How to Grow Perilla Plants

Gardener's HQ Guide to Growing Beafsteak Plant, Purple Mint, False & Wild Coleus

Members of the Perilla plant genus are half hardy annuals that can reach up to 60 cm (2 feet) in height.

They have a bushy nature, and are usually grown for their attractive foliage.

Perilla plants bloom in the summer and carry tubular flowers of white atop long stems.

Some of the common names for Perilla include False Coleus, Shiso, and Beefsteak Plant.


Perilla Magilla
Perilla Magilla by Photogirl7.1; creative commons.

Perilla leaves
Perilla leaves by Matsuyuki; creative commons.

Perilla Care and Growing Video Guide

Perilla Growing and Care Guide

Common Names: Beafsteak Plant, Purple Mint, Wild Coleus, Shiso, Japanese Basil.
Life Cycle: Half hardy annual.
Height: 20 to 24 inches (50 to 60 cm).
Native: Asia.
Growing Region: Zones 3 to 10.
Flowers: Summer.
Flower Details: White. Tubular. Usually grown for its ornamental leaves.
Foliage: Purple, green. Nettle-like. Deltoid. Toothed. Variegated.
Sow Outside: Surface. Following the last frost. Spacing 12 inches (30 cm).
Sow Inside: Use peat pots. Germination time: two to four weeks. Temperature 70°F (21°C). Three months before expected last frost. Transplant outdoors following the last frost.
Requirements: Full sunlight or light shade. Good drainage. Dry soil. Pinch tips. Propagate: stem cuttings.
Family: Lamiaceae.
Closely Related Species: Bugle; Painted Nettle; Hyssop; Dead Nettle; and English Lavender
Miscellaneous: The plant is a member of Lamiaceae, the mint family and has many culinary uses. It is a commonly used ingredient of many Japanese and Korean dishes.

Commonly Grown Perilla Species

Perilla frutescens

Perilla frutescens
Perilla frutescens (Korean perilla / Deulkkae), photograph by Katja Schulz; CC.

Perilla shiso

Perilla shiso
Perilla shiso (Beefsteak plant / Shiso), Image by Huerta Orgázmika; CC.

Perilla magilla Cultivar

Perilla magilla
Perilla magilla (Magilla Perilla Cultivar 'pink coleus'), picture by daryl_mitchell; CC.

How to Grow Beafsteak Plant and other Perilla Plants in the Garden

When growing outdoors from seeds, then sow the Beafsteak Plant (Perilla) on the surface following the last frost of spring.

Perilla plant species are able to grow well in both sunny and lightly shaded areas. Ideally the soil should be fairly dry.

If growing Perilla species in the greenhouse first, then start the process about 2 to 3 months in advance. The seeds should take from two to four weeks to germinate in the light at 18 to 24°C.

Once ready transplant the young Perilla seedlings to about 30 to 35 cm apart (after the last frost).

Caring for Perilla Plant

Perilla plants are easy to grow; as soon as they reach about 15 cm pinch the growing tips back to encourage bushiness.

The plants can take over the garden so you may like to deadhead the flowers before the seeds have a chance to set.

If you require more Perilla plants then propagation can be had by taking cuttings, or they can be easily grown from seed.

Common Questions

How many members does the Perilla genus contain?

The Perilla genus consists of 6 or 7 species of annual plants.

Do Perilla members make a good garden or landscaping plant?

Yes, Perilla plants, with their attractive foliage and strong aroma, can make a lovely addition to a garden, particularly in containers or as border plants.

Which Perilla species are most frequently grown by gardeners?

The most frequently grown species is Perilla frutescens, often known as Shiso or Japanese basil.

Are Perilla plants fragrant?

Yes, Perilla plants have a distinct, strong aroma due to essential oils present in their leaves.

What is the perfect location to grow Perilla?

Perilla grows best in a sunny to partially shaded location with well-drained soil. It prefers a moist, rich environment.

Is Perilla invasive in the USA, if so in which states?

At present, Perilla is not listed as invasive in the USA.

How do I remove Perilla plants from my garden?

To remove Perilla, pull up the whole plant, ensuring all roots are removed. The plant can self-seed, so removing flowers before they set seed can prevent future growth.


The Perilla genus, part of the Lamiaceae family, comprises aromatic annual herbs. They are native to Asia and known for their purple or green leaves that are often used in Asian cuisine, particularly in Japan and Korea.

Perilla plants enjoy a sunny to partially shaded location with well-drained soil. Typically, they are grown from seed in the spring after the risk of frost has passed. As culinary and ornamental plants, they are a wonderful addition to herb gardens, vegetable gardens, and borders.

I hope that you enjoyed this guide on how to grow Perilla plants. You may also enjoy the following Gardener's HQ growing guides: How to grow Lemon Balm and Physotegia plants.