Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Beefsteak Plant
Perilla 'Magilla'

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

One vendor has this plant for sale.

20 members have or want this plant for trade.


18-24 in. (45-60 cm)

18-24 in. (45-60 cm)
24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

Not Applicable

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun
Sun to Partial Shade

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

Bloom Color:
White/Near White

Bloom Time:
Late Summer/Early Fall

Grown for foliage

Other details:
Self-sows freely; deadhead if you do not want volunteer seedlings next season

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
From seed; sow indoors before last frost
From seed; direct sow after last frost

Seed Collecting:
Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds
Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored

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By Terry
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By PVick
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By htop
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By Wingnut
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There are a total of 27 photos.
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23 positives
3 neutrals
1 negative

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive purpleinopp On Sep 30, 2014, purpleinopp from Opp, AL (Zone 8b) wrote:

The one negative review of this plant by coriaceous is describing Perilla frutescens, not Perilla 'Magilla.'

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 TexasFriendly On May 15, 2011, TexasFriendly from Dublin, TX wrote:

I searched for this plant after reading how hardy it was in the Texas heat. I found it in Stephenville at the ace hardware plant place of all places! It is beautiful and adapted well in planting in my garden, it adds color and promises to be bushier than Coleus. It has survived the wind storms and hail and is thriving. If it lives up to its reputation it will be a trouper in the Texas summer... what a find!

Positive mmanman On Jan 30, 2010, mmanman from Houston, TX wrote:

My greenhouse has over 40 varieties of Coleus that are overwintering in small pots from cuttings. There is a Perilla frutescens var Magilla amongst them. When friends visit, I give them six stick-on tags which they may initial and place on pots of the varieties they would like for spring planting (I start cuttings of these for them). Invariably, the Perilla is selected by everyone. It really is a lovely plant and does well in the garden as well as a houseplant (I rotate duplicates to the brighter greenhouse every 3 or 4 days).

Positive darylmitchell On Aug 6, 2009, darylmitchell from Saskatoon, SK (Zone 3a) wrote:

I couldn't help but laugh when I read the name tag... it reminded me of the cartoon "Magilla Gorilla", which I'm sure the plant breeder intended. Anyway, I potted this perilla in a container with some trailing torenia, and placed it in a morning sun/afternoon shade location. It grew profusely and maintained its rich purple/magenta colour.

Positive yhanavan On Aug 19, 2008, yhanavan from Concord, CA wrote:

I planted 3 of these plants in mid-July. They are all in full sun until mid-morning and then partial shade the rest of the day. I was worried about how they would do since the soil is poor quality (mostly hard clay). They all are doing remarkably well and are growing like crazy.

Positive lavender4ever On Aug 13, 2008, lavender4ever from (Louise) Palm Bay, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

Care free plant of exceptional beauty. Loves our clay soil too. Easy to root in water and does equally well in planters.

Positive DonnaA2Z On Sep 14, 2006, DonnaA2Z from Jacksonville, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:

I haven't had this plant but for about a month... I have to say I fell in love with it when I saw it. I, as well as others, thought it was a colleus at first. This is definately the most hardiest plant I have.

Positive crowellli On Jul 10, 2006, crowellli from Houston, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

These plants have withstood prolonged drought that lasted for several months when they were first planted. We then had heavy rains every day for a couple of weeks. It stood up to all that without any problems at all. I've experienced no bug problems with it either. Very colorful and easy to grow here in Houston.

Positive saladgirl On Jun 6, 2006, saladgirl from Las Vegas, NV (Zone 9a) wrote:

I purchased a Magilla in mid-May and planted it in a glazed pot (approx 10 gal. in size) with good drainage and pot feet. It is in a spot of my yard where it receives full sun from 10 a.m. to 7p.m. Our temperatures jumped into triple digits about 10 days ago, and over the last weekend most of my other plant began to wilt, but the Magilla has held it's own, and more than doubled in size. We are on a drip system which offers a short drink each a.m. and I'm happy to have found another plant that will stand up to this desert heat and beautify our pool area. (All of the sunlight reflecting off the water and light colored walls has not affected it yet either.) Will see how it holds up through our winter.

Positive tremax On Jun 25, 2005, tremax from Delray Beach, FL (Zone 10a) wrote:

Have had this plant for about four months now. Some in full sun and some in partial shade. They are all growing well and have been easy to root from cuttings. There has been some damage to leaves caused by unknown sources. Leaves get various shapes of deterioration. Some look as tho they've been eaten. Not having any idea how to treat this problem I have not tried any kind of medication. Anybody having success with treating this???

Positive smiln32 On May 9, 2005, smiln32 from Oklahoma City, OK (Zone 7a) wrote:

I could have sworn it was a coleus when I first saw it, then I saw a sign right below it that read, "This is not a coleus." Well, that answered that. :) It's a very interesting plant with about as much variegation as you can get in a leaf. Sure looks like a coleus, though. :)

Positive ruthm On Nov 12, 2004, ruthm from Dayton, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

This plant has performed wonderfully in our humid, hot summer. It has rooted so well, we have many pots ready for gifting. No problem with wilting but have noticed small slits in some of the older leaves. Not sure if it is a critter or just the habit of this plant. But as long as the plant performs this beautifully, it's a keeper!

Positive lmelling On Oct 14, 2004, lmelling from Ithaca, NY (Zone 5b) wrote:

I absolutely love this plant! I purchased 6 of them this year and have them growing all over. They are deep pink/purple where they receive more sun and green with pink centers in the shade. They make wonderful accents in and around hydrangea, hosta and when mixed with impatiens and other annuals and have survived several weeks of cooler weather and light frosts here in NY so far.

Positive surfee On Sep 11, 2004, surfee from Clarksville, TN wrote:

I love this plant! Everyone who sees it comments on it, and it has grown unbelievably fast. I have also rooted some pieces in water and they too have been a success.

I would like to have it again next year...but i am unsure how to preserve it, i would love any tips.

Positive dedward300 On Aug 28, 2004, dedward300 from Cordova, TN wrote:

This is a true crowd pleaser. It can take our full Memphis sun. Very easy to take cuttings, roots in about a week, and can set out in 2 weeks. Grosshoppers may be a problem, but the plants are so bushy you really don't see the damage. They are beautiful planted with Profusion Cherry Zinnias. I am going to try and winter-over some plants for cuttings next year.

Positive shudhave On Aug 26, 2004, shudhave from Upton, MA (Zone 5b) wrote:

This plant is so easy to grow and looks fantastic all summer. I overwinter starts of it and also the large plant -- which struggles through until Spring and then takes a few weeks to adjust when it goes back outside. It recovers by early summer and is full and colorful until nearly frost. Try it with lime-colored annuals and stand back! It's great!

Positive RonandDanyle On Jul 18, 2004, RonandDanyle from Butler, PA wrote:

WE LOVE THIS PLANT!!!! We live in mid-Western PA and it does rain a lot here. I think Pennsylvania has like 37 sunny days a year that it doesn't rain/snow/sleet etc. First let me establish that I have been know to be able to kill virtually any plant (no kidding, I killed snake plant once in college--bet you thought that was impossible). We planted 7 of these aproximately 6 weeks ago on the side of our house in an area that's about 1/4 sun/ 3/4 shade about 18 inches apart. I thought they were pretty but didn't hold out much hope. We watered them every few days and put some miracle grow on them exactly twice and they just took off! They are now so huge they are touching each other width-wise and almost 2 feet tall. These have approx QUADRUPLED in size and they are sooooo beautiful. Everyone compliments us on how beautiful they are and asks what plant it is. The colors are magnificent from light green to deep magenta to eggplant. I have had such an awesome experience watching these grow that I am actually enjoying gardening for the first time in my life....see what a little success can do for your confidence?! Bottom line it adds color, is low-maintenance, not messy, strong, beautiful, and just looks great!!!

Neutral johnastl On Jul 2, 2004, johnastl from Tampa, FL wrote:

I also bought some of the Magilla variety 1 gallon at Home depot. They are doing fine, however there has been some insect damage on the leaves. I have not experienced any color changes with full sun or partial sun. Makes a great texture change between larger shrubs. Time will tell if they can survive a long time. Have not seen this plant be a fast grower as of yet. Any help would be appreciated on the insect damage because we really love what the perilla adds to our landscape..

Positive maconfalcon On Jun 26, 2004, maconfalcon from Macon, GA wrote:

I planted this in middle Georgia last month and it is thriving! Its the center of a pot with petunias and mixed flowers around it and everyone loves it. Of course, every person who has commented on it thinks its a coleus. So far so good, but the summer is still early here and we've had lots of rain in the last couple weeks. I have not tried to take cuttings to root new plants yet, but sounds like that is a distinct possibility. I got mine at Home Depot @ $3.99 for 4" pot.

Positive Wingnut On Jun 15, 2004, Wingnut from Spicewood, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

BEAUTIFUL plant! One of the top-ten comment getters in my garden. Roots very easily from cuttings, easier than coleus even. I LOVE it!

Neutral youreit On Mar 17, 2004, youreit from Knights Landing, CA (Zone 9b) wrote:

I would have given this plant a negative, however, I believe most plants must have at least one or 2 redeeming qualities. I live on the border of zones 8 & 14 in California, and this poor thing was wilting before I even got it in the ground. It perked up a little after more watering, but as soon as I planted it [in a non-boggy area near a man-made creek in filtered shade], it began its slow decline before dying completely. I haven't had that happen too often, so maybe I'll just stick with what I know from now on. The ones pictured sure look beautiful, though.

Positive jyoung On Feb 11, 2004, jyoung from Baton Rouge, LA wrote:

We had much success the first year we trialed this plant in Baton Rouge, LA. Unlike coleus, this plant did not flower until very late in the season, late September early October, and had very few flower spikes. Plantings occurred in April in full sun and performance was outstanding. No insects or diseases were found, plants continued to flourish under extreme heat, up to 101 F on some days, and survived until first frost in late November.

This is an excellent plant for areas where heat stress and droughtful conditions occur. It is somewhat maintenance free and has a provides excellent color.

Positive PVick On Aug 25, 2003, PVick from Brooklyn, NY (Zone 7b) wrote:

Fell in love with this plant the first time I saw it. Grows beautifully in containers. My plant gets some sun for most of the day; multi-colored and lush, it has not gotten leggy, wilty or faded.

I hope to get cuttings to overwinter so I can have this one again next year.

Positive htop On Aug 16, 2003, htop from San Antonio, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

The old-fashioned purple-leaf perilla (Perilla frutescens) resembles purple basil. Perilla, a small genus of annuals is a member of the mint family as is the coleus for which the 'Magilla' is often mistaken. It has vibrantly colored, rounded, almond-shaped leaves with dark purple stems. It is a tremendously fast grower.

It requires moist, well-drained soil and occasional fertilizer. It is said that with more sunlight, its foliage should be more multi-colored and in the shade, it should be more purplish toned. But my plants seem to be a deeper color planted in pots where they receive the most sunlight. I have not planted any in full sun. In all locations, they have grown robustedly.

My 135 pound dog broke off a stem from one of these plants before I could repot it after bringing it home from the garden center. I stuck it (the stem, not the dog) in root stimulator, potted it, and kept it watered everyday for about 5 days. It wilted for 2 days in 108 degree weather - so did I and my dog. This plant now has tripled in size in 3 weeks! It roots more quickly than a coleus does and the stems seem to be more sturdy. I am going to test this one in full sun, in Texas and in the hottest part of the year to determine how tough it is.

At the garden center, I fell immediately in love with them. I bought my brother and my neighbors one each. They are all thriving in various light conditions (none planted in full sun). Here, they were $2.99 for a gallon size plant at Lowe's. Well worth the money!

Neutral jkom51 On Jul 11, 2003, jkom51 from Oakland, CA (Zone 9b) wrote:

Just got this plant so can't say how well it's going to do long-term here in coastal Northern CA (zone 9/Sunset zone 17). Supposedly this plant can go all the way full sun to full shade; sun gets more pink/red, shade goes more green/purple. Astoundingly beautiful plant, everyone who sees it wants one!

6 wks later, Aug 2003: Our hot dry CA summer can bleach this plant, but so can too much shade. I'm keeping tabs on 4 of these plants, two of them in full sun, windy coastal conditions, 1 in almost full shade (potted so I can take it out to the sun if it needs it) and 1 in partial shade.

In full sun (5+ hrs) the colors fade, particularly the purple, to a much duller overall appearance. When backlit, however, you still see the vivid magenta color of stems and leaves, so in the right setting it remains very handsome.

In full shade the purple & magenta veining starts to disappear and the plant reverts to cream and green. Even a couple of hours of partial sun brings the colors back quickly, though. Here in coastal Northern CA the colors are best in a partial sun situation -- with humusy, well-draining soil and moderate watering, that's 4-5 hours of sun.

Positive Terry On Apr 23, 2003, Terry from Murfreesboro, TN (Zone 7a) wrote:

Looks more like Coleus than many Coleus do; I was completely nonplussed when I lifted up the tag at the nursery (I was sure it was a Coleus.)

The commercial grower's notes say it will take full sun better than the best Coleus, too - we'll see!


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

Birmingham, Alabama
Moody, Alabama
Chandler, Arizona
Mountain Home, Arkansas
Prescott, Arkansas
Clayton, California
Clovis, California
Concord, California
Fairfield, California
Oakland, California
San Jose, California
Sonoma, California
Vallejo, California
Bartow, Florida
Cape Coral, Florida
Fort Pierce, Florida
Jacksonville, Florida
Largo, Florida
Lecanto, Florida
Nokomis, Florida
Tampa, Florida
West Palm Beach, Florida
Boise, Idaho
Chatham, Illinois
Chicago, Illinois
Lake In The Hills, Illinois
Rock Falls, Illinois
Davenport, Iowa
Galva, Iowa
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Minneapolis, Minnesota (2 reports)
Leakesville, Mississippi
Mathiston, Mississippi
Otoe, Nebraska
Las Vegas, Nevada
Brooklyn, New York
Ithaca, New York
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Butler, Pennsylvania
Vieques, Puerto Rico
Summerville, South Carolina
Cordova, Tennessee
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Austin, Texas
Dayton, Texas
Dublin, Texas
Fort Worth, Texas
Garland, Texas
Houston, Texas (3 reports)
Lufkin, Texas
Midway, Texas
Plano, Texas
Port Lavaca, Texas
San Antonio, Texas
Shepherd, Texas
Spicewood, Texas
Sugar Land, Texas
Salt Lake City, Utah
Ashburn, Virginia
Lexington, Virginia
Kalama, Washington
Muscoda, Wisconsin
Twin Lakes, Wisconsin
Riverton, Wyoming

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