Shiso Plant: Tasty Asian Mint Relative


The shiso plant is a staple herb in southeastern Asian nations. Shiso can be utilized in a wide range of dishes from chilly noodle dishes to sizzling ramen, from desserts to drinks. You may even bread it and fry it for scrumptious vegetable tempura.

Whether you eat lots of Asian crops as meals at house or not, shiso (additionally known as perilla mint) is an efficient herb to develop in your backyard. It has antioxidants, vitamin A, iron, and calcium, and may appeal to many pollinators to your backyard with its stunning flowers. The plant is warmth tolerant and is simply form of choosy in the case of soil high quality, making it a reasonably simple plant for newbie gardeners to develop.

Shiso is also referred to as the beefsteak plant as a result of its pink and pink foliage is alleged to appear to be floor beef. It’s additionally known as the rattlesnake weed in some areas as a result of when this plant is allowed to self-seed, it could possibly take over an space, simply as different mint household crops can.

Let’s discover easy methods to develop this scrumptious mint relative so you can begin rising it at house!

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Quick Care Guide

The shiso plant is a well-liked herb or salad addition overseas. Source: jsutcliffe
Common Name(s) Shiso, perilla, beefsteak plant, perilla mint, purple mint, Chinese basil, Joseph’s coat, rattlesnake weed
Scientific Name Perilla frutescens
Days to Harvest 60-70 days
Light Full solar, partial shade
Water 1 inch per week, maintain the soil moist
Soil Loose humus, excessive in natural matter
Fertilizer Optional, all-purpose fertilizer
Pests Aphids, cutworms, flea beetles, leafrollers, spider mites, whiteflies
Diseases Bacteria wilt, damping off, downy mildew, rust

All About Shiso

Variegated shiso
Variegated shiso is each inexperienced and pink. Source: monicamüller

Shiso is scientifically often known as Perilla frutescens and has a number of nicknames. The plant is within the mint household and appears like a big basil plant. It has a minty taste, but it surely additionally tastes like cilantro, basil, and anise mixed with cloves and cumin. It has a particular style that you simply’re certain to fall in love with. 

Perilla frutescens is native to japanese Asian nations, so it’s so standard in Asian delicacies. Only the leaves are utilized in cooking for the reason that stems have little hairs protecting them. The plant has additionally been utilized in conventional medication to deal with a wide range of well being considerations, together with anxiousness, bronchial asthma, colds, the flu, complications, and lots of extra illnesses.

The plant can develop 1-3 toes tall, and the leaves can develop as much as 4 inches in size. Like different mint crops, it could possibly unfold rapidly and take over an space when you don’t maintain it trimmed. It has a particular minty aroma that you simply’ll scent as you deal with the plant, making it pleasant to work with.

The plant is good for rising in USDA zones 10-11, the place it’s a perennial, however you may develop it in zones 2-9 yearly when you maintain it in a sunny space and shield it from chilly temperatures. It will develop nicely as a container plant, so you may convey it indoors within the winter to maintain it rising all 12 months lengthy.

Types Of Shiso

There are a number of kinds of shiso to select from. They all have distinctive appears to be like that may beautify your backyard, so contemplate rising a number of of them!

  • Red shiso: Red shiso is Perilla frutescens var. crispa and has a barely totally different taste than Perilla frutescens. Perilla frutescens var. crispa has a slight cinnamon taste and has purple leaves with a flat floor. It’s used to paint and season a dish known as umeboshi, a sort of pickled plums.
  • Ruffled pink shiso: Ruffled pink shiso is just like pink shiso, but it surely has a ruffled floor as a substitute of a flat one.
  • Green shiso: Green shiso is the basic: flat floor and the anticipated minty basil taste.
  • Ruffled inexperienced shiso: Ruffled inexperienced shiso is the ruffled model of inexperienced shiso.
  • Bicolor shiso: Bicolor shiso has a flat floor and is each pink and inexperienced with inexperienced on prime and pink on the underside.
  • Variegated shiso: Variegated shiso is each pink and inexperienced however can have each colours on all sides.

Planting Shiso

The greatest time to plant shiso is spring. Start seeds indoors 8-12 weeks earlier than the final frost date. Start seeds outdoor or plant transplants outdoors in spring as soon as there’s no signal of frost and the temperatures keep above 45°F (7.2°C).

You can plant shiso virtually wherever if it’s sunny. It works nicely straight within the floor, in containers, and raised beds. Keep in thoughts that it’s thought of invasive in lots of locations, so when you don’t wish to threat the plant taking on an space of your backyard, a container could also be greatest. Shiso grows greatest in full solar however can tolerate a bit of shade, so a sunny location with different crops shall be appropriate.

To plant the seeds, broadcast them in rows 1-2 toes aside. Or, sprinkle just a few right into a container. The seeds require mild to develop, so it’s greatest to softly press them into the soil as a substitute of protecting them up. They ought to be no deeper than ¼ an inch. Keep the soil moist, and the seeds ought to germinate in about two weeks. Once they’re 3 inches tall, skinny them out, so the crops are about 1 foot aside.

To plant seedlings, dig out a gap the identical dimension as the foundation ball and fill any remaining house with soil. Keep the seedlings well-watered till they’re established. Shiso ought to have constantly moist soil, however they’re considerably drought tolerant.


Shiso seedling
A pink shiso seedling. Source: jsutcliffe

Caring for shiso is fairly easy. Let’s check out every thing it’s good to know.

Sun and Temperature

The best USDA zones for shiso are 10 and 11, however you may develop it as an annual in virtually any zone. The temperature ought to be constantly above 45°F (7.2°C) while you plant shiso seeds or transplants.

Shiso can’t tolerate temperatures colder than 45°F, so that you’ll have to convey it indoors over winter or develop it as an annual. Growing it in a container will mean you can convey it indoors throughout winter simply.

Water and Humidity

Shiso ought to all the time have moist however well-drained soil. You ought to by no means see puddles of standing water or dry soil.

You’ll want to supply your shiso with 1 inch of water per week. Rainwater is good, however supplementing it with the water hose is completely acceptable. Shiso is considerably drought tolerant, so skipping just a few days of watering shouldn’t be detrimental. However, it received’t develop as nicely throughout this time.

The greatest technique to water shiso is to make use of soaker hoses so you may water the bottom and keep away from getting leaves moist. Watering within the morning is greatest, so the water can have time to soak into the bottom earlier than the solar evaporates it. If it’s a must to water overhead, do it very early within the morning so the crops can have time to dry off all through the day to keep away from ailments.


Shiso will carry out greatest in soil that’s principally humus, free, and stuffed with natural matter. It received’t tolerate poor soils, however it could possibly make do with common soil. Nutrient-rich soil shall be greatest. Keep a watch on the pH of the soil because it grows greatest in 5.5-6.5.

Well-drained soil is crucial as a result of it prevents the crops from getting overwatered, so be sure the container has holes, or that the backyard isn’t compacted.


Since shiso crops aren’t heavy feeders, you shouldn’t need to fertilize greater than three or 4 occasions per 12 months. If you used numerous compost at first and add it as wanted all year long, you might most likely keep away from fertilizing altogether. If you do have to fertilize, select an all-purpose fertilizer liquid or an all-purpose, slow-release granular fertilizer.


Shiso doesn’t require a lot pruning. As it’s rising, you may pinch the stem ideas above leaf nodes to advertise bushy development. If you harvest the leaves commonly, that ought to be all of the pruning it wants. You might have to prune it when you’re not harvesting rapidly sufficient, or if it’s allowed to develop a bit too large for its space.


Shiso readily self-seeds and may take over the realm. If you reside in a heat sufficient space that it could possibly develop as a perennial, you’ll have your present plant rising together with new seedlings from dropped seeds. It can get out of hand fairly rapidly, so remember to deadhead the flowers.

Typical propagation is simply by way of seed. Unlike different mints, perilla doesn’t produce runners.

Harvesting and Storing

Green shiso
Green shiso has a barely totally different taste profile from some pink sorts. Source: nstop

And now, for the second you’ve patiently waited for: harvesting! Harvesting shiso leaves are easy, and you are able to do it your complete rising season.


You can start harvesting shiso leaves about two months after planting them and proceed doing so for a number of months.

To harvest shiso, lower the stem above a pair of leaves. Use sharp, clear scissors so that you don’t injure the plant or unfold illness. Cut as a lot as you want, and the plant will proceed to develop.


For quick storage, place shiso in a sealable plastic bag with moist paper towels. It ought to final about 4 days.

For long-term storage, you may air dry or freeze-dry them by laying the leaves out on a cookie sheet for just a few days, both in a heat place or within the freezer. You can even retailer them in a container within the fridge in layers with salt between every layer of leaves.


Shiso growth habit
Shiso crops develop tall with the same behavior to basil. Source: hape662

It’s typically problem-free to develop shiso, however there are some things to look out for.

Growing Problems

Realistically, the one rising drawback that you simply may need together with your perilla mint is that it’s going to actually develop in every single place. Just like different crops in the identical household as mint, you’ll discover rising shiso popping up within the areas the place it produced seed the prior 12 months. If you wish to include your purple perilla or make sure that you don’t have surprising inexperienced shiso leaves showing in every single place, contemplate container-growing shiso as a substitute of placing it within the floor. Remove the flowers after they seem to scale back the probability of self-seeding.


There are just a few pests that you could be discover round your shiso. Aphids may be black, inexperienced, pink, yellow, brown, or gray, they usually feed on the sap within the plant. You can use insecticidal cleaning soap, neem oil, or natural pesticides like pyrethrin to kill them, or you may appeal to ladybugs since they prefer to eat them. 

Cutworms feed on plant stems on the base of the soil and lower off the plant, and leafrollers are caterpillars that eat up leaves and use silk to roll up in and dangle on leaves. Both of those may be prevented by defending crops with row covers. You can use pesticides to eliminate them or use Bacillus thuringiensis (BT) as pure pest management.

Flea beetles, spider mites, and whiteflies are all small bugs that feed on crops. Spider mites inject toxins into the crops and flea beetles can unfold ailments. Insecticidal soaps are a great way to eliminate these pests. Rotating crops with different plant households is an efficient technique to stop them.


Shiso typically doesn’t have many ailments, however there are just a few it may need sometimes. Bacterial wilt may be unfold by flea beetles and can trigger yellow streaking on the leaves. Damping-off and downy mildew are fungi brought on by an excessive amount of moisture. These ailments may be prevented with crop rotation and by watering on the base of the plant and avoiding the leaves. Diseased leaves or total crops may be eliminated to stop them from spreading.

Rust causes rust-colored spots on crops. Copper fungicide can be utilized to deal with mild outbreaks, however rotating the crops and eradicating the contaminated crops will assist stop the unfold.

Frequently Asked Questions

Red shiso in flower
Shiso in flower. Source: rafa59

Q: Is shiso an invasive plant?

A: Like different mints, shiso grows rapidly and can simply self-seed. It’s thought of invasive in some elements of the United States the place individuals have allowed it to develop freely. However, you may simply management it in a backyard.

Q: Is shiso a perennial?

A: Shiso grows as a perennial in USDA zones 10-11, however is an annual plant in zones 2-9. 

Q: Does shiso like full solar?

A: Shiso grows greatest in full solar, however it could possibly tolerate partial shade.

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