Shiso is an important herb in Japan, eaten with raw fish, preventing food poisoning. Add a unique and distinct flavor to your cooking with this rare and unique offering. It adds beauty to your landscape as well as a tasty, edible herb that will volunteer year after year.
Will volunteer with ease in a zone 7 or higher around where it was last year, as such, keep the flower heads in check to save time pulling them out from an undesired place next year. Let the most vigorous ones breed then save the seed. Removing seed from garden helps keep down volunteers.
Common name: Shiso, green or red
Botanical name: Perilla frutescens, Japanese basil
Type: Reseeding herbaceous perennial hardy to 20F
Scarification/Stratification: If sowing seed in summer one must give cold treatment for a week.
Sow temp/season: Sow cold in early spring.
Sow depth/spacing: Sow 1/8 inch deep and press in soil spaced at one seed an inch.
Final spacing: 18” apart in rows spaced at two feet.
Final height/spread: 4 feet tall and three feet wide
pH range: 5.5-7.5
Soil type: Not too picky. No swamps or deserts.
Root type: Fine deep roots.
Nutrition More compost = more shiso.
Drainage: Good drainage is good.
Sun: The more sun, the more purple and spicy the more shade the more green and mild.
Time to maturity: 50 days for leaf harvest, 100 days till seed matures. Behaves like basil.
Hilling: None needed.
Propagation: Sow seed in a minimum of a one inch plug/pot and transplant up to landscape or in a minimum of 2 gallon pot.
Hybridization: Plant different varieties 150 feet away to keep seed pure.
Uses: In Japan it is a common herb like basil. Another common name is Japanese basil, so use it like basil! One of the features is strong digestive enzymes that help cope with food poisonings of all degrees. Can also dry the leaves for tea to accomplish the same function.