Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Perilla
Perilla 'Magellanica'

Family: Lamiaceae (lay-mee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Perilla (per-IL-uh) (Info)
Cultivar: Magellanica

8 members have or want this plant for trade.


18-24 in. (45-60 cm)

18-24 in. (45-60 cm)

Not Applicable

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun

Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested
Handling plant may cause skin irritation or allergic reaction

Bloom Color:

Bloom Time:

Grown for foliage

Other details:
This plant is suitable for growing indoors
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater
Suitable for growing in containers

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From herbaceous stem cuttings

Seed Collecting:
N/A: plant does not set seed, flowers are sterile, or plants will not come true from seed

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There are a total of 13 photos.
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5 positives
No neutrals
1 negative

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive Dean48089 On Jun 22, 2014, Dean48089 from Warren, MI (Zone 6b) wrote:

This plant, although erroneously called "Perilla," is not actually a Perilla but, like it's 'cousin' Magilla Perilla, is a Coleus hybrid. It was named "Perilla" by the Japanese hybridizers who developed it. They wanted a catchy name and were not interested in the botany. It should NOT be confused with the edible Perilla frutescens which, if not judiciously dead-headed, can become quite weedy and invasive. THEY ARE TWO ENTIRELY DIFFERENT PLANTS!

Neither Magellanica nor Magilla produce viable seeds, which is not a universal truth among interspecific hybrids but in this case is true.

I like this plant very much. I prefers more sunlight than the more common Coleus cultivars and, in fact, will turn mostly green if put in a spot where it gets little to no sunlight at all. It is also relatively drought and heat tolerant. which is nice when one's schedule does not allow for twice-daily watering as with many plants grown in containers.

Negative coriaceous On Apr 1, 2014, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

I used to be partial to the purple-leaf strain, but after growing it once in pots I found it turned into a persistent annual weed. After more than a decade, I'm still weeding it out of the beds. It's very aggressive and outcompetes many perennials.

A pretty plant, but there are far too many other pretty plants that are less work. I'll never plant this again deliberately in any garden.

Coleus makes an excellent substitute, unless you want to eat it.

This species is highly toxic to many animals, including horses, cattle, goats, rats, mice, and hamsters. It is responsible for fatal livestock poisonings when it invades pasturage.

This plant's invasive behavior has alarmed many organizations concerned with preserving natural areas, including the US National Park Service and the US Forest Service. It has been reported as invasive of natural habitat in 8 states.

Positive sylguy On Sep 20, 2009, sylguy from Austin, TX wrote:

I'm confused by prior perilla toxic or edible? I'm reminded of the late George Carlin's old routine about flammable versus inflammable. His question was, "does it flam, or doesn't it!"
I had almost overwhelming success with it perilla. I was given a 20"x12" coir lined hanging basket that turned into a real project. You can't just plunk this size gizmo just any ole where, so after calm consideration and the purchase of many feet of chain designed to support porch swings, the hubby and I got out our telescoping ladder, propped it up against a tall tree, in affixed the chain to a really strong branch with an "S" hook, with the bottom of the basket about 5" off the ground. The hubby left for an air show and I watched my video. Yes, Virginia, it came with a video. I learned that I should plant only 4-5" plants around the sides and top edges, none of those piddly little 6 packers. Here's the drill: all 5' 2" of me unpotted each of 29 plants, one at a time, soaking each root clump in a bucket of water, climbing up a short step-ladder, inserting it into the sides through a silver dollar size hole, and spreading the roots back out. This after filling a layer on the bottom with potting soil with fertilizer granules, also hand carried. Bottom row, seven plants, add more soil, next row 14 plants, more soil, around the top edge, 8 more plants, with their roots fanned out to tilt an spill over the edge, and then.....3, 6" pots of perilla. I used a combination of lime green sweet potato vine, a grey green little leafed plant around the top edge that I found in Houston, called licorice,begonias, and portulacas. I was one pooped LOL! BT(before texting), LOL stood for little ole lady not, laughed out loud.
This all happened in Austin's very long mild Spring, which let all my plants get a good grip before we got hit with double digits for it seemed like forever. But about the perilla, I took pix as the basket grew. At first, everything grew and concealed the basket structure as promised in the video, then it became clear that the perilla and the sweet potato vine were in a dead heat to take over the world, not to mention keeping me hopping to keep 'em watered. Soon the perilla shot up and out to a 5" circumferance and the sweet potato vine went 'till it hit the grass and curled back upwards. The two colors and the sheer size of it were stunning. Then came August, and daily watering, and engaging friends to come by and tend it while we left for a little over a week.
I always host my garden club in September, and while I can always re-arrange other smaller hanging basket or pots if they don't look party was clear that I'd have to baby the big basket until then, no getting that down easily. I've given oodles of cuttings away from the perilla and the vine. Now that it's down to me, and it's finally back down to the 80's, I'm going to prune all of the outer half of the perilla, in hopes that the other plants, (yup they're still in there) will have a chance to show themselves. The perilla roots very easily in water, and since I've had so much, I've even jammed stems that have broken off, uncermoniously into soil in pots. I was told it's a "tender perrenial" and if sheltered, might winter over. That was Houston talking, I'm not so sure about Austin. I plan to try to bring in cuttings to hedge my bet and leave some out to see.
I'd be glad to share if I knew how to send 'em, for nearby friends I wrap stems in wet paper towel and stick 'em in a zip-loc. I'm a Dave's newbie, so ya'll give me a clue. If someone can tell me how, I'll post a few pix. Sylguy

ps When I described the basket to my friend at the hardware store where I got the chain and said it got morning sun and was sheilded by trees from the afternoon hottest sun, she said, " so you have it on a swivel?" Oh no I didn't, so at that point, aforementioned hubby stood under it, raising it up like Atlas, so I'd have enough slack in the chain, from that big ladder, to add my shiny new swivel. I highly recommend doing it earlier in the project!

Positive grovespirit On Apr 18, 2008, grovespirit from Sunset Valley, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

This gorgeous and very versatile plant is an edible ornamental and is shade tolerant. I grow mine in the shady entryway to my apt. People often compliment me on its beauty. I use the leaves in floral arrangements too.

It may be easily reproduced from cuttings by putting them in water. :)

Its leaves are used in many Asian dishes including sashimi, or as a cilantro substitute in cooking. Its flavor is similar, and cilantro bolts easily in my climate.
This is also an edible garnish. I use it to prettify various dishes including soups and salads.

However, I disagree with "average water needs". I would say that this plant likes more water than average and desires consistently moist soil. It is somewhat resistant to overwatering and will grow in poorly drained areas. Plus, it sulks and wilts when I water it the same amount as I water my basils.

Positive Joy On Oct 29, 2006, Joy from Kalama, WA (Zone 8b) wrote:

Visitor's to my garden always comment on the beauty of this plant.
Perilla roots very easy in just a glass of water. I bought a plant a couple of years ago and take cuttings to grow indoors for the winter. Come spring I put it back outside.

Positive Happy_1 On Jun 23, 2005, Happy_1 from Chicago, IL (Zone 5b) wrote:

Perilla Magilla does well, so I am hoping that this new one will too....


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Hollywood, Florida
West Palm Beach, Florida
Mililani, Hawaii
Wahiawa, Hawaii
Mount Sterling, Kentucky
Warren, Michigan
Brewster, New York
Knoxville, Tennessee
Austin, Texas (2 reports)
Dallas, Texas
Houston, Texas
Roma, Texas
Kalama, Washington

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