Borage for Bees

Borage is a superstar nectar plant for the bees. Borage can be planted in early spring and grows like a weed. Once the blooms start in the summer they last all the way through fall and in my case they tolerated a fair amount of frost. From my notes I found bees on borage for 3 straight months here in Maine.

Honeybee on Borage

A honeybee gathers nectar from a borage blossom. This is a great source of nectar for bees.

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Five reasons to grow borage for bees:

1 The bees love it. It is the go to plant in my yard if bees are flying.
2 It is so easy to plant (from seed) that a child could successfully plant it; perfect pollinator project for kids!
3 They bloom well into the fall and are the last flowers in my yard except hawkweed.
4 They will self seed very well once established.
5 Organic borage seeds (buying organic is important on many levels) are readily available.

If you are looking for great nectar producing, green and blue, vascular, edible plants then borage is for you. If you like taking pictures of honeybees, and other bee pictures or you just like taking pictures of plants then a few borage plants will work for you.

If there were a single plant that could create excitement for the whole family this would be it. Bug peepers of all ages can watch as the worker bees go from blossom to blossom gathering nectar. There is no better way to start learning all about bees, the different types of bees, or other pollinators than growing borage plants for the bees.

5 thoughts on “Borage for Bees

  1. Hi Dave,
    I’d like to add a couple of plants to the list…both comfrey and Echium are in the same family as borage. Comfrey bloomed many months and not only brought in the bumblebees for pollination, but also camouflaged my blueberries so the birds didn’t get them this year.
    The Echium ‘tree’ can be seen here… http://solarbeez.com/2012/06/27/bumble-bee-heaven/
    It grew from about 24 inches last year to 10 feet tall, blooming from about mid May until late August. Of course borage grows just about all year here…it’ll be one of the first plants blooming along with the kale.
    Enjoyed your hawkweed blog. I’ve got to see if it grows around here…can’t have enough bee flowers. :-)

  2. I, too, planted borage for the first time this year. Very prolific. Bees loved it. Will definitely be growing it again next year. I also grew phacelia with the borage. It was a nice compliment, also has a long bloom time in Southern Idaho, and the bees were working it.

    Gary, borage is a type of herb so it may be edible and may have some medicinal properties. I’m sure you could Google it for more info.

    • Thanks Sherry,

      Yes I think it is time for me to grow some; I found some phacelia seeds so I plan on giving it a try next year. I should know by this time next year and will probably end up blogging about it.

  3. Hi Dave,

    Thanks for the post, it looks like Borage is available in New Zealand as well.

    I will look out for it on our next garden centre visit, I also hear that the flowers are edible…Have your ever tried them?

    See ya…Gary

    • Thanks Gary for taking the time to comment, I still hard for me to believe that we can shake hands with this speed over such great distance!

      Yes I have eaten a blossom or two; they would add some color to a salad but I don’t see myself eating the the greens. This was my first year growing it and I grew it specifically for the bees, so this was a learning year for me.

      You can order seeds online; they are easy to grow from seed.

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