Borago officinalis ‘Alba’
Borago officinalis ‘Alba’ is the highly desirable, lovely and sought after pure white form of the normal blue Borage.
Hardy, easy & quick from seed
But fear not – it is equally hardy, easy to grow in the garden, and quick and easy to germinate from seed, as the normal run of the mill blue form.
It just has branching heads of white stars instead of blue.
Otherwise it blooms for the same long period during summer & autumn.
A magnet for bees and our other pollinating friends
Borage is nectar rich bee & pollinator food, and they just can’t resist visiting.
And one of the common names for Borage is “Bea Bread”.
So it is a great companion plant for anywhere you are growing veg and fruit.
And quite decorative too, with a mound of slate-grey, broad, textured leaves and panicles of the deliciously edible flowers.
Edible and classy culinary treat
You can use Borage flowers, and the young foliage, to add colour, texture and flavour to salads, fruit salads, cakes and any garnish.
Both have a mild, cucumber flavour, and are reputed to have the same fine nutritional value as Spinach.
Certainly they are delicious lightly crisped in olive oil.
And a favourite use for the elegant flowers of White Borage is to freeze them into ice-blocks for use in summer drinks. So they add a special touch of class to an ordinary summer G&T or fruit cocktail.
But not tasty to deer
While hungry rabbits will take a nibble on Borage (and practically anything including the leg of the chair), Borage is not one of their favourite foods. As they seem to know there is a compound in Borage that bunnies should eat in moderation only.
On the other hand, deer will avoid choosing it unless there is absolutely nothing else – they don’t like the hairy texture.
So easy to grow
Plant Borage in Sun to Part Shade.
Where it is so very easy to grow & low maintenance.
And also a water-wise garden friend.
Plus it actually prefers poorer, less fertile soils.
So this hardy, easy annual will gently self-sow each year, to the immense pleasure of the bees and you.
75cm H x 45cm W.
SOWING ADVICE: QUICK & EASY
Sow any time indoors in punnets / or scatter seeds directly in garden in autumn or spring.
INDOORS: Sow seeds on the surface of good quality seed raising mix.
Then lightly cover the seeds with mix / vermiculate / fine grit to a maximum of their own diameter – approx. 6cm.
Then place the sown punnet into a water bath (make sure the water level in the bath is below the surface of the mix).
So the moisture percolates up through the mix from the bottom to thoroughly moisten the mix throughout.
Soak for a short time until moisture appears on the surface of the mix, and then remove and drain.
Because the mix needs to be moist throughout, but not wet.
Now place the moist punnet in a warm, well-lit position (not in direct sun).
Temperatures of 15-22°C approx. are best for rapid and optimum germination.
You can use a temperature-controlled heat mat if you have one for rapid germination, but it is not essential. A window-sill or well-lit corner is also fine, as these seeds are quick and easy to germinate.
Adding a clear plastic cover helps to retain moisture in the punnet.
And continue to keep the punnet moist by spraying the surface of the mix a fine spray water bottle, or re-soaking in the water bath, as required.
(If the punnet is light weight when you pick it up – the mix is drying out and needs another soak from below in the water bath).
Seedlings emerge in approx. 7-14 days.
SEED COUNT: 5 seeds per pack approx.
(The white form of borage is rarely available, but just as hardy and easy as normal Borage).