Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Beefsteak Plant, Shiso, Red Perilla
Perilla frutescens 'Akashiso'

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

One vendor has this plant for sale.

13 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
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 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:

Thumbnail #1 of Perilla frutescens by BUFFY690

By Dean_W
Thumbnail #2 of Perilla frutescens by Dean_W

By wind
Thumbnail #3 of Perilla frutescens by wind

By wind
Thumbnail #4 of Perilla frutescens by wind


5 positives
2 neutrals
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 kimmyann On Dec 8, 2012, kimmyann from Baraga, MI wrote:

Reading the conversation regarding Shiso. I am growing in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and presently, in hydroponic growth and production. The Shiso grows awesome. My seeds are from Horizon Herbs, Happy Frog Starting Soil for seeds, and once transplanted a mix of 80% soil 20% Coir in one qt. pots. We are on week 4 and my plants are bushy, beautifully purple, and about 4 inches high.

Neutral gtrsnax On May 12, 2010, gtrsnax from Yorktown, VA wrote:

I live in Yorktown Virginia and have this growing rampantly in an area I do not want it in. Until just a few minutes ago, I had no idea how to control it, learning it was an annual and to get rid of it before it seeds. We have it in a well sheltered bed full of some VERY large hosta and this plant pretty much takes over the bed and makes it unenjoyable to view.
This plant was already in place when we bought the house and started as a few plants and now is a carpet of the stuff almost 10 years later.
I can understand it's wonderfulness if I had intended it to be there, it'd be a great plant! When it dies off in the winter though it leaves a horrible eye sore with old yellow, naked stalks poking up out of the ground which have to be plucked individually or just last fall I realized I can just hit them with the weedeater.
So, that's my experience and I'm happy to know how to destroy the crop this year. Sorry folks :(

Positive natas On Sep 14, 2009, natas from North East, MD (Zone 6a) wrote:

For those of you who don't know what to do with Beefsteak/perilla leaves, they are a suitable replacement for basil in most recipes, including pesto and pizza.

Positive SierraTigerLily On May 5, 2009, SierraTigerLily from Boca Raton, FL (Zone 10b) wrote:

I picked up a small herb pot of this from Whole Foods a year ago. Certainly a prolific volunteer in my garden. I have not experienced the dermatitis mentioned below. I can attest to the lovely leaves which I use to serve tuna sashimi appetizers. They provide a refreshing bite and counter balance to buttery slices of fish. Very attractive in my veggie garden.

Positive ncowan2005 On Jan 17, 2009, ncowan2005 from Toronto
Canada wrote:

You should pick the flowers when they are immature, just budding. they are the classic japanese food garnish and tangy yummy for salads too. the leaves keep their lustre that way.

we love this plant. it self sows like mad though so you will have volunteers everywhere.

Neutral sallyg On Oct 11, 2008, sallyg from Anne Arundel,, MD (Zone 7b) wrote:

I loved the red color of the leaves in spring and summer. End of summer, when it flowered, though, the leaves lost color and became a dull greenish, and they were messy looking because of the flower stalks. I took the (seeding) plants out and laid them in an area of lamiastrum where I hope to have the red color for spring again, and will pull them up late in summer.

Positive CurtisJones On Jun 11, 2008, CurtisJones from Longmont, CO wrote:

From your friends at Botanical Interests: Do you love basil? Then, you must try this native of the Himalays and eastern India that is popular in Asian cooking, but relatively unknown in the U.S. Akashiso is the red (dark burgundy) form of the plant. Its flavor has been described as curry-like and as a combination of cumin, cilantro, and/or parsley with a hint of cinnamon. The leaves are a superb addition to mesclun salad mixes, a superb garnish served along with sushi, especially good sprinkled over cucumbers, cabbage, or fish, and the 3-6 week old sprouts can be used as a tasty garnish. You can also chop and add them to any sauce including pesto! The flowers are edible, and the leaves make a fragrant tea. Also called, Japanese basil or Japanese mint. The 18" plants will tolerate full sun or shade.


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

Boaz, Alabama
Vincent, Alabama
Heber Springs, Arkansas
Ceres, California
Lawndale, California
Menifee, California
Longmont, Colorado
Boca Raton, Florida
Dacula, Georgia
Jesup, Georgia
Chicago, Illinois
Crystal Lake, Illinois
Melbourne, Kentucky
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Marrero, Louisiana
Baraga, Michigan
Grand Rapids, Michigan
Waynesboro, Mississippi
Mount Laurel, New Jersey
Scotch Plains, New Jersey
New York City, New York
Bessemer City, North Carolina
Raleigh, North Carolina
Columbus, Ohio
Allen, Texas
Austin, Texas
Brazoria, Texas
Cedar Park, Texas
Grapevine, Texas
Larue, Texas
San Antonio, Texas
Yorktown, Virginia
Eastsound, Washington

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