Perilla frutescens or Shiso is an erect fast growing annual native to the Himalayas and Eastern Asia. Plants are erect to 3 feet (1 m) in height, with an equal spread. Leaves are broadly ovate to 5 inches (12.5 cm) long and deeply toothed. They are extremely fast growers. The leaves are used as a vegetable or flavoring in Asia. Seeds are pressed for the edible oil. We grow the green Korean type, but there are many variations in leaf color and form. They very easy to grow and can become very weedy. They can be grown as an annual in all USDA zones.
Blooming: When grown in the landscape, the plants flower in autumn. In the greenhouse, they will flower at any time of the year. The very small white flowers are in terminal racemes. In masse, they are very showy.
Culture: Perilla frutescens need full sun to partial shade with a moist, well drained soil. In the greenhouse, we use a soil mix consisting of 2 parts peat moss to 1 part loam to 1 part sand or perlite. In container and in the landscape, the plants cannot withstand extended drought-like condition. The plants are well watered and fertilized on a monthly basis with a balanced fertilizer. The plants are never allowed to dry thoroughly. We grow these plants all year long. After flowering, seed is collected and replanted.
Propagation: Perilla frutescens is best propagated from seed. Seed germinate in 7-14 days at 70°F (21°C).
Perilla frutescens was featured as Plant of the Week April 6-12, 2007.
Guide to Past Plants-of-the-Week:
Cal's Plant of the Week was provided as a service by the University of Oklahoma Department of Microbiology & Plant Biology and specifically the late Cal Lemke, who used to be OU's botany greenhouse grower and an avid gardener at home as well. If the above links don't work, then try the overview site. You may also like to look at the thumbnail index. ©1998-2012 All rights reserved.