How to plant shiso

Perilla frutescens var. crisp

The shiso, also called perilla, is an Asian plant that can grow from 40 cm to about a meter in height. The two most cultivated botanical forms of shiso are popularly termed green shiso and red or purple shiso. Most used as a spice, the leaves and inflorescences of shiso can be eaten raw in salads or cooked in various types of dishes, being especially used in Southeast Asian cuisine, such as Japanese, Korean and Chinese. Red or purple shiso leaves are also used to color food. Sprouts or seedlings of both types are very popular in salads and in different types of recipes. There are also cultivars available for use as an ornamental plant in gardens.

Another variety of perilla ( Perilla frutescens var. Frutescens ) produces seeds that are used in human and poultry food, and are also used for the extraction of vegetable oil.


This herb grows best in a moderately hot climate, with a temperature above 18 ° C, although it tolerates a temperature of up to 12 ° C without major problems.


You should receive direct sunlight for at least a few hours daily. This plant needs short days to bloom.


Cultivate preferably in well-drained, fertile soil, rich in organic matter, with a pH between 5 and 7.5. However, this plant can be grown in almost any type of well-drained soil.


Irrigate to keep the soil moist, but not soaked.


Shiso is propagated by seeds, which take 1 to 4 weeks to germinate. For best germination rates, leave the seeds stored in the refrigerator until sowing. Sow in the final place or in sowing and other containers in a place protected from the cold, transplanting the seedlings when they have four to six leaves. The seeds need light to germinate, so they should stay on the surface of the soil, being covered at most with a light layer of sieved soil or fine sawdust.

The spacing between the plants can be from 30 to 60 cm. This plant can also be grown easily in large pots.


Each plant can have the end of the main branch cut when it reaches about 15 cm in height, to favor greater branching.

Remove invasive plants that are competing for resources and nutrients.

Shiso or perilla can become an invasive herb in some regions, so harvesting all inflorescences may be a suggested practice to prevent the spread of this plant, which also provides an increase in plant life. Shiso leaves are toxic to some animals, such as horses and oxen.


Shiso can usually be harvested after 80 days of planting, but sprouts or seedlings are also very popular. Leaves should be harvested when necessary, as they cannot be kept in good condition for a long time.

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