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Borage - Companion Plant

Borage - Companion Plant

Borage is one of the ultimate companion plants

Touted as the "O blood type" of companion planting, borage (Borago officinalis) is known to be compatible with almost all crops, though most notably tomatoes, strawberries, and pumpkins.

One of the easiest plants to grow from seed, its many attractive features as a pollinator, pest deterrent, and ability to nourish soil have caused it to be lauded amongst gardeners for centuries.

Having an unkempt growth habit, borage prefers the company of others to support it and enable it to flourish. It dies off in the winter, but self-seeds vigorously, spreading around the garden in subsequent seasons. 

A few of borage's many talents include:

  • Deters hornworms (a nightmare for tomato plants)
  • Repels cabbage moths and other pests
  • Heavy old leaves drop to create a mulching effect on the soil, keeping it cool
  • Adds trace minerals to surrounding soil
  • Improves the taste of strawberries when planted adjacent

Borage's efforts as a pollinator and pest deterrent due to having large flowers, can see it directly influencing the protection of legumes, spinach, and brassicas (cauliflower, broccoli etc.) amongst other plants.

On top of all of these wonderful traits, borage is edible; tasting lightly of honey (flowers) and cucumber (leaves). It has been used in herbal medicine for more than a thousand years to our knowledge and it is often used as a tonic for melancholia!

Image: Alastair Wallace/Shutterstock

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