How to Transplant Borage

Borage is one of those plants I just NEED to have in my garden. The perfect blue-ness of its blooms (unless you get the occasional errant pink bloom, which happens sometimes, usually after very wet weather, I’ve noticed) and the cucumber-y flavor of the leaves and blossoms makes this a must-grow plant for me.

I planted borage in our side yard garden a couple of years ago because we grew tomatoes there, and borage and tomatoes are good companions. I haven’t had to plant borage seeds on purpose since. Borage self-sows pretty reliably here in our Detroit area garden, so I’m never without a few seedlings each spring.

This year, we had a mild borage explosion, resulting in this dense clump of borage seedlings:

They can’t just stay there like that! Besides, they’re growing on the garden path, and I keep almost trampling them when I work in that garden.

Luckily, it isn’t too difficult to dig these up, divide the clump into individual plants, and transplant them elsewhere. But you have to do it the right way — borage has a reputation for being somewhat difficult to transplant. Here’s why:

Tap root. If you break that, or damage it too much, your borage seedlings will shrivel up and die. So you have to keep that intact. What I do is dig the clump out fairly deeply. Then I gently tease the large clump out into individual plants, making sure that I keep a good amount of soil around each plant’s root to protect that taproot. Like this:

Then, just plant them wherever you want them to go. Water them in well. They will look unhappy and a little wilty:

But after a day or so, if you’ve kept that taproot protected, they’ll start perking up again:

And you’ll be well on your way to having pretty clumps of those blue flowers throughout your garden!