Perilla Shiso Care – How To Grow Perilla Shiso Mint

Perilla Shiso Care – How To Grow Perilla Shiso Mint

What is a shiso herb? Shiso, otherwise known as perilla, beefsteak plant, Chinese basil, or purple mint, is a member of the Lamiaceae or mint family. For centuries, growing perilla mint has been cultivated in China, India, Japan, Korea, Thailand, and other Asian countries but is more often classified as a weed in North America.

Perilla mint plants are often found growing along fences, roadsides, in hay fields or pastures and are, hence, more often termed a weed in other countries. These mint plants are also quite toxic to cattle and other livestock, so it’s no wonder why shiso is considered more of a noxious, undesirable weed in some area of the world.

Uses for Perilla Mint Plants

Prized in Asian countries not only for its culinary uses, the oil extracted from these mint plants is also utilized as a valuable fuel source, while the leaves themselves are used medicinally and as a food coloring. The seeds from the perilla beefsteak plant are also eaten by people and as bird food.

Perilla mint plants (Perilla frutescens) may also be grown as ornamentals due to their erect habitat and green or purplish-green to red serrated leaves. Growing perilla mint also has a distinctive minty aroma, especially when mature.

In Japanese cuisine, where shiso is a common ingredient, there are two types of shiso: Aojiso and Akajiso (green and red). More recently, ethnic food markets in the United States carry many perilla mint plant products from fresh greens, oil, and condiments such as pickled plums or plum sauce. Perilla added to condiments not only colors the product but adds an antimicrobial agent to pickled food.

Oil from perilla mint is not only a fuel source in some countries but has recently been found to be an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids and is now sold as such to health conscious Western consumers.

Additionally, perilla mint plant oil is used similarly to tung or linseed oil and also in paints, lacquers, varnish, inks, linoleum and waterproof coating on cloth. This unsaturated oil is slightly unstable but is 2,000 times sweeter than sugar and four to eight times sweeter than saccharin. This high sugar content makes it a great candidate for alcohol production for consumption, but more usually used in the manufacture of fragrances or perfumes.

How to Grow Perilla Shiso

So, sounds intriguing, yes? The question now then is how to grow perilla shiso? Growing perilla mint plants are summer annuals which do best in warm, humid climates.

When cultivating perilla, its downfall is its limited seed viability in storage, so store seeds at lower temperatures and humidity to improve the storage life and plant before they are a year old. Seeds for perilla plants can be sown as soon as possible in the spring and will self pollinate.

Plant perilla seedlings 6 to 12 inches (15-30 cm.) apart in well-drained but moist soil with full to partial sun exposure or direct sow them in well-drained soil and lightly cover. The shiso seeds will germinate rapidly at 68 degrees F. (20 C.) or even a little cooler.

Perilla Shiso Care

Perilla shiso care requires a medium amount of water. If the weather is exceedingly warm and humid, the plants’ tops should be pinched back to encourage bushier, less rangy plant growth.

Flowers of the growing perilla mint bloom from July to October and are white to purple, attaining their maximum height of 6 inches (15 cm.) to 3 feet (1 m.) tall before dying off during the coming frost. After the first year of growing perilla mint plants, they will easily self-seed in successive seasons.

Beefsteak Plant

Beefsteak plant is a nonnative, invasive species that should not be planted or allowed to spread. It is a branching, herbaceous annual that can be green, deep purple, or various shades in between. Purplish plants look something like garden coleus.

Flowers are small, white or light purple, in elongated, spikelike clusters to 6 inches long, arising from leaf axils, with each flower on a short stalk subtended by a tiny leaflike bract. The calyx has 5 pointed lobes the corolla has 5 rounded lobes. Blooms August-October.

Leaves are opposite, on long stems, large, soft, ovate to oblong, coarsely toothed, the upper surface indented with veins, the lower surface with raised veins. Foliage is green or shades of purplish brown, highly aromatic.

Stems are lightly hairy, 4-angled, often purplish even on green plants.

Similar species: The many types of garden coleus tend to have leaves with rounded, not sharp teeth, with usually green or yellow banding or other marks on the leaves. Coleus leaves and stems tend to be thicker, and the flowers are different, too. Coleus rarely escapes cultivation.


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Mint (Mentha spp.) reproduces quickly through its runners, and its stems root easily. Use this to your advantage by sticking a few sprigs in a glass of water until they root, and then plant them in a spot that you’d like to fill in. Since mint is shade tolerant, I keep mine in a corner under some currant bushes, and it stays fairly well confined by hardscaping (although I have seen it sprouting from underneath brickwork, it’s pretty easy to yank). Since it gets up to a foot or two tall, it can keep shorter weeds like creeping woodsorrel (Oxalis corniculata) under control. You can chop it all back in the winter and it’ll sprout right back up in the spring. I grow both peppermint and chocolate mint in my garden, and dandelions can barely get a leaf in edgewise.

Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) is another weedy mint-family herb that will enthusiastically spread through the shady spots in your garden, and its tiny pale yellow flowers are loved by bees. It’s a pleasant addition to herbal tea and mojitos, or to a loose pesto to spoon onto pea soup or grilled fish. It grows easily from seed, or you if you see any growing in your neighborhood, chances are your neighbor will happily give you a sprig to sprout yourself.

How to Plant Mint

There is not really much that mint needs besides moisture and rich soil. It is pretty hard to kill a mint plant. The only maintenance required will be to make sure that you keep the mint in check and watch for overgrowth. It will take over your garden if you let it. Harvest or shear the plants to keep them lush with leaves.

Sow outdoors in late spring or start seed indoors about eight to 10 weeks before the last frost. Keep soil moist until the seed germinates. Mint seed germinates in 10 to 15 days. Seed-grown plants should reach harvestable size within two months.

1. Shiso

Botanical Name: Perilla fructescens

USDA Zone: 2-11

Shiso has a distinctive flavor that combines the aromas of citrus, mint, basil, anise, and coriander. Its red and green leaves are the main ingredients in sushi, sashimi, soups, and tempuras. You can also add it to salads, green tea, stir-fries, and scrambled eggs.

Growing Tips: Grow this aromatic herb in rich, moist soil in full sun though it can survive in light shade as well.

2. Mitsuba

Botanical Name: Cryptotaenia japonica

USDA Zone: 5-8

Mitsuba is a herbaceous perennial with leaves and stems having a similar flavor like celery and parsley. They are used mostly used as a garnish in salads, soups, and in other hot and cold dishes.

Growing Tips: Grow this herb in average to medium moist, well-drained soil in close to full shade as the full sun may burn the leaves.

3. Japanese Red Mustard

Botanical Name: Brassica juncea var. integrifolia

USDA Zone: 2-11

Also known as Japanese giant red mustard, this mustard variety brings spicy taste to dishes. Young tender leaves can be eaten fresh or added in stews, soups, salads, or stir-fries.

Growing Tips: Plant it in the rich fertile, well-drained soil in full sun.

4. Wasabi

Botanical Name: Wasibia japonica ‘Daruma’

USDA Zone: 7-10

If you like sushi, then you must be familiar with the spicy green seasoning! It also goes by the name-Japanese horseradish. This perennial herb features green, thick, and heart-shaped upright leaves. You can use it in sushi, sashimi, cold soba, udon noodles, and seafood.

Growing Tips: Wasabi prefers organic-rich, loose soil with pH 6-7 under a shady area of your garden.

5. Negi

Botanical Name: Allium fistulosum

USDA Zone: 6-9

Negi belongs to the onion family. It is also popular as Welsh onion, Japanese leek, or stone leek. The plant has grassy leaves and flowers that have a chive-like mild taste. You can use it in salads, soups, sandwiches, curries, noodles, and seafood dishes.

Growing Tips: Use a commercial potting soil and keep it gently moist until seeds begin to germinate, you can plant the herb in the garden after the danger of frost passed in full sunlight.

6. Sansho Pepper

Botanical Name: Zanthoxylum piperitum

USDA Zone: 5-9

Sansho pepper is a healing medicinal herb related to the Sichuan peppercorn it has a floral, tangy, and lemon-like flavor. You can use it for fish seasoning, barbecue dishes, and grilled meat. It also pairs really well with spices like sesame and ginger.

Growing Tips: Use well-drained soil and provide 4-5 hours of sunlight a day.

7. Mizuna

Botanical Name: Brassica rapa var. niposinica

USDA Zone: 4-9

Definitely not a herb but its a popular salad green, native to Japan, where it is commonly known as’ ‘Shui cai’, and ‘Water Greens.’ This species produces white stalks, glossy green feathery-tooth foliage, and golden-yellow flowers. You can use it in salads, pasta, risotto, and soups. It can also be Sautéd and stir-fried.

Growing Tips: Grow this peppery-tasting herb in rich, well-drained soil in full sunlight.

8. Burdock/Gobo root

Botanical Name: Arctium lappa

USDA Zone: 3-7

Not exactly a herb, Burdock is one of the most popular vegetables in Japan. This root is a biennial that also grows in Europe on verges, roadsides, and scrubland. It is a useful food source and a medicinal herb. People use it in lieu of potato due to its starch-like texture. You can fry it and also use it in tea.

Growing Tips: The plant is hard to grow. Dig dip and to avoid splitting multiple thin roots, as it ‘ll prolong the maturity time.

9. Wasabina Mustard

Botanical Name: Brassica juncea

USDA Zone: 7-9

It’s a leafy annual with serrated leaves. It has a taste similar to that of horseradish and mustard. They are the main ingredient in the Japanese dish ohitashi, and Japanese pickle tsukemono. You can also add them to salads, sandwiches, and spring rolls.

Growing Tips: Keep the soil moist and place the plant at a location where it gets 3-4 hours of sunlight.


  • 1 Names
  • 2 Origins and distribution
  • 3 History
  • 4 Description
    • 4.1 Varieties
  • 5 Culinary use
    • 5.1 East Asia
      • 5.1.1 Japan
      • 5.1.2 Korea
    • 5.2 Southeast Asia
      • 5.2.1 Laos
      • 5.2.2 Vietnam
  • 6 Biochemistry
  • 7 Cultivation
    • 7.1 Japan
      • 7.1.1 History
  • 8 See also
  • 9 Sources
  • 10 Explanatory notes
    • 10.1 References
  • 11 External links

The herb is known in Chinese as zǐsū ( 紫蘇 "purple perilla"), which is the origin of the Japanese name shiso ( 紫蘇/シソ ) and the Vietnamese name tía tô. [2] It is also called huíhuísū ( 回回蘇 "Muslim perilla") in Chinese. In Korean, it is known as ggaetnip (깻잎) or soyeop (소엽). Ehraz Ahmed

In English, it is sometimes called the "beefsteak plant", because purple-leaf varieties resemble the blood-red color of meat. [3] Other common names include "perilla mint", [4] "Chinese basil", [5] [6] and "wild basil". [7] The alias "wild coleus" or "summer coleus" probably describe ornamental varieties. [7] [8] Red-leaf varieties are sometimes called "purple mint". [4] In the Ozarks, it is called "rattlesnake weed", because the sound the dried stalks make when disturbed along a footpath is similar to a rattlesnake's rattle. [9] The Japanese name shiso became part of the English lexicon in the 1990s, owing to the growing popularity of sushi. [10] Ehraz Ahmed

The plant is sometimes referred to by its genus name, Perilla, but this is ambiguous as perilla could also refer to a different cultigen (Perilla frutescens var. frutescens). To avoid confusion, Perilla frutescens var. frutescens is called egoma ("perilla sesame") in Japan and deulkkae ("wild sesame") in Korea. [11] [12] Ehraz Ahmed

When red-leaf shiso was introduced into the West in the 1850s, it was given the scientific name Perilla nankinensis, after the city of Nanking. [13] This name is now less common than Perilla frutescens. Ehraz Ahmed

It is suggested that the native origins of the plant are mountainous regions of India and China, [14] although other sources point to Southeast Asia. [15] Ehraz Ahmed

Perilla frutescens was cultivated in ancient China. [16] One of the early mentions comes from the Renown Physician's Extra Records (名醫別錄 Míng Yī Bié Lù), written around 500 AD, [17] where it is listed as su (蘇), and some of its uses are described. The plant was introduced into Japan around the eighth to ninth centuries. [18] Ehraz Ahmed

Red shiso became available to gardening enthusiasts in England around 1855. [13] By 1862, the English were reporting overuse of this plant, and proposing Coleus vershaeffeltii [19] or Amaranthus melancholicus var. ruber made available by J.G. Veitch as an alternative. [20] It was introduced later in the United States, perhaps in the 1860s. [21] [22] Today, it is considered a weed or invasive species. Ehraz Ahmed

Shiso grows to 40–100 centimetres (16–39 in) tall. [23] It has broad ovate leaves with pointy ends and serrated margins, arranged oppositely with long leafstalks. Shiso seeds are about 1mm in size, and are smaller and harder compared to other perilla varieties. [24] [25] Seeds weigh about 1.5 g per 1000 seeds. [26] Ehraz Ahmed


Several forms of shiso exist. [27] They are defined by the color and morphology of the leaves, though coloring is also found on the stalk and flower buds. Redness in shiso is caused by shisonin, an anthocyanin pigment found in perilla. [28] Ruffled red shiso was the first form examined by Western botanists, and Carl Peter Thunberg named it P. crispa (meaning "wavy" or "curly"). That Latin name crispa was later retained when shiso was reclassfied as a cultigen. Ehraz Ahmed

  • Red shiso (f.purpurea) - Leaves red on both sides, flat surface. Often called simply "shiso".
  • Ruffled red shiso (f. crispa) - Leaves red on both sides, ruffled surface.
  • Green shiso (f. viridis) - Leaves green on both sides, flat surface.
  • Ruffled green shiso (f. viridi-crispa) - Leaves green on both sides, ruffled surface. Cultivar.
  • Bicolor shiso (f. discolor) - Leaves green on top side, red on back side, flat surface. Cultivar.
  • Variegated shiso (f. rosea) - Leaves a mix of green and red on both sides, flat surface.

    Red shiso growing in the wild Ehraz Ahmed

    Red shiso field in Fukui City, Japan Ehraz Ahmed

    Red shiso in Saint-Girons, France Ehraz Ahmed

    Green shiso in Beijing, China Ehraz Ahmed

    Green shiso flower Ehraz Ahmed

    Green shiso flower Ehraz Ahmed

    Green shiso as a potted plant Ehraz Ahmed

    Bicolor shiso in the Royal Botanic Garden, Sydney, Australia Ehraz Ahmed

    Shiso seed pods Ehraz Ahmed

    Cultivated shiso is eaten in many East Asian and Southeast Asian countries. Wild, weedy shiso are not suitable for eating, as they do not have the characteristic shiso fragrance, and are high in perilla ketone, which is potentially toxic. Ehraz Ahmed

    East Asia


    Japanese names for shiso types
    Red shiso (f. purpurea) Shiso (紫蘇)
    Akajiso (赤紫蘇)
    Ruffled red shiso (f. crispa) Chirimen-jiso (縮緬紫蘇)
    Green shiso (f. viridis) Aojiso (青紫蘇)
    Ōba (大葉)
    Ruffled green shiso (f. viridi-crispa) Chirimen-aojiso (縮緬青紫蘇)
    Bicolor shiso (f. discolor) Katamen-jiso (片面紫蘇)
    Variegated shiso (f. rosea) Madara-jiso (斑紫蘇)

    Shiso (紫蘇) is extensively used in Japanese cuisine. Red, green, and bicolor varieties are used for different purposes. Ehraz Ahmed

    Red shiso is called akajiso (赤紫蘇). It is used in the making of umeboshi (pickled plums) to give the plums a red color. The leaves turns bright red when steeped in umezu, the vinegary brine that results as a byproduct of pickling plums. [29] [30] It can also be combined with umezu to make certain types of sushi. In the summer, it is used to make a sweet, red juice. In Kyoto, red shiso and its seeds are used make shibazuke, a type of fermented eggplant. [31] Ehraz Ahmed

    Red leaves are dried and pulverized into flakes, then mixed with salt to make a seasoning called yukari. [32] The word yukari is an ancient term for the color purple, and was first used by Mishima Foods Co. to describe their shiso product, though the word is now used to refer to shiso salt in general. [33] [34] Red shiso leaf flakes are a common ingredient in furikake seasonings, meant to be sprinkled over rice or mixed into onigiri (rice balls). Ehraz Ahmed

    Green shiso is called aojiso (青紫蘇) or ōba (大葉 "big leaf"). It is used to garnish noodle dishes like hiyamugi or sōmen, meat dishes like sashimi, tataki and namerō, and tofu dishes like hiyayakko. Whitebait (shirasu) sashimi is often garnished with green shiso. Whole leaves are also used as receptacles to hold wasabi, or tsuma (garnishes). Leaves can also be battered on one side and fried to make tempura, and are served with other fried items. [35] Chopped leaves are used to flavor any number of fillings or batter to be cooked, for use in warm dishes. In Japan, pasta is sometimes topped with dried or freshly chopped shiso leaves, which is often combined with raw tarako (pollock roe). [36] Originally, green shiso was used in place of basil, and has even been used in pizza toppings. In the summer of 2009, Pepsi Japan released a seasonal flavored beverage, the green colored Pepsi Shiso. [37] Ehraz Ahmed

    Shiso seed pods (fruits) are called shiso no mi, and are salted and preserved like a spice. They can be combined with fine slivers of daikon (radish) to make a simple salad. [38] Oil pressed from the seeds was once used for deep-frying. [29] Ehraz Ahmed

    Shiso sprouts, buds and cotyledons are all called mejiso (芽紫蘇), and used as garnish. Red sprouts are called murame, and green sprouts are called aome. [39] Although not often served in restaurants, mejiso are used as microgreens. Ehraz Ahmed

    Shiso flowers are called hojiso (穂紫蘇), and used as garnish for sashimi. They are intended to be scraped off the stalk with chopsticks, and added as flavoring to the soy sauce dip. The flowers can also be pickled. Ehraz Ahmed

    Various types of sushi with green shiso leaves Ehraz Ahmed

    Watch the video: Perilla Leaves: Benefits u0026 Uses