- Season: Annual
- USDA Zones: 3 - 11
- Height: 36 inches
- Bloom Season: Mid summer to early fall
- Bloom Color: Pink to white
- Environment: Full sun
- Soil Type: Light to medium moist well-drained and rich soil, pH 6.1 - 7.8
- Temperature: 70F
- Average Germ Time: 15 - 30 days
- Light Required: Yes
- Depth: 1/8th - 1/4 inch deep
- Sowing Rate: 3 - 4 seeds per plant
- Moisture: Keep seeds moist until germination
- Plant Spacing: 18 - 24 inches
- Care & Maintenance: See: Perilla
Beefsteak Plant (Perilla Frutescens) - Start Perilla frutescens seeds for a beautiful foliage plant that is also a great culinary herb. This must-have for the herb garden is an annual that goes by many different common names including: Ao Shiso, Beefsteak Plant, Wild Basil, Wild Red Basil, Chinese Basil, Summer Coleus, Wild Coleus, Purple Mint, and there are probably more names for this treasured herb plant. Perilla will grow as a perennial in regions that are frost-free.
This ornamental herb is very attractive with deep purple stems that are square and purple to red tinted leaves. It is a bushy plant and can reach 36 inches in height. Grow Perilla herb in full sun and in rich, moist, and well-drained soil. The Wild Coleus plant is highly aromatic with a minty scent, and it is very attractive to butterflies. In humid climates, the herb plants grow very quickly, and to maintain a neat appearance, pinch the tops off.
As a culinary herb, Perilla is a sweet-spicy flavoring that is widely used in oriental cuisine such as stir fries, raw fish, vegetable dishes, rice and soups. The red color of the Perilla leaves is used to color and pickle fruits and vegetables. The Perilla seeds are used to make nutritious cooking oil as well. Many vitamins and minerals are found in this herb plant, and it is 2000 times as sweet as sugar.
How To Grow Perilla From Herb Seeds: Start the herb seeds indoors 4 - 6 weeks before the end of frost season is expected. Lightly cover the Beefsteak Plant seeds with soil and keep moist. Transplant the Perilla plants outside once temperatures are consistently warm. Give the Purple Mint plants some protection, such as a cloche, until they are growing well.