mining flies damage the foliage.
To prevent the disease, ensure the plant has sufficient air circulation and is adequately watered. Use soap water to eliminate pests.
Borage is an annual plant that easily self-seeds in the garden. Borage plants require a lot of fertilizers. An NPK, a slow-release fertilizer, such as Plantura All Purpose Plant Food, adds nutrients to the soil. The fertilizer feeds the borage with all the nutrients it requires while also supplying the soil with organic matter to assist in preserving the soil’s health over time. Pregnant or nursing women should not consume borage since it may negatively affect the mother and the child.