Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Beefsteak Plant, Shiso, Green Perilla
Perilla frutescens 'Aoshiso'

Family: Lamiaceae (lay-mee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Perilla (per-IL-uh) (Info)
Species: frutescens (froo-TESS-enz) (Info)
Cultivar: Aoshiso
Additional cultivar information: (aka Ao-shiso)

3 vendors have this plant for sale.

14 members have or want this plant for trade.


18-24 in. (45-60 cm)

12-15 in. (30-38 cm)
15-18 in. (38-45 cm)
18-24 in. (45-60 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:
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater
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
N/A: plant does not set seed, flowers are sterile, or plants will not come true from seed

Click thumbnail
to view:

By kimchifan
Thumbnail #1 of Perilla frutescens by kimchifan

By kimchifan
Thumbnail #2 of Perilla frutescens by kimchifan

By kimchifan
Thumbnail #3 of Perilla frutescens by kimchifan

By kimchifan
Thumbnail #4 of Perilla frutescens by kimchifan

By Kell
Thumbnail #5 of Perilla frutescens by Kell


2 positives
1 neutral
1 negative

Gardeners' Notes:

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 Breezymeadow On Aug 20, 2005, Breezymeadow from Culpeper, VA (Zone 7a) wrote:

This plant, in both green & red variations, is naturalized here in Culpeper, VA, & I have several plants coming up in partial to full shade uncultivated areas of my property, some of which I'm planning on potting up.

While I haven't cooked with it yet, I do find it pleasant to nibble on when I'm working outdoors, & do plan to begin using it in both Korean & Japanese dishes. The taste, to me, is a mild mint/licorice.

Positive kimchifan On Jul 17, 2005, kimchifan from Los Angeles, CA (Zone 9a) wrote:

This herb is used by this household as a condiment for Korean and Japanese cuisine, eaten freshly chopped atop Korean cold noodles or as a wrapper for other foods. It's also made into kimchi.

Easily spreads to other pots or containers but this is not frowned upon in our garden! Seems to thrive in cool winter sun (in the California desert) without any need for shade. However, once the weather warms it will go directly to seed. In Zone 9+, don't bother planting past March. Sow on sandy, cactus soil and don't bury seed. Begin inside and transplant outside after the New Year. Once the plant goes to seed, the leaf quality quickly suffers and becomes asymmetrical in appearance.

The Victorians are said to have been fond of this plant and used it as an ornamental in flower arrangements. Perhaps it's time for shiso to make a come-back.

The flavor of perilla leaf is subtle -- a cross between mint and basil, but more subdued. Western chefs will benefit greatly from integrating it into their own cuisine. I have used it on pizza in place of basil.

Please note that "shiso" and "aoshiso" is the Japanese green variety with spikey edged leaves, used in sushi and Japanese cuisine. The Korean green variety (kkaenip) has smoother, non-spikey/edged leaves and is arguably more attractive. (See first photo in this entry for the Korean type.)

The Korean names for kkaennip are 깻잎 or 들깨. In Korea, it it also known as wild sesame, but is not related to sesame.

Neutral Windy On Jan 23, 2005, Windy from Belleville , IL (Zone 6b) wrote:

seed needs light to germinate. Do not cover seed.


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

Union Grove, Alabama
Palm Springs, California
Sherman, Connecticut
Hanson, Kentucky
Alvin, Texas
Austin, Texas
Arlington, Virginia
Culpeper, Virginia
Spotsylvania, Virginia
Walla Walla, Washington

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