Beefsteak Plant, Shiso, Red Perilla 'Akashiso'

Perilla frutescens

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)




Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun

Sun to Partial Shade


Grown for foliage



Foliage Color:



18-24 in. (45-60 cm)


18-24 in. (45-60 cm)


Not Applicable

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Handling plant may cause skin irritation or allergic reaction

Bloom Color:



White/Near White

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Late Summer/Early Fall

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

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

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

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


This plant is said to grow outdoors 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

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


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, inc... read more


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.


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... read more


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.


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.


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.


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.


On Jun 11, 2008, CurtisJones from Broomfield, CO (Zone 5b) 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... read more