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Is Borage A Perennial? (Explained)

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The number of growing seasons required to complete a plant’s life is used as a basis for classifying plants into annuals, biennials, and perennials.

This classification also reflects how well a plant can be available throughout the various seasons of the year.

For example, Borage is a drought-resistant plant that can survive a light frost. It can self-propagate from seed and can also be propagated from stem cuttings of established plants.

You may now ask, “is borage a perennial?” Borage, except for creeping Borage, is an annual plant that can act like a perennial as it can self-propagate from its seeds every year. Creeping Borage is a short-lived perennial. Many varieties of Borage complete their life cycle in a year, but the creeping variety completes its life cycle in 3 years or more.

Does Borage come back every year?

Although Borage is an annual plant, it can behave like a perennial by self-propagation from viable seeds. Borage is so adept at self-propagation through the seeds that once a plant has been established, you never have to reseed!

Borage can also be propagated every year by rooting stem cuttings of young borage plants.

So, Borage comes back every year but as a new plant from reseeding and not as a continuation of its growth from the previous season except it is the creeping variety.

How Can I Prevent Borage From Reseeding Every year?

Borage self-propagates from the seeds. These seeds are developed from the flowers at the top of the plant. Each flower develops several seeds, which are capable of developing into new plants wherever they drop.

To prevent reseeding, you should cut off the flowers from the plant. It would be best if you deadheaded spent blooms when needed.

You can also prevent reseeding by simply pulling up the plant in early summer before the seeds mature and start dropping off from the plant. But, what varieties of Borage are perennials?

The common Borage (Borago officinalis), also known as starflower, Variegata (Borago officinalis ‘Variegata’), Alba (Borago officinalis ‘Alba’), are varieties of Borago that grow as annual plants.

On the other hand, Creeping Borage (Borago pygmaea) is a perennial plant with a short life. As its name suggests, creeping Borage is a sprawling variety of Borage.

It is slow-growing and hardier to frost and drought compared to the other varieties.

Is Borage Good For My Garden?

Borage can grow in your garden if cultivated in an area with ideal growing conditions or if it is provided with replicate conditions. These conditions include;

1. Hardiness

Hardiness is a term that describes the ability of a plant to survive certain weather conditions within a year. Some of these conditions are temperature, air, wind, rainfall, sunlight, and relative humidity.

From the 13 plant hardiness zones of the USDA, Borage is hardy to zones 2 to 11. In other words, it can survive the weather conditions in plant hardiness zone 2 to 11.

Although it is a hardy plant that is heat resistant and lightly frost resistant, it cannot tolerate hard frost.

So, if your garden is located in an area with frost, plant borage in early spring after the frost must have passed, or bring it indoors if grown in pots until the frost has passed.

2. Sunlight

Borage should be sown with full sunlight for at least six hours per day to achieve better growth. However, the plant can tolerate partial shade.

Alternative lighting can be provided for indoor Borage by placing the plant as close as possible to fluorescent light.

3. Adequate water requirements

Water-logged soil and over-watering increase the risk of Borage having root rot and stem rot. To safeguard the plant, make sure that the soil is well-drained and not over-watered.

Borage grows well in well-drained soil that is rich in both macronutrients and micronutrients.

You can improve your garden’s soil by applying compost, creating drainage channels, and ensuring adequate watering, especially if the top of the soil is dry to touch.

Nonetheless, Borage will grow in poor soil as long as it is well-drained.

4. Protection From Pests and Diseases

Borage is not typically susceptible to pests and diseases. Nevertheless, it can still be attacked by pests and diseases, resulting in stunted growth or even death of the plant.

To prevent this from happening, protect the plants from pests and diseases. Japanese beetles and aphids are the common pests of Borage.

You can control them by adding a safe repellant like neem oil to the plants’ leaves and stems to prevent the pest from feeding on them. You can also control beetles mechanically by hand-picking them from the plants.

Powdery mildew, leaf spot, stem rot, and root rot are the most common diseases to affect Borage. Therefore, the affected part should be cut off, leaving the healthy part if attacked by powdery mildew.

To avoid leaf spots and powdery mildew, space the plants at least 12 inches apart. Doing so helps maintain adequate air circulation around the plant and prevents excess moisture and humidity between plants.

Excess moisture and humidity increase the risk of these diseases. When the factors and suggestions above are considered and applied correctly when propagating Borage, the plant will grow optimally.

How long does Borage take to mature?

As an annual plant, you would expect to harvest it as soon as possible. It takes about eight weeks for Borage to reach maturity. Once it reaches maturity, the leaves and flowers can be harvested as much as possible when required.

Conclusion

Borage is an easy-to-grow, hardy annual flowering herb that grows readily from seeds and has a high propensity to reseed and grow into a new plant year after year.

It can be grown in mid-spring after the last frost or in late spring.

Borage grows optimally in full sunlight in well-drained loamy soil with adequate spacing between seedlings/plants within eight weeks.

The plant is valued for its culinary, ornamental, and medicinal uses. In addition, the plant is excellent for attracting pollinators and has been grown by beekeepers as a honey plant!

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